Australia recover after early setbacks

Published: Wednesday, January 2, 2008, 3:35 [IST]
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Sydney: Indian paceman Rudra Pratap Singh sent both the openers Phil Jaques and Matthew Hayden packing in a superb opening spell to reduce Australia to 95 for two at lunch on the first day of the second Test on Wednesday.

The 22-year-old left-arm seamer dismissed Jaques for a duck in his second over then Hayden for 13 in his fifth over before Australia launched their fightback on a glorious summer's day at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

Australian captain Ricky Ponting and Mike Hussey shared an unbroken partnership of 68 to guide the home team to lunch without any further losses as they strive to equal their own world record of 16 consecutive Test victories after winning last week's opening match in Melbourne by 337 runs.

Ponting struck six boundaries to remain unbeaten on 36 after two rare failures in Melbourne while Hussey hit three fours in his 37 not out.

Jaques had been a model of consistency since earning a recall to the Australian side since the retirement of Justin Langer, scoring 50 or more in each of his last six Test innings.

He needed another half-century to equal the world record for consecutive Test 50s but departed without scoring when he slashed at a short ball from Singh and top-edged a catch to wicketkeeper Mahendra Dhoni.

Hayden, who was man of the match in Melbourne after blazing a century in the first innings, was squared up by Singh and Sachin Tendulkar held a sharp catch at first slip.

Ponting survived an appeal for caught behind off Sauruv Ganguly on 17 then a missed stumping chance from off-spinner Harbhajan Singh on 31 to reach lunch with his wicket intact.

Hussey, who also missed out on a big score in Melbourne, was in splendid touch on a pitch that offered some early life to the Indian seamers but settled down into a perfect batting strip.

The left-hander hardly played a false shot as he and Ponting brought up their 50 partnership in an hour off 72 deliveries and threatening to pile on more runs in the afternoon.

Australia name unchanged squad while India were forced into a change with left-arm fast bowler Zaheer Khan ruled out with a heel injury and replaced by right-hand fast-medium bowler Ishant Sharma.

The tourists left intact their batting order from the Melbourne loss, meaning Rahul Dravid will again open the innings with Wasim Jaffer.

Brief Score (at lunch, D-1):

Australia Ist innings 95/2 (Ponting 36 n o, Hussey 37 n o; RP 2/26) Vs India.



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