Australia face survival battle on final day of third Test against India

Last Updated: 18/03/13 6:14am

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Australia face an anxious wait to see if captain Michael Clarke will bat on the final day of their third Test with India in Chandigarh.

Clarke suffered a back injury during the warm-up on day four and, after coming on and off the field several times during the day, he failed to come out to bat at number three during Australia's second innings.

In the absence of Clarke, Australia slipped to 75-3 at stumps on day four, still 16 behind.

"Michael injured his back in the warm-up this morning," the team physio Alex Kountouris said. "He'll undergo further treatment overnight.

"We'll assess that and see how it settles in the morning to determine when he's able to bat."

Seam bowler Bhuvneshwar Kumar took 3-25 with the new ball in the evening session after India had claimed a first-innings lead of 91.

David Warner (2), Ed Cowan (8) and Steve Smith (5) all fell cheaply before nightwatchman Nathan Lyon (4no) survived the final seven overs of the day alongside Phil Hughes.

Fast bowler Peter Siddle admitted Clarke had been struggling but remains optimistic he will bat on the final day.

"I think he'll definitely bat," Siddle said. "It was very sore throughout the day. Everyone knows he's had a bit of trouble with his back. He got some treatment after we came off the field and everything seems to be going along fine.

"Knowing Michael he'll do everything he can tonight with Alex and be ready to go tomorrow morning as soon as possible, no doubt. He'll want to get out there first-up. I think he'll be ready to go.

India had earlier turned their overnight position of 283-0 into a total of 499 all out with opener Shikhar Dhawan, who raced to an 85-ball debut century the previous day, adding only two runs to his total before off-spinner Lyon had him caught by Cowan at silly point for 187.

"I think there was a bit more fight today," Siddle said. "We knew we had to go out there and bowl to our plans and slow it down and put a bit of pressure back on them which I think we did.

"A few wickets tonight set us back but we will turn up tomorrow and see how we go."

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