Australia force a fifth day
Ravichandran Ashwin claimed a five-wicket haul for India but Australia ensured the first Test will enter a fifth and final day with some late defiant batting in Chennai.
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Having finally bowled their hosts out for 572 on the fourth morning, Michael Clarke's men set about chasing down a 158-run deficit but were staring at an innings defeat as Ashwin steadily made his way through the batting line-up.
However, a half century from Moises Henriques and an unbeaten last-wicket stand of 57 with Nathan Lyon saw Australia past their target and left India needing to bat again to wrap up the win.
At close of play on day four, the tourists were on 232 for nine, a lead of 40 runs, with Henriques not out on 75.
India resumed on 515 for eight and added 57 more this morning before being bowled out for 572 - a daunting lead of 192.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni, scorer of an unforgettable double century on day three, was finally out for 224 when he nicked James Pattinson to Matthew Wade at the wicket.
But if Australia thought their work in the field was done, India had other ideas as Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Ishant Sharma added 26 more for the last wicket.
Debutant Kumar finished with 38 before Peter Siddle wrapped things up.
Pattinson's five for 96 was by some distance the best return on an otherwise messy bowling card.
Australia faced a tough challenge on a pitch that had started to turn and were given a further obstacle when David Warner was deemed too ill to open.
Shane Watson replaced him in his old position and he, along with Ed Cowan, was confronted by spin at both ends from the off.
The ball was doing plenty but Australia looked like they might survive to the break unscathed until Ashwin struck with the final ball of the morning, finding the shoulder of Watson's bat and seeing a simple catch swallowed by Virender Sehwag.
Things failed to improve in the afternoon for Australia with Cowan making 32 before becoming Ashwin's second victim lbw.
Warner finally came in at number three but within an over partner Phil Hughes was also out without scoring, deceived by a bouncer from Ravindra Jadeja which flew to Sehwag off the batsman's glove.
Warner managed 23 but was clearly feeling the effects of his earlier illness and became India's fourth wicket, trapped leg before by Harbhajan Singh.
And the off-spinner struck again soon after, brushing Wade's off stump with a straight delivery to remove him for eight.
That left Michael Clarke to carry the burden but the captain had faced just three balls of the final session when, with his score on 31, Ashwin had the crowd cheering with a ball which spun sharply and rapped the pads.
Siddle barely troubled the scorers before he was also walking back to the dressing room after missing one from Jadeja which took his bails off.
Ashwin then had Australia on the ropes with the dismissals of Pattinson, Sehwag taking his third catch of a productive innings at first slip, and his fifth victim Mitchell Starc, who scooped a shot to Sachin Tendulkar at deep mid-on.
However, the tourists continued to chip away at the deficit and staved off an innings defeat thanks to a show of defiance from Henriques and a boundary from partner Lyon (12no).
Henriques fittingly marked his fifty with a six as the final wicket continued to elude India and his heroics ensured Australia live to fight another day, even if the loss seems inevitable.