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Last Updated: Saturday, 26 January 2008, 07:51 GMT
Hayden keeps Australia in touch
Fourth Test, Adelaide, day three (close):
Australia 322-3 v India 526

By Jamie Lillywhite

Matthew Hayden
Hayden is the third Australian to reach 30 Test centuries
Veteran opener Matthew Hayden struck his 30th Test century as Australia closed day three of the final Test on 322-3, 204 runs behind India.

The 36-year-old, who missed the defeat in Perth with hamstring trouble, shared 159 in 52 overs for the first wicket with Phil Jaques, who made a calm 60.

Hayden bludgeoned 10 fours and a six to pass Don Bradman and Jacques Kallis as the sixth highest Test century maker.

Skipper Ricky Ponting was made to work hard for his 79 but remained unbeaten.

Glorious blue skies again adorned the scenic Adelaide Oval ground on Australia Day, also celebrated in India as Republic Day.

India chose to open with a mixture of pace and spin, in the form of the impressive teenager Ishant Sharma, and Harbhajan Singh.

Hayden, resuming on 36, soon asserted his playground bully approach to the bowling, pulling a Sharma bouncer dismissively from the front foot in the third over of the day.

He recorded the 100 partnership in the 34th over of the innings with a thunderous cut off Irfan Pathan.

Anil Kumble's options in the field were also reduced by RP Singh being off the field with a hamstring injury.

Matthew Hayden
Sharma found a perfect delivery to finally break Hayden's resistance

He brought himself into the attack after 15 overs of play but in his third over Hayden marched down the pitch to launch powerfully over long-on for six.

The skipper found some reward in the second over after lunch when Jaques tried to sweep from out of the rough outside off-stump, the ball spun sharply and went between bat and pad.

Ponting got off the mark in slightly fortuitous fashion with a top-edged pull against the spin of Kumble that dropped into a gap at deep square-leg.

Just when the tourists thought there was no way of dislodging burly Queenslander Hayden, Sharma conjured a magical delivery that curved in to beat the left-hander's defensive stroke.

Michael Hussey, dropped low at slip by Rahul Dravid off the first ball after tea from Kumble, had his considerable defences breached as Pathan produced some late movement to squeeze between the gate.

Harbhajan had dismissed Ponting on several previous occasions but was only occasionally able to trouble the batsmen, and the part-time off-spin of Virender Sehwag looked more threatening than him.

MOST TEST CENTURIES
S Tendulkar (Ind) * 39
S Gavaskar (Ind) 34
B Lara (WI) 34
R Ponting (Aus) * 33
S Waugh (Aus) 32
M Hayden (Aus) * 30
D Bradman (Aus) 29
J Kallis (SA) * 29
A Border (Aus) 27
G Sobers (WI) 26
* still playing Test cricket

However, the normally attacking Ponting spent 70 minutes in the 40s and his 40th Test fifty took 114 balls, with only three boundaries.

Rarely in recent years can the dominant Australians have been made to work so hard for their runs, but Ponting and Michael Clarke were content to play in attritional fashion in the hot sunshine.

The new ball was taken shortly before the close some 27 overs after it was due.

Sharma, in particular, and Pathan found some shape into the batsmen but the Australian duo defiantly held out, taking the partnership to 81 from 27 overs.

Their efforts may not have been appreciated by everyone in the large holiday crowd, but they ensured Australia would have a good chance of avoiding a second successive defeat that would give India a share of the series.


Australia's Matthew Hayden:
They have very wide tactics and that was indicated by the fact they didn't want to take the new ball.

"They just wanted to stop us scoring, which is perfect for us really because all we wanted to do was bat for time in the game.

"The way they bowled today was perfect for us not to lose the game, Australia is 2-1 up in the series and we definitely want that to stay."

India's Virender Sehwag:
"I think it's been a great day for India, the bowlers did a great job on a flat track.

"I think they're not going to win so they are scared and playing very defensive.

"They only scored 260 in a day, this is not like Australia. Last time we came here they scored 400 in a day, I think they're scared about defeat."



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