Pathan jolts Aussies with double-strike

Published: Thursday, January 17, 2008, 11:36 [IST]
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Pathan, Ishant strike; Aus 22/3 at lunch

Perth: India fought back to reduce Australia to 22 for three after losing their last four wickets for just two runs on a dramatic second morning of the third Test on Thursday.

India were on target to achieve their goal of reaching 400 at 328 for six, but were dismissed for 330 at the WACA Ground.

However, the tourists struck back with a vengeance just before lunch, claiming three quick Australian wickets. At the break, captain Ricky Ponting was batting on six and Michael Clarke on four.

There seemed to be little in the pitch for the bowlers early in the day, with overnight batsmen Irfan Pathan and Mahendra Singh Dhoni taking the score along comfortably.

But Dhoni's dismissal for 19, to a dubious lbw from the bowling of Stuart Clark, sparked the loss of four wickets in just 17 balls.

Clark also removed Anil Kumble, brilliantly caught by debutant Chris Rogers at point for one, while Mitchell Johnson picked up Pathan (28) and R.P. Singh for a duck.

Johnson finished with 4-86, although Brett Lee (3-71) was the most impressive of the Australian bowlers.

It seemed India had squandered the foundation laid by Rahul Dravid (93) and Sachin Tendulkar (71), but the recalled Pathan immediately made inroads into the Australian batting.

Pathan, selected ahead of spinner Harbhajan Singh, was swinging the ball prodigiously and trapped Rogers, a West Australian, lbw for four in his first Test and in front of a disappointed home crowd.

He then had Phil Jaques caught by V.V.S. Laxman at second slip for eight as Australia slumped to 13 for two.

R.P. Singh then joined the party, with the prolific Mike Hussey caught behind by Dhoni for a duck.

Australia were 14 for three and seven wickets had fallen for just 16 runs in 45 minutes of amazing cricket.

Pathan had 2-9, while Singh had 1-13.

India had resumed at the start of the day's play on 297 for six.

Australia are 2-0 ahead in the four-Test series and have already retained the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, but are aiming for a world record 17th consecutive Test win.

Brief Scores (at lunch, D-2):

India Ist innings 330 all out (Dravid 93, Tendulkar 71, Sehwag 29, Pathan 28, Laxman 27; Johnson 4 for 86, Lee 3 for 71) Vs Australia 22 for 3.


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