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Last Updated: Thursday, 3 January 2008, 07:07 GMT
Laxman century gives India hope
Second Test, Sydney (day two, stumps):
Australia 463 v India 216-3

VVS Laxman celebrates his fifth Test century against Australia
Laxman has built up an awesome record against Australia

India's VVS Laxman hit his third century in Sydney Tests, and his fifth against Australia, but the hosts hit back with two late wickets on day two.

The tourists reached stumps on 216-3 in reply to Australia's 463 with Laxman (109) and Rahul Dravid (53) adding 175.

After Wasim Jaffer had been bowled by a 91mph Brett Lee yorker, Laxman and Dravid kept the Aussies at bay.

But eventually, Brad Hogg had India's centurion caught at short extra cover soon after Dravid had edged to slip.

Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly were left to play out the last 10 overs.

Ganguly was dropped on six as he edged Hogg's flipper towards slip, where Matthew Hayden did not stay down long enough to give himself an opportunity of accepting the chance.

Australia added 87 to their overnight 376-7 in the morning session.

BBC Sport's Oliver Brett

Andrew Symonds finished unbeaten on 162, with Lee making 59, Mitchell Johnson 28 and Stuart Clark a duck.

Anil Kumble took all three wickets to fall, finishing with 4-106, and the Australian innings was finally completed 20 minutes before lunch.

The home team's total represented a stunning recovery from a position of 134-6 soon after lunch on day one.

Lee's partnership with Symonds was worth 114 in all before the paceman fell lbw to Kumble's googly.

Symonds, who then added 40 with Johnson, hit 18 fours and two sixes in an innings straddling 226 deliveries.

India's openers Jaffer and Dravid safely negotiated an awkward three overs before lunch, but Lee's pace did for Jaffer four overs early in the second session with the total on eight.

Stuart Clark
Clark is out of luck as Gilchrist fails to catch Laxman on 45

But on an excellent batting track, Australia had to wait until deep into the final session to break the Dravid-Laxman partnership.

Laxman was easily the most adventurous of the two batsmen, hitting 18 sometimes exquisite boundaries.

Four of them came in one Johnson over as the left-arm seamer suffered from bowling too full.

Laxman's pulling and driving was of the highest order, though he did give Adam Gilchrist an extremely difficult chance on 45 off Clark.

He reached his century by dispatching a short ball from Hogg to the midwicket rope and faced 142 balls in all.

Dravid was watchful by comparison, needing 160 balls for his runs, but the two right-handers made Australia's pursuit of a 16th consecutive Test win a far from straightforward affair.

If we can build a big partnership we can have a big first innings total and put pressure on the Aussies

VVS Laxman

But both appeared to lose concentration towards the end of the day, handing the Aussies a timely fillip.

Dravid cut a Johnson ball that was too close to his body, edging it to Hayden, before Michael Hussey pounced on a mistimed drive from Laxman.

  • India's VVS Laxman:
    "It's always a satisfying thing for any cricketer to do well against the best team in the world.

    "I'm very pleased that I have been able to do consistently well against them in some very tough situations so I want to carry that on."

    "It's really balanced well but it's very important how we start off tomorrow morning. If we can build a big partnership we can have a big first innings total and put pressure on the Aussies."

  • Australia's Brett Lee:

  • "India batted beautifully, especially Laxman. I thought he played a fantastic innings.

    "He has got this habit of scoring hundreds at the SCG. I've always held him in the highest respect as a player and as a person."

    Australia v India photos
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