Laxman scores fifty as India fight back

Published: Thursday, January 3, 2008, 3:35 [IST]
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Sydney: Indian batsman V.V.S. Laxman was winning his war with the Australian bowlers in an exciting display of strokemaking on the second day of the second cricket Test at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Thursday.

Laxman was in majestic touch as India chased Australia's first innings score of 463, highlighted by Andrew Symonds' unconquered 162.

At tea, India were 101 for one with Laxman unbeaten on 73 off 71 balls with 14 boundaries and Rahul Dravid on 18.

Laxman is bidding for his third consecutive Test hundred at the SCG after 178 in the corresponding Sydney Test four years ago and 167 in the second innings of India's heavy defeat here in the 2000 Test.

He took full toll of the bowling with his classic cover drives and wristy shotmaking and plundered 18 runs off one Mitchell Johnson over with four boundaries and a two.

In comparison Dravid was crawling along as he did in the Melbourne Test with his runs coming off 88 balls at tea.

India will be hoping the experienced pair can reproduce their match-turning 376-run partnership in the second innings of the famous 'Miracle of Calcutta' triumph which halted Australia's winning march of 16 consecutive win from 1999-2001 sequence.

Laxman (281) and Dravid (180) batted out an entire day to repel the Australians and set up a sensational 171-run victory.

Over six years later and Australia are bidding for their 16th consecutive victory in this Test match.

Earlier, Symonds eclipsed his previous highest score of 156 set a year ago against England in Melbourne with his 344-minute epic that rescued the Australians on the opening day.

Symonds, helped by big partnerships with Brad Hogg (173 runs) and Brett Lee (114), added 329 runs for the last four wickets to frustrate the tourists.

All-rounder Symonds blasted the Indian bowling for 18 fours and two sixes off 226 balls for his second century in his 17th Test match.

Lee claimed his fourth Test half-century and Mitchell Johnson batted boldly to rub the salt into the Indian wounds.

The Australians' big innings came after being in strife at 134 for six midway through the first day's play.

The Australians rattled along at a brisk 4.1 runs an over in their innings after going to first day stumps on 376 for seven off 89 overs.

Indian skipper Anil Kumble finished with 4-106 off 25.3 overs with left-arm paceman RP Singh taking 4-124 off 26 overs.

Lee fell five runs short of his highest Test score before he was leg before wicket to Kumble for 59.

The paceman, who has three Test scores in the 60s, hit a best 64 against South Africa in Johannesburg in March 2006.

Lee cracked 10 boundaries in his 121-ball knock and shared in a 114-run stand for the eighth wicket with Symonds.

Johnson belied his No.9 status with a lively 28 off 30 balls with five boundaries to further frustrate India's attempts to wrap up the Australian innings.


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