India's woeful catching left a gaping hole in their attempt at winning the third Test at the Kotla as the hosts helped Australia on to 577 in their first innings before losing two early wickets to be 43-2 at stumps on day four here, with an overall lead of 79 runs.

Virender Sehwag, who led India's bowling attack with a maiden five-wicket haul, failed to replicate his stellar effort with the bat as Brett Lee had him inside-edging onto his stumps for 16, before night-watchman Ishant Sharma was sent back in the next over by Stuart Clark, leaving Rahul Dravid (5) and Gautam Gambhir (21) to negotiate the remaining overs.

India, who had been pushing for a win to wrap up the series at the Kotla itself, now have to be content with shoring the game with the wicket not having deteriorated as much. With only a 36-run lead to boot, repeating their pyrotechnics of Mohali does not look like a possibility.

Michael Clarke took full advantage of India's misses with his eighth Test century, setting up an admirable fightback for Australia to compile a composed 112, marshalling their lower order which included a 106-run eighth wicket stand with Cameron White (44).

Clarke, along with Cameron White – whose primary role that of a leg-spinner has been under scrutiny – took Australia out of harm's way, before Sehwag – each of his wickets have broken a prospering partnership – had Cameron White out for 44 for his maiden five-for.

Sehwag finished with career-best figures of 5-104 after sending down 40 overs on a wicket which started taking prodigious turn from day three, while Anil Kumble, who was criticised for his wicketless showing in Bangalore, had 3-112 against his name.

all courtesy: cricketnext