PERTH  - Another dismal performance by India's creaking top order had the tourists tottering towards a heavy defeat after the second day of the third Test against Australia in Perth on Saturday.

At the close of play, India, needing to win to have any hope of retaining the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, were 88 for four in their second innings after yet another collapse, an overall deficit of 120 runs. Veteran Rahul Dravid was unbeaten on 32 and Virat Kohli on 21. Young paceman Mitchell Starc, who claimed the prized wicket of Sachin Tendulkar cheaply in the Indian second innings, said the Australians didn't expect to have to bat again in the match. "We feel we have got enough to possibly bowl them out without having to bat again," he said. "We are going to have to bowl pretty well tomorrow, but I think we have got enough to get there."

Indian paceman Umesh Yadav, who was a rare chink of light for the tourists as he took his first five-wicket haul in Test cricket, put on a brave face. "There are still three days left in the game," he said. Australia were dismissed earlier for 369 in their first innings, bolstered by a pugnacious 180 from opener David Warner, giving the home side an overall lead of 208 after the Indians made just 161 in their first innings. Yadav's one-man heroics gave his Indian side some hope, but their ageing top-order batsmen again failed to deliver in the second innings.

As was the case in their 122-run defeat in Melbourne and innings loss in Sydney, the Indian rot set in early in their second time with the bat.

Left-armer Starc picked up the wicket of opener Gautam Gambhir (14), caught in the slips from a steepling delivery in his first over. Out-of-form opener Virender Sehwag never looked comfortable and fell to Peter Siddle one run later for 10, while Tendulkar will have to wait at least one more Test for his 100th international century, after being trapped leg-before wicket by Starc for a paltry eight.

VVS Laxman's poor series continued when he was caught in the slips off Ben Hilfenhaus for a nine-ball duck as India slumped to 51-4. Australia resumed the second day at 149 for no wicket and looked set to bat the Indians out of the match when openers Warner and Ed Cowan put on 214 for the first wicket.

However, three wickets fell to Yadav before lunch -- Cowan (74), Shaun Marsh (11) and Ricky Ponting (seven) -- sparking a brief Indian fight back. Warner, dropped on 126, looked set to become the second Australian batsman to pass 200 in as many innings, but he holed out to a back-pedalling Yadav at long-on off paceman Ishant Sharma. Yadav completed the catch inside the boundary rope, ending a remarkable 159-ball knock by Warner.

His innings featured 20 fours and five sixes, the opener raising his century off just 69 balls -- the equal fourth-fastest in Test cricket -- late on the first day. Skipper Michael Clarke, who scored an unconquered 329 in the second Sydney Test, went for 18, caught behind off Zaheer Khan.

Following their war of words, Khan got one over Brad Haddin, having the wicketkeeper caught behind for a three-ball duck, but it was Australia who looked well set to have the last laugh.


AUSTRALIA 1st innings:

E Cowan b Yadav    74

D Warner c Yadav b Sharma    180

S Marsh c Laxman b Yadav    11

R Ponting b Yadav    7

M Clarke c Dhoni b Khan    18

M Hussey c Sehwag b Kumar    14

B Haddin c Dhoni b Khan    0

P Siddle b Yadav    30

R Harris c Gambhir b Yadav    9

M Starc not out    15

B Hilfenhaus c Kohli b Sehwag    6

EXTRAS: (lb3, w2)    5

TOTAL: (all out; 76.2 overs)    369

FOW: 1-214, 2-230, 3-242, 4-290, 5-301, 6-303, 7-339, 8-343, 9-357, 10-369 BOWLING: Zaheer Khan 21-3-91-2 (1w), Umesh Yadav 17-2-93-5 (1w), Vinay Kumar 13-0-73-1, Ishant Sharma 18-0-89-1, Virender Sehwag 7.2-0-20-1.

INDIA 1st innings: 161

INDIA 2nd innings:

G Gambhir c Hussey b Starc    14

V Sehwag c Haddin b Siddle    10

R Dravid not out    32

S Tendulkar lbw Starc    8

VVS Laxman c Marsh b Hilfenhaus    0

V Kohli not out    21

EXTRAS: (b1, lb1, w1)    3

TOTAL: (for four wickets, 32 overs)    88

FOW: 1-24, 2-25, 3-42, 4-51.

BOWLING: Ryan Harris 8-1-23-0, Ben Hilfenhaus 9-2-25-1, Mitchell Starc 6-2-14-2, Peter Siddle 7-2-21-1 (1w), Mike Hussey 2-0-3-0.

Toss: Australia

Umpires: Aleem Dar (PAK), Kumar Dharmasena (SRI)