Symonds, Hogg lift Aussies after early blows

Published: Wednesday, January 2, 2008, 11:43 [IST]
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Sydney: Andrew Symonds belted a fine 137 and associated in a record partnership with Brad Hogg to put Australia in control of the second Test against India on Wednesday.

The all-rounder from Queensland demolished India's bowling attack after Hogg made a vital 79 to steer Australia from 134/6 to 376 for seven at close on day one at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

India put Australians in a spot of bother when Rudra Pratap Singh (4-108) and Harbhajan Singh (2-88) ripped through the top and middle-order in the first half of the day but Symonds and Hogg put the home team back in control with a slurry of flawless hitting.

The pair came together after lunch with Australia reeling at 134/6 but proceeded to pile on 173 runs in just 38 overs, setting a new record for the highest seventh-wicket partnership at Sydney.

Symonds, 32, was especially brutal against the Indian bowlers, smacking 17 boundaries and two towering sixes over mid-wicket fence as he raced to his second Test hundred, while Hogg clubbed 10 fours to post his personal best.

Hogg missed his chance for a maiden Test century when he was caught by Rahul Dravid at slip off Anil Kumble in the final session, leaving Brett Lee (31 not out) to share an unbroken stand of 69 with Symonds as Australia pressed ahead with their bid to equal their world record of 16 consecutive Test wins.

Symonds was twice given the benefit of the doubt to loud appeals from the Indians before he had reached 50 but hardly played another false shot as the tourists failed to capitalise on their great start.

RP Singh captured four early wickets with his deceptive left-arm seamers while Harbhajan bagged two with his wily off-spin and Sachin Tendulkar showed a safe pair of hands by holding three sharp catches at first slip.

RP dismissed openers Phil Jaques for a duck and Matthew Hayden for 13 in the first hour of play to reduce Australia to 27-2 after they had won toss and elected to bat on a glorious day.

The 22-year-old then snared the scalps of Mike Hussey for 41 and Adam Gilchrist for seven in the middle session after Harbhajan picked up the prized wickets of Ricky Ponting for 55 and Michael Clarke for one, both lbw.

Ponting and Hussey added 92 for the third wicket but departed in the space of three balls after lunch as India captured 4-15 in five overs.

Ponting was unlucky to be given out after television replays showed he made contact with the ball before it struck his pads.

However, Symonds had better fortune when he was given not out when he appeared to edge a catch behind on 30 then given the benefit of the doubt on a close stumping chance on 48.

Symonds made the Indians pay by scoring 98 in the extended last session as Australia passed their first and second innings scores from last week's first Test in Melbourne, which they won by 337 runs.


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