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Openers back in hut, Australia 237 for 2 at tea

New Delhi, Oct 31 (UNI) Australia rode on luck and bravado to survive probing spells from Indian spinners to be placed 237 for two and were still trailing by 376 runs at tea on the third day of the third Test here today.

The visitors lost one wicket in the post-lunch session and captain Ricky Ponting (61) was batting with Michael Hussey (13) after Matthew Hayden (83) was caught plumb in front of the wickets off a delivery from Virender Sehwag.

However, India missed the services of its captain Anil Kumble who had to be rushed to the hospital after he injured his finger while trying to attempt a tough catch of Hayden who at that time as batting on 70.

The Australians did manage to get 86 runs in the post-session, but the Indian spinners created several opportunities which, however, did not go their way and the visitors survived some close calls.

After Kumble was rushed to the hospital, stand-in-captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni brought Sehwag and his off-spinners paid much dividents to the team as he accounted for Hayden.

Hayden, who was living dangerously, was trapped in front of the wickets but not before his four-hour stay at the wicket fetched him 83 runs in which he hit 13 fours and a six. The left-hander was involved in 79-run stand with Ponting for the second wicket.

Meanwhile, Ponting, too, was looking uncomfortable with Mishra and Sehwag turning the ball a great deal and also survived a close caught behind appeal against the leg-spinner. Ponting's 61 (batting) came off 116 balls and was almost forced to hit the nine boundries that he had.

At the end of the session Mishra returned with figures of 71 for one in his 18 overs, while Sehwag gave 37 runs for his prized scalp.

Resuming at their overninght score of 50 for no loss, the Australian openers added 74 more runs to their total before Mishra turned one a long way to which opener Simon Katich (64) had no answer and could do nothing but to only see his stumps get rattled.

Katich's 64 runs came from 154 balls in which he hit 10 boundaries, while Hayden, who, before the match, had vowed to end his poor run in the series in this match, completed his half century off 96 balls with four hits to the fence and a six off Mishra. His wicket also ended a dangerous looking 123run stand with Hayden for the first wicket.

Chasing a mamoth first innings total of 613 for seven declared, the Australian bowlers survived a probing spell from Indian bowlers before Mishra brought the home team its first break through.

Speedster Zahher Khan started the day for India and the left-arm pacer was immediately on the act as he tested Hayden with a bouncer, which hit the opener on his helmet, in the very first ball of the day. He then followed it with another brilliant delivery that missed the edge of the bat by a whisker.

Captain Anil Kumble, who started the day's procedings from the other end, handed the ball to Mishra and the local boy did not disappoint his skipper. Mishra's turned the ball a great dela from ball one and delivery to Hayden turned big on the batsman and must have raised a few eyebrows in the visiting camp.

However, in the very same over, Hayden pulled the bowler to mid-wicket for a six. After Katich's dismissal Hayden and Ponting raised the team's 150 in the 39th over of the innings.


Story first published: Friday, October 31, 2008, 15:12 [IST]
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