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Retiring Ganguly fights for India

Published: Saturday, October 11, 2008, 14:51 [IST]
 
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BANGALORE:
Former Indian captain Sourav Ganguly hit a stubborn 38 not out as Australia tightened the screw in the first Test here on Saturday.

The 36-year-old left-hander, who retires after the series, defied the tourists' attack for three hours as India, replying to Australia's 430, moved to 210-6 by tea on the third day.

Ganguly held firm as the Indians lost two important wickets in the afternoon session after reaching lunch on 133-4.

Rahul Dravid made 51, his 53rd Test half-century, before falling leg-before to Shane Watson two balls later.

Dravid, 35, nicknamed "the Wall" for his immaculate defensive play, had a brick wall unveiled in his honour by the local cricket association before the match.

India's limited-overs captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni made nine in a 40-run stand for the sixth wicket with Ganguly before he was bowled by part-time spinner Michael Clarke.

Harbhajan Singh kept Ganguly company at tea on 12, which included two boundaries.

Earlier, left-arm fast bowler Mitchell Johnson tore the heart out of India's top order in the morning session with three vital wickets for 19 runs.

The tall 26-year-old Queenslander stood out with a fiery spell that lifted the four-man Australian pace attack, none of whom had played a Test in India before.

Johnson, Brett Lee, Stuart Clark and Watson made India's batsmen struggle on a dual-paced wicket where deliveries rose alarmingly or keep low at times.

Sachin Tendulkar, needing 77 runs to overtake retired West Indian Brian Lara as Test cricket's highest run-scorer, was dismissed for just 13.

India lost openers Gautam Gambhir and Virender Sehwag in the first five overs after the hosts resumed at 68 without loss.

Gambhir was trapped leg-before by Lee for 20, while Sehwag edged a wide ball from Johnson to lone slip Matthew Hayden after making 45.

Tendulkar, playing his first competitive match since the Test series in Sri Lanka in August due to a shoulder injury, was greeted by an ear-splitting roar from 25,000 home fans at the Chinnaswamy stadium.

He opened his account by slashing Lee to the point boundary, but was lucky to survive the next over when he was stranded down the wicket as Clarke's throw narrowly missed the stumps.

Tendulkar had another escape before he had reached double figures, pushing a short ball from Johnson just out of the reach of debutant Cameron White at short point.

Johnson, however, had the final say as Tendulkar patted a slower delivery straight to White in the same position to leave India on 94-3.

Venkatsai Laxman, another veteran fighting to retain his place in the Test side, failed to score as he edged Johnson to wicket-keeper Brad Haddin.

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