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Australia struggles to reach 5th day in 2nd test

Australia struggles to reach 5th day in 2nd test

India offspinner Harbhajan Singh sparked a dramatic collapse that left Australia reeling at 141 for 5 wickets at stumps Monday after being set 516 to win the second test.
Harbhajan captured three wickets around tea on the fourth day with Australia self-destructing from 49-0 to 58-5 in a period when it was also tormented by paceman Ishant Sharma.
At stumps Australia still needed another 375 runs for victory with Michael Clarke unbeaten on 42 and Brad Haddin on 37.
Having seen India rush to 314-3 before its declaration in the middle session, Matthew Hayden and Simon Katich tried to make an early statement by out-muscling the bowlers during a brisk 49-run stand.
The tactic backfired when Harbhajan entered in the final over before tea and removed both of them.
Hayden, who blasted 29 off 20 balls, was trapped lbw while attempting to sweep. Five deliveries later, Katich (20) miscued a drive that was taken by Sachin Tendulkar, diving at short cover.
Australia's lack of discipline was displayed again in Harbhajan's first over after the break when Michael Hussey missed a wild attempted pull and was lbw for only 1 run.
When Sharma bowled Ponting for 2 runs with an unplayable off-cutter _ dismissing the Australia captain for the fifth time in five tests _ and Shane Watson was lbw for 2, there was a chance the visitors would not last until the final day.
However, Clarke and Haddin, who was hit in the shoulder by Sharma's first ball, made sure the match entered a final day with an unbroken sixth-wicket stand of 83.
"We've had a poor day today and this game isn't necessarily lost," Australia coach Tim Nielsen said. "When you tend to have a day that's not as successful as you'd like, people start looking for reasons or making up reasons and today we had a couple of blokes who just got bowled out."
Harbhajan and Sharma dominated the afternoon _ with Harbhajan recording figures of 3-23 off 15 overs while Sharma picked up 2-29.
"Chasing 500 is never that easy in the fourth innings, especially if you have two quality spinners in your side," India opener Gautam Gambhir said. "The way Bhajji (Harbhajan) bowled in the second innings was tremendous."
Gambhir produced his second century during the start of India's onslaught, which ended when Mahendra Singh Dhoni ended Australia's punishment an over after drinks in the middle of the second session.
Left-hander Gambhir joined forces with Virender Sehwag in an impressive 182-run partnership for the first wicket.
Sehwag provided most of the power, but Gambhir stayed longer than his partner and moved to his century with a boundary through mid-wicket off White shortly before lunch. He had struck seven fours during his 136-ball stay, but left two deliveries later when he chipped to mid-off while on 104.
"Today was a very important day, especially getting a hundred against Australia in India," he said. "I'm really happy."
Gambhir's half-century came in the fourth over of the day, and in the next over he hit legspinner White for a straight six. Fifteen runs were struck off White's six balls and he also experienced harsh treatment from Sehwag.
Sehwag smashed 90 from 122 deliveries before his aggressive knock ended when Peter Siddle had him caught behind by Haddin.
"The way we've approached the entire test, we've been very aggressive since the start," Gambhir said. "If you want to win against the Australians it's important to be very aggressive."
Dhoni, who promoted himself to No.3, ensured the momentum was maintained when he scored 68 from 84 balls to add to his 92 in the first innings.
Australia's bowlers were ineffective on a batsman-friendly surface and Brett Lee, who sustained a right-hand injury in the first innings, did not bowl until after lunch.
Lee removed Sourav Ganguly (27) when he skied to Clarke and the tourists were relieved when the declaration finally came.
The first test was drawn in Bangalore.


Updated : 2021-10-19 00:58 GMT+08:00