Australia make early inroads

Published: Thursday, December 27, 2007, 3:35 [IST]
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Melbourne: India crawled to 31 for two at lunch on the second day of the first Test against Australia on Thursday after the hosts had been dismissed for 343 in their first innings early in the morning session.

Wasim Jaffer, caught by wicketkeeper Adam Gilchrist off paceman Brett Lee for four, and Rahul Dravid, trapped lbw by Staurt Clark for five in the final over before lunch, were the two men out as the tourists struggled against some tight bowling.

Vangipurrapu Laxman was 21 not out at the interval.

Australia resuming on overnight 337-9 were all out for 343 in their first essay. The last-wicket pair lasted 16 balls on the second morning and added six runs to their overnight score of 337 before Stuart Clark was out hooking paceman Zaheer Khan.

Zaheer peppered Clark with a couple of short-pitched deliveries before Clark launched into a hook and was caught on the fine leg boundary rope by Harbhajan Singh to end Australia's innings.

Zaheer finished with 4-94 off 23.4 overs with skipper Anil Kumble taking with 5-84 off 25 overs.

Jaffer and Dravid then faced a torrid opening spell from Lee and Johnson, with five of the first seven overs maidens.

The right-handed Jaffer was dismissed when he feathered a catch off a slower delivery from Lee to Gilchrist in the ninth over.

A subdued Dravid, who needed 41 deliveries to get off the mark, never looked comfortable and was dropped by Phil Jaques in the gully and then caught by Matthew Hayden at first slip off a no-ball, both off Johnson's bowling.

He also survived a confident lbw appeal from Clark before the bowler trapped him in front in the last over before the break.

Laxman also nicked a chance past the outstretched right hand of a diving Hayden on the fifth ball of Brad Hogg's first over.

Openers Hayden (124) and Phil Jaques (66) had provided the mainstay of the Australian's innings after they combined for a 135-run partnership before India captain Anil Kumble dragged his side back into the match.

Brief Score (at lunch, D-2):

Australia Ist innings 343 all out (Hayden 124, Jaques 66, Symonds 35, Clark 21; Kumble 5 for 84, Zaheer 4 for 94) Vs India Ist innings 31/2 (Laxman 21 n o; Lee 1 for 10, Stuart Clark 1 for 4).


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