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Dream debut for Mishra claims 5 wkts,India in command lead Oz by 301

Mohali, Oct 19 (UNI) Leg spinner Amit Mishra made a dream debut claiming five wickets to bundle out Australia for 268 and India opting not to enforce follow on piled up 100 without loss in the second essay to take their lead to 301 with ten wickets in hand at the end of the third day of the second cricket Test here today.

India made 469 in their first innings.

The Australian Innings was terminated half hour after tea but the hosts despite taking 201 runs lead decided not to go for follow on so that the visitors are forced to chase daunting target on a track that is likely to help the spinners on last day.

Openers Virender Sehwag blasted unbeaten 53, (71 balls) his 15th half century in 62 Tests, while Gautam Gambhir was four run short of his 7th half ton. His 46 came off 68 balls.

The two thrashed the Australian bowlers and hit 10 boundaries (Sehwag 6, Gambhir 4) in 23 overs that they faced without getting separated.

Mishra became the sixth Indian bowlers to have taken five or more wickets on his debut, the others are Mohd Nisar, VV Kumar, Abid Ali, Dalip Doshi and Narender Hirwani. Interestingly Abid Ali and Dilip Doshi also took five or more wickets on their debut against Australia.

Shane Watson defied Indian bowlers for most of the second half of the day with career-best 78 (156 balls, 10x4, 1x6), to be the highest scorer for the visitors.

Mishra's 5 for 71 was the best for an Indian bowler on debut since Narendra Hirwani's 8 for 61 against West Indies back in 1988. Ishant Sharma and Harbhajan Singh shared two wickets each giving away 68 and 60 runs respectively. Zaheer Khan had one wicket for 56 runs.

The 25-year old leg spinner, who came as a last minute replacement for injured skipper Anil Kumble ended Australian resistance as he trapped Shane Watson leg before and then had debutante Peter Siddle stumped by Dhoni before he could open his account.

Earlier 27-year-old Shane Watson, playing only in his fifth Test, batted with determination and concentration scoring his first fifty and along with Brett Lee saved his side blushes at the crucial juncture when it looked all over for Australia.

The Visitors who were tottering at 174 for 7 lunch found saviours in Watson and Lee as these too faced 28 overs and frustrated the Indians in most part of the second session.

Dhoni took new ball after 81.1 overs but Neither Ishant nor Zaheer could make any impact on these two proving that track has no devil in it and it is upto the batsmen to stay put on it by showing patiance and concentration.

The Indians, however, managed to get the vital break through at the fag end of this session when Harbhajan got rid of the resolute Brett Lee. The Spinner sent a full length delivery and Lee lunged forward to defend but got the outside edge and an easy catch for Rahul Dravid at first slip. He made 35 (96 balls) Between lunch and tea, Australians made 75 runs in 27 overs losing only one wicket.

In the first session Ishant Sharma along with spinner Harbhajan Singh and Amit Mishra claimed a wicket each to reduce the Australian batting in shambles.

Resuming at their overnight score of 102 for 4, Australia suffered an early set back when their main hope of revival in form Mike Hussey got out.

Hussey overnight 37 was joined by Shane Watson as they stated the day's proceedings and both batted cautiously. They added 28 runs 6.4 overs for the fifth wicket during which Hussey completed his tenth half century.

The 33-year-old Hussey, nick named 'Mr Cricket' playing his 27th Test, however, did not stay long to fight for Australia as Ishant, delivery foxed Hussey who edged the delivery and wicket keeper Dhoni took a simple catch.

Hussey made 54 off 119 balls which included seven boundaries and Australia were 130 for 5.

Fourteen runs and 8.2 over later the visitors suffered another shock this time it was Harbhajan Singh who cleaned bowled Haddin with a flighted delivery. The batsman was beaten as he attempted to clear the ball but failed and ball hit the stumps. The batsman scored 9 runs off 23 balls hitting one four.

And then it was the turn of Amit Mishra to rub salt into the Australian wounds as he clean bowled Cameron White, when the score was 167. White made 5.

The Australian batsmen, but for a period between lunch and tea hardly looked confident against Indian Pace-Spin attack and caved in.


Story first published: Sunday, October 19, 2008, 18:05 [IST]
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