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Page last updated at 11:09 GMT, Friday, 10 October 2008 12:09 UK

Hussey knock keeps Aussies on top

FIRST TEST, Bangalore (day two, close):
India 68-0 v Australia 430

Dates: 9-13 October Start time: 0500 BST each day
Coverage: Live text commentary on BBC Sport website

By Mark Mitchener

Mike Hussey
Hussey was last out for 146 after more than a day at the crease

Mike Hussey hit his ninth Test century to put Australia in charge against India in the first Test in Bangalore.

Hussey was last out after compiling a patient 146 as the tourists were bowled out for 430 shortly after tea.

Although Shane Watson and Cameron White fell cheaply, Hussey added 91 with Brad Haddin (33) and 59 with Brett Lee (27) while paceman Zaheer Khan took 5-91.

Virender Sehwag (43 not out) and Gautam Gambhir (20 not out) had helped India reach 68-0 when rain curtailed play.

With Australia having exposed India's limitations in the field on day one, new batsman Watson served notice of his intentions by pushing the first ball of the day for a quick single.

With the second new ball only a few overs old, Ishant Sharma bowled a hostile morning spell for the second day in succession - and was soon beseeching umpire Asad Rauf for an lbw decision against Watson which was rightly turned down for height.

Bowling in tandem with [Sharma] is always special because he adds that pace at the other end

Zaheer Khan
But two balls later, Sharma had no need of any assistance from Rauf as he unleashed an absolute beauty at Watson which nipped back, beat the right-hander's outside edge and clipped the off stump with the absolute minimum of impact needed to dislodge the off bail.

In that first spell, the impressive Sharma outbowled his more experienced new-ball partner Zaheer, who failed to find as much swing as usual early on, while the odd loose delivery was punished in a calculated manner by Hussey.

Hussey, having played the support role to Ricky Ponting on Thursday, soon reached his 10th Test fifty.

His partner Haddin looked less secure early on, and also received a warning from umpire Rudi Koertzen for running down the middle of the pitch.

After just over an hour of play, India captain Anil Kumble turned to himself and Harbhajan Singh for some spin, but they toiled against Hussey and Haddin - and were not helped by more lacklustre fielding from the Indians, with Sourav Ganguly the most obvious culprit.

Hussey reached his ninth Test hundred soon after lunch in a slightly fortunate manner, inside-edging Sharma past his stumps for four, but let out a whoop of delight nevertheless.

The much-needed breakthrough came via a well-disguised slower ball from Sharma, when Haddin's forward prod spooned up into the air for the perfectly-placed VVS Laxman at short extra cover to leave the tourists 350-6.

Ishant Sharma celebrates
Sharma picked up three wickets in a lively morning spell
Another slower ball from Sharma, who finished with 4-77, accounted for debutant White, who had just hit a streaky four through the slips and found himself chipping into the hands of Harbhajan at extra cover.

That brought Lee to the crease, and he was happy to support Hussey with some obdurate defence - although he did well to blast back-to-back fours through the covers against off-spinner Virender Sehwag.

As Australia pushed their score past 400 in a workmanlike manner, with the game slipping away from India, even some members of the crowd struggled to stay awake as they reached 416-7 at tea.

Lee had added 59 with Hussey by the second over after tea when he was yorked by Zaheer - while Mitchell Johnson did not last long, edging onto his stumps as Zaheer found some reverse swing with the old ball.

The left-armer wrapped up the innings and completed his five-wicket haul when Hussey - having just reverse-swept a four - finally played on for 146.

Sehwag was in his usual bullish form opening the innings for India, punching Stuart Clark through the covers for an early boundary before waving his arm furiously when a spectator walked behind the bowler's arm before the next delivery.

Aside from an occasional lbw appeal, Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir seemed to acclimatise quickly to a Bangalore track that still looked full of runs - albeit with the odd bit of uneven bounce.

An imperious four past gully from Gambhir off Johnson brought up the fifty partnership in just 13 overs.

Meanwhile, wicketkeeper Haddin showed his good sportsmanship behind the stumps by indicating that an edge by Sehwag off Clark had not carried - while the right-hander rode his luck when he nearly chopped a low delivery from Johnson onto his stumps.

Shortly after the scheduled close of play (1630 local time) was reached, with just under 10 overs still to be bowled, a very sudden rain shower curtailed play with India 68 without loss.

However, some more defiant batting from the Indians will be needed on Saturday if they are to stay in the game.

India's Zaheer Khan: "It's a great feeling to get five wickets in India, it is something special. In the first session, I couldnt get my rhythm, maybe I was trying too much. I wanted to be too attacking. In the second spell I changed that.

"[Sharma] is really shaping up as a good bowler, working hard on his game. He's always ready to take responsibility, bowling his heart out. Bowling in tandem with him is always special because he adds that pace at the other end."

Australia's Michael Hussey: "It's particularly special to get a test match hundred in India. It's arguably the toughest place to play for an Australian. To get a hundred and put the team in a good position is very, very rewarding.

"It would have been nice to pick up a couple of wickets, but they played well and we created a few chances. Maybe the luck will go our way tomorrow. We've just got to really stay patient, bowl in partnerships and build pressure from both ends."

see also
Ind-Aus: 1st Test day one photos
09 Oct 08 |  Cricket
Australia in India 2008
09 Apr 08 |  Cricket

related bbc links:

related internet links:
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Sydney Morning Herald Hussey leads Australia to big total in cricket Test - 56 mins ago
ABC Online Hussey last out as Australia post 430 - 59 mins ago
The Times Australia in commanding position - 1 hr ago
CricInfo Stubborn Hussey pushes total to 430 - 1 hr ago
ABC Online Ton-up Hussey leads Australian charge - 4 hrs ago


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