India suffer early blows in third Australia Test

Published: Wednesday, October 29, 2008, 12:24 [IST]
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India were 67-2 at lunch after losing two early wickets on the opening day of the third Test against Australia here on Wednesday.

The hosts lost in-form opener Virender Sehwag (one) and the usually dependable Rahul Dravid for 11, to be reduced to a shaky 27-2 after Anil Kumble won the toss and elected to bat at the Feroz Shah Kotla stadium.

Gautam Gambhir (25) and Sachin Tendulkar (26) were the not out batsmen on the crease at the break.

Sehwag had faced just two balls when he was trapped leg before off Brett Lee (1-22) with a ball that pitched in between the middle and leg stump.

Dravid hit Mitchell Johnson (1-30) for a four to the fine leg but edged the bowler just two balls later for Matthew Hayden -- celebrating his 37th birthday Wednesday -- to take a simple catch in the slips.

Gambhir and Tendulkar then repaired the damage with their unbroken 40-run stand for the third wicket.

The left-handed opener drove and pulled with ease, hitting four fours in his 80-ball knock on a track that offered assistance to seam bowlers.

Gambhir, who struck a century in the second Test at Mohali when India won by 320 runs to go 1-0 up in the series, got off the mark with a square driven boundary off Lee.

Tendulkar, playing his 154th Test, walked out to cheers from a sizeable crowd and gave them more to enjoy when he punched one to the point boundary off Johnson to underline his aggressive intent.

Johnson was at the receiving end again when Tendulkar hit him for two fours in an over which included a sizzling square drive off his hips.

Lee and his new-ball partner Stuart Clark bowled with purpose and troubled the Indian batsmen on quite a few occasions. Clark gave away just five runs from his seven overs.

Kumble replaced off-spinner Harbhajan Singh, who failed to recover from a toe injury, while Australia brought in Clark for Peter Siddle.

The fourth and final Test will be played in Nagpur from Nov 6-10. The opener in Bangalore ended in a draw.

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