MS Dhoni Duncan Fletcher
India skipper MS Dhoni and coach Duncan Fletcher will be reasonably happy with the fourth day's performance against Australia in MohaliReuters

Shikhar Dhawan could not carry forward his unbelievable innings of Saturday, but India ended the fourth day's play on top of Australia, with the final day promising a battle which could go right to the end of the final session.

After finishing their first innings on 499 all out, the hosts took three Aussie wickets to put the visitor's on the mat, with Phil Hughes (53) and Nathan Lyon at the crease. Australia will start the final day on 75 for three, still trailing by 16 runs and question marks hanging around the availability of skipper Michael Clarke.

The Aussie openers could not duplicate their century partnership of the first innings, as David Warner irresponsibly edged a wide delivery from Kumar through to keeper Dhoni for a duck off just the third ball of the innings.

Phil Hughes, much maligned for his form, came in and blasted Kumar for three fours in an over as he raced along, Dhawan style, at a run a ball.

However, at the other end the Aussie batsmen were starting to fall like nine pins, as Cowan joined Warner, after umpired Richard Kettleborough adjudged him lbw off Sharma's bowling.

Hughes, not too bothered by the fall of wickets, was motoring along, taking the attack to both the Indian fast bowlers as well as the spinners.

Kumar, though, was on a roll and he picked up his third wicket of the day off an absolute peach. Steven Smith, coming in at No.5 for the injured Michael Clarke, who was struggling with a back problem, was beaten all ends up to a delivery that pitched in front of off and straightened, knocking the off stump out of the ground.

Nightwatchman Nathan Lyon just about hung around with Hughes, as Australia finished the day with India again scenting a win.

Earlier, things did not quite go according to plan for India in the morning, when Shikhar Dhawan and Murali Vijay were expected to continue their domination of the Aussie bowling.

Dhawan fell on the 11th ball of the day, adding just two more runs to his overnight score of 185; nevertheless the 187 will go down as one of the most impressive debut innings of all-time.

Nathan Lyon, starting the proceedings from one end, dismissed the Delhi opener, when a push off seemingly the middle of the bat went straight to Ed Cowan, with the man at silly point taking a smart catch.

India's new 'Wall', Cheteshwar Pujara could not add much to the scoreboard, falling to the impressive Peter Siddle for one, albeit in controversial circumstances.

Umpire Allem Dar gave Pujara lbw to an incoming delivery, but failed to see an obvious inside edge - India really only have themselves to blame though; had the DRS been employed, there is no way Pujara would have had to walk back towards the pavilion.

Sachin Tendulkar was the next man to bat with the now ever familiar roar from the crowd as he walked in, and the Indian legend steadied the ship to an extent with Vijay, looking solid as ever, for company at the other end.

The first session was in complete contrast to the final two of the third day, with the run rate and stroke making very much at a premium. That was fine enough as long as the two batsmen stayed in the middle until the Lunch break, but it was not to be, as Tendulkar, of all people, fell prey in the last over before Lunch for an 81-ball 37, which included five fours.

The 39-year-old got caught unawares by a nice leg-break delivery from part-timer Steven Smith, inside edging one for forward short leg to snare comfortably as India went into the break on 384 for three, with Vijay unbeaten on 142.

Australia took the second new ball early on in the second session and it did the trick. Mitchell Starc struck two quickfire wickets in his first over, dismissing the previously impregnable Vijay and skipper MS Dhoni.

Vijay completely misread Starc's inswinging delivery, shouldering arms and getting caught right in front of the wicket. The 153 (317 balls, 19x4, 3x6) was another brilliant innings from Vijay though.

Dhoni smashed his first delivery for a four through mid-off, but was trudging back to the pavilion two deliveries later.

The Indian skipper walked down the track to Starc, but missed an incoming delivery completely, with the umpire having little hesitation in giving him lbw.

Ravindra Jadeja, who is still to convince as a batsman in the longer format, was lucky to escape in the very next ball, with an inside edge saving him from what would have been a nailed on leg before wicket decision.

He just lasted a couple more overs, however, edging an away swinger to wicketkeeper Brad Haddin of Siddle's bowling.

R Ashwin came in and played a nice cover drive before he was caught behind the wicket to a Siddle ball, which held its line.

Kohli and Bhuvneshwar Kumar saw the rest of the session through comfortably enough, going into Tea on 479 for seven, 71 runs ahead of Australia.

India only managed another 20 runs in the first innings, with Henriques first picking up the wicket of Kumar, before a two-wicket burst from Siddle (five for 71) saw India fold up for 499, a lead of 91 runs.