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India batten down the hatches to save test

The hosts declared their second innings closed at 251-6 before the start of play.

India's KL Rahul celebrates his runs during their Test with Australia. Picture: Indian Cricket Team official Facebook page.

SYDNEY - India's batsmen endured some intense pressure from Australia's bowlers to reach 160 for two at tea on the last day of the fourth and final test on Saturday, 189 runs short of their victory target of 349.

The hosts declared their second innings closed at 251-6 before the start of play, leaving their bowlers the entire final day at the Sydney Cricket Ground to dismiss the tourists and take the series 3-0.

Despite some supremely disciplined bowling from the Australians on a turning pitch, however, only one Indian batsman fell in each of the first two sessions.

Opener Murali Vijay illustrated the limited ambition of the tourists when he took 222 minutes and 135 balls to score a half century and was 71 not out at the break alongside his skipper Virat Kohli, who was unbeaten on 26.

Vijay was fortunate to survive an lbw appeal off the bowling of paceman Josh Hazlewood, who bowled six maidens in nine overs at the cost of just six runs.

A late inswinger beat Vijay's bat and although the umpire was unmoved, a Hawk-Eye replay suggested the ball would have removed his leg stump.

That came soon after Rohit Sharma had departed for a 90-ball 39 with a rash lash at a rising Shane Watson delivery that Australia skipper Steve Smith caught brilliantly in a full length dive to his right from the slips.

Lokesh Rahul (16) was the one batsman to fall in the morning, deceived by the bounce of a Nathan Lyon delivery with the ball clipping his glove and looping into the hands of David Warner at backward short leg.

Rohit was centimetres away from a golden duck on the following delivery but the third umpire decided he had just got his foot back into the crease before wicketkeeper Brad Haddin broke the stumps with a ball that had drifted past his bat.

There followed half an hour of scoreless siege as Lyon and Hazlewood, who was starting to get some reverse swing, bowled six straight maidens.

India had promised to go for victory despite the highest successful fourth innings run chase in a test at the Sydney Cricket Ground being the 288-2 scored by South Africa in 2006.

Australia will not have given up all hope of a victory, particularly after Lyon skittled the India tail in the final session to give his country a dramatic victory in the first test in Adelaide.