18 Mar 2013

Aussies struggling to avoid defeat

11:17 am on 18 March 2013

Australia's only top-class batsman Michael Clarke is nursing a back complaint as his side face an uphill task to avoid going 3-0 down in their four-test cricket series against India.

Skipper Clarke, who promoted himself from No.5 to No.3 for the third test, has been unable to bat so far in Australia's second innings of 75 for three after hurting his back during the team's warm-up exercises.

Australia need another 16 runs to make India bat again and even a face-saving draw would provide no comfort to the tourists who must win in Mohali and also in the fourth Test in Delhi to retain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.

David Warner, Ed Cowan, and Steve Smith all fell cheaply to medium-pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar while Phil Hughes played a fine counter-attacking knock of 53 not out.

Nightwatchman Nathan Lyon is on four.

Earlier, India claimed a first-innings lead of 91 after tea with a total of 499, with Australian pace bowler Peter Siddle claiming five for 71.