A 'tail' of Australian woes

Published: Friday, January 25, 2008, 3:35 [IST]
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Bangalore: Defiant half-centuries from the lower-order batsmen Anil Kumble and Harbhajan Singh helped India post an imposing 526 in their first essay on day two of the fourth and final Test against Australia at Adelaide Oval on Friday.

Australia were 62/0 in their first essay with openers Hayden (36)&Jaques (21) having safely negotiated 21 overs before close.

Kumble, played a captain's innings for his 205-ball 87, and shared an invaluable 8th wicket stand of 107 with Harbhajan (63).

The Skipper later found another stubborn ally in No. 11 Ishant Sharma (14*) to pile more misery on tiring Aussies, on a placid strip with hot and humid overhead conditions, with a 58-run stand for the last wicket.

Kumble, the last man out, struck nine boundaries in his chanceless innings. Overnight centurion Tendulkar struck a majestic 153.

Seven dropped catches, some very difficult, for the innings compounded the Aussies' frustration.

The Kumble-Bhajji stand was India's third-highest for the eighth wicket against Australia. The only two ahead of it were 129 by Tendulkar-Harbhajan in Sydney early this month and 127 by SMH Kirmani-Karsan Ghavri at Mumbai in 1979-80. However It was the highest eighth-wicket stand for India or Australia at Adelaide Oval.

And the Kumble-Sharma partnership was India's second-highest for the 10th wicket against Australia, behind the 94 scored by Sunil Gavaskar and Shivlal Yadav in the same venue in 1985-86.

Earlier, the overnight batsman, Dhoni (16) was the first to be dismissed, after the India stumper played a full-bloodied cut off Johnson straight to Symonds at deep covers. Overnight centurion Tendulkar (153) continued his good work for some time before an ill-timed hook off Lee undid this genius.

India put on runs at a healthy rate throughout the morning session, and despite the early dismissal of MS Dhoni for 16, Tendulkar looked in command as he steered the Indian total above 350. The 'Little Master' reached 150 the same way he brought up his century on day one, cracking a cover drive to the boundary off the bowling of Lee.

Half-way thro' of the first session India was reduced to 359/7. However India thrived on Harbhajan-Kumble effort. The lower-order pair, having benefitted from a combination of good batting and a slice of luck, anchored their side to a safety.

The duo batted quiet beautifully, rotating the strike and taking odd boundaries. They were not deterred by Lee's pace, Johnson's swing and Clark's accuracy.

Embattled Bhajji celebrated his fourth Test half-century by tugging at and pointing to his India jersey when he reached the milestone.

He hit seven boundaries in his 103-ball knock before being holed to Gilchrist of an atrocious slog sweep off his nemesis Symonds.

The next man in RP Singh (0) was caught at mid-wicket by Johnson off Michael Clarke six balls after Harbhajan's departure, but Sharma held his ground firm for over two hours to help his side past 500 mark.

Left-arm paceman Johnson was the pick among Aussie bowlers with 4 for 126 while his new-ball partner returned with 3 for 101

Gilly eclipses Boucher: The only silver lining in an otherwise dark cloud for Aussies was when Adam Gilchrist broke Mark Boucher's world record for Test dismissals. Gilly, who had a bad outing on day one flooring two sitters, claimed his 414th victim, eclipsing the South African's previous record of 413 dismissals by a wicketkeeper, when he caught India captain Anil Kumble off the bowling of Mitchell Johnson for 87.


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