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India v Australia 1st Test
Bangalore, 9-13 October 2008
606 debate | Mobile scorecards

FIRST TEST, Bangalore (day five):
Australia 430 & 228-6d drew with India 360 & 177-4

By Oliver Brett

Sachin Tendulkar
Tendulkar fell for 49, 14 runs away from Brian Lara's Test runs record

India's batsmen did enough to keep Australia at bay as the first Test of four finished in a draw in Bangalore.

Needing 299 from 83 overs following Australia's early declaration on Monday, India collapsed to 24-2 early on but finished comfortably on 177-4.

Sachin Tendulkar made 49 in three hours, remaining 14 runs behind Brian Lara's world record for Test runs.

Tendulkar and VVS Laxman (42 not out) did the most to repel the Australians as 10 overs were lost to bad light.

Tendulkar seemed destined to overhaul Lara's total of 11,953 runs but became Cameron White's first victim in Tests when giving a simple catch to cover-point.

The veteran right-hander survived 126 deliveries, while Laxman lasted 16 more without being dismissed. Their fourth-wicket stand provided more than 25 overs of resistance either side of tea.

It was a good start. It's always difficult for us coming here and starting a Test series. There's room for some improvement

Australia's Ricky Ponting

Australia batted for just over half an hour in the morning before declaring, advancing their overnight score of 193-5 to 228-6.

The tourists, perhaps surprising India by ending their innings a little earlier than expected, then nipped out two big wickets before lunch.

Virender Sehwag, who probably needed to be still there at tea if India were to have any hope of getting the required runs, lasted just nine balls.

He hit a beautiful cover-drive for four off Stuart Clark but then, attempting to hit an innocuous delivery through midwicket, turned his wrists too soon and the ball caught the back of his bat before being taken comfortably by Matthew Hayden at slip.

The early jolt to the Indian innings immediately put Australia captain Ricky Ponting on the warpath.

Brett Lee responded to Rahul Dravid's nonchalant straight push for four by removing the batsman when a leg-stump half-volley was lifted invitingly towards short midwicket.

Ponting still had to react quickly, diving to his right to complete a brilliant catch, but he made it look effortless and at 24-2 - with more than two sessions remaining - India had it all to do.

Tendulkar took two fours off one Mitchell Johnson over and he and Gautam Gambhir did at least take the hosts to the sanctuary of lunch.

India resumed after the interval on 41-2 from 17 overs and they found life slightly easier with the pitch holding as well as could be expected given the widening cracks on offer.

Michael Clarke's five overs of spin were safely negotiated - Australia's lack of a high-class slow bowler would become rudely exposed by the end of the day - and it was a surprise when the third wicket fell.

Gambhir's innings came to an end when Johnson somehow scuttled a delivery through the left-hander's defences to bowl him for 29 off 81 balls.

Laxman, whose confidence must have been dimmed a little following his duck in the first innings, instantly looked composed and patient.

With even the faintest hopes of victory faintly banished, survival was the watchword for India and the two right-handers with oceans of experience behind them kept Australia's bowlers at bay.

Ricky Ponting and VVS Laxman
Laxman stood firm as Ponting and co were frustrated in Bangalore
There was one scare when Tendulkar appeared to edge leg-spinner White an inch over Hayden's outstretched fingertips at slip. He was given four runs for the shot, although replays showed he had missed the ball completely.

White's variations were impressive, and he and Clarke bowled in tandem in the run-up to tea. But with neither being full-time spinners, and Tendulkar and Laxman being among the best players of slow bowling around, the odds were stacked in India's favour.

Three Laxman boundaries made it 130-3 at tea, with 35 overs to go.

There could be no relaxation, though, for a team who had failed to bat out the final day in Sydney at the start of the year.

India also lost at this same venue against Pakistan in 2005 having been 103-1 at lunch on the final day.

The immediate factor after tea was bad light, which momentarily had the umpires in consultation.

But play went on, and Australia struck once more when Tendulkar, looking to push a single off White to reach his 50th Test fifty, mistimed the shot, hitting straight to Clarke.

Less than six overs later, the light was offered to Laxman and Sourav Ganguly. They had no hesitation in deciding to head for the pavilion, though the teams were back out 37 minutes later.

After one more stint of nine overs, and another of six - in which Australia rarely looked like taking a wicket - the two teams finally agreed to call it quits.

They will now reconvene in Mohali on Friday for the second Test of Ganguly's farewell tour. The left-hander did well enough here, with scores of 47 and 26 not out.

see also
Johnson blows leave India adrift
11 Oct 08 |  Cricket
Australia in India 2008
09 Apr 08 |  Cricket

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