Aussies back on track as Indian midorder collapses

Published: Sunday, November 9, 2008, 15:22 [IST]
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Nagpur: Australia roared back trigerring an Indian collapse grabbing six wickets in the post lunch session to leave India on 166 for six wickets at tea in the fourth and last Test here today.

At the tea break M S Dhoni with 3 was at the crease. India who have taken a 86 run first innings lead are now 252 runs ahead with four second innings wickets left in a revetting Test match which has seen the pendulum swing from one side to the other every day.

Australia who are one down in the series need to win this match to square the series to retain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, while for India a draw would suffice for landing their hands on the trophy.

Resuming at the lunch score 98 for no loss, Virender Sehwag continued with his audicious strokeplay signalling out first innings hero Jason Krezja for special treatment starting the post lunch session with a huge six of the off spinner over long-off and then in the same over came down the track to smash the bowler over his head for a boundary.

Vijay also took cue essaying a copybook cover drive of Watson to move into the 40s. However, the next ball Vijay was back into the pavillion being trapped in front playing across the line.

Vijay made 41 with the score being 116 for one.

Rahul Dravid's lean phase continued as Watson had him caught behind for just 3 runs to leave India in a spot of bother at 132 for two. Ten runs later, Brett Lee bowling inspite of a stomach ailment got the dangerman Virender Sehwag of his first delivery of his new spell when the batsman tried to glance him fine but only managed a edge which was taken by Brad Haddin behind the stumps for 90. Sehwag's innings of 90 came in a stay of 164 minutes after facing 107 balls and was studded with 10 boundaries and one huge six.

This brought V V S Laxman in and along with first innings centurion Sachin Tendulkar tried to repair the innings and get India back on track. It was tough going for both batsmen as Watson and Lee were getting the ball to reverse swing and using the shot ball to good effect. However, the Australian spirit of the game was also seen, when Haddin threw his glove to stop the ball which was getting away from him behind the stumps. The umpires gave 5 penalty runs to the batting team for this indiscretion by the wicket keeper.

Krejza then was brought on again and he struck two telling blows in his first over, first getting V V S Laxman with a perfect off spinner as he got through the defence of Laxman to peg back his leg stump. This brought in Sourav Ganguly in for the last time in a Test, he having announced his retirement after this Test, and it was heartbreaking for him and his fans as he was dismissed for 0 on the first ball he faced. Ganguly tried to turn the ball to leg, but Krejza got the ball to turn and the ball took the outside edge of Ganguly's bat and balloned up to Krejza who took a low return catch.

To add more woes on India, Sachin Tendulkar who was shaping up well, played Krejza and started off for a run, but Dhoni sent him back with the master blaster half way down the wicket. Camerron White threw the ball to wicketkeeper Haddin who had no problem in dislodging the stumps with Sachin way out of the crease. Sachin made a very slow 12 of 55 balls with one boundary.

Earlier, in the morning session, it was India all the way as Sehwag and Vijay gave India a perfect start.

Sehwag made a bright start, driving the fifth ball he faced today for four, but slowed down after a few wafts outside the off stump. He was happy to duck the short stuff but punished anything on his legs. He also let loose a fierce cut shot backward of point off Mitchell Johnson.

Brett Lee was removed after a wayward five-over spell, which Sehwag rounded off with consecutive boundaries - one brute force, drilled back over Lee's head, the other all wrists, caressed wide of mid-on. Jason Krejza's introduction drew a slack stroke from Sehwag but the ball didn't carry to a diving Lee at mid-off.

Sehwag then began to play with ominous certainty, twice slog-sweeping Krejza for four, the second of which brought him his half-century 25 minutes before lunch.

Vijay was careful in his shot selection, particularly when leaving temptation outside his off stump. He left the bouncers well, dropping the wrists and swaying, and played some handsome strokes straight to the fielders. When Krejza came on Vijay, growing in confidence, cut through point and gully for boundaries before skipping out to whip four more over mid-on.


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