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Page last updated at 11:37 GMT, Saturday, 18 October 2008 12:37 UK

India leave Australia in trouble

SECOND TEST, Mohali: India 469 v Australia 102-4 (day two, stumps)
Dates: 17-21 October Start time: 0500 BST each day
Coverage: Live text commentary on BBC Sport website

By Oliver Brett

Ishant Sharma and Harbhajan Singh celebrate the demise of RIcky Ponting
Ishant Sharma and Harbhajan Singh celebrate Ricky Ponting's dismissal

Australia face an uphill battle to save the second Test after closing day two on 102-4 in reply to India's first innings score of 469 in Mohali.

From an overnight 311-5, India were all out for 469, with Sourav Ganguly, who retires at the end of the series, making 102 for his 16th Test century.

Mahendra Dhoni hit four sixes in an entertaining 92, but was last man out.

Australia plunged to 17-2 and then 62-3 before debutant Amit Mishra removed Michael Clarke in the final over.

The leg-spinner, who also bowled Simon Katich for 33, bowled a perfect googly from around the wicket into Clarke's pads to give umpire Asad Rauf one of the easiest lbw decisions he will ever see.

Clarke had looked one of Australia's most comfortable batsmen, but he was gone for 23.

India will want to remove Michael Hussey (37 not out) early on day three, after Dhoni missed two outside chances to catch him - on six and 25. Umpire Rudi Koertzen then reprieved the left-hander two runs later when replays suggested the excellent Zaheer Khan had pinned him lbw.

Thursday had been all about Sachin Tendulkar, who hit his 50th Test fifty and was finally out for 88 in becoming the first man to 12,000 Test runs - overhauling Brian Lara's record aggregate early in his innings.

All the attention on Tendulkar was forgotten when play resumed on Friday, however, with a Test match to be won and neither team holding a major advantage.

606: DEBATE
80mph
Night-watchman Ishant Sharma hit one spanking shot through the covers for four off debutant Peter Siddle, but became the first Indian dismissed in single figures when popping up a catch to Katich at leg gully.

Ganguly, who was on 54 overnight, and Dhoni were bombarded by short-pitched deliveries, but were barely troubled as they began a partnership which would provide 109 runs.

An off-colour Brett Lee was easily pulled by each batsman for four before Dhoni hooked Siddle for six and then creamed Shane Watson through the covers.

Ganguly took a boundary off the under-used spinner Cameron White on the stroke of lunch to move to 91 in a total of 401-6, Dhoni having motored along to 45.

The next 34 runs were added so smoothly that a total of 500 looked a formality, and 550 a distinct possibility.

But then India's innings unravelled. Moments after taking the boundary off White that took him to his second Test ton against Australia, Ganguly holed out to mid-off as he stepped out to attack White.

Ganguly said: "It's a good hundred. Any hundred against Australia is good, especially with a good attack with pace. It's not the most memorable but is definitely something I will cherish.

"I try to enjoy every single day because I know every day will probably be my last and I will try and do my best."

Harbhajan Singh never settled and was bowled by White and, although in between wickets the leg-spinner was hit for three sixes by Dhoni, the end of the India innings was nigh.

Dhoni was clearly worried about the batting skills of Zaheer and Mishra, as he wastefully ran out the former in a bid to keep the strike and allowed Mishra to face just four balls before trying to tap another single from the final ball of the following over.

But this time the delivery from Siddle hit his pads close to the line of off-stump, and although replays showed the Indian captain was struck outside the line, umpire Koertzen awarded the decision in favour of the bowler.

Sourav Ganguly
Ganguly completed his 16th Test century, but was out soon afterwards
The man from Victoria was the most hard-worked of the Australian bowlers and finished with 3-114, a meritable return.

Matthew Hayden, normally so good against India, mirrored his failure at Bangalore when he lasted just three balls of Australia's innings.

The left-hander played down the wrong line to a straight delivery from Zaheer Khan, and the ball crashed into his stumps off inside edge and pad.

After tea, Australia suffered another massive blow when Ricky Ponting - having survived one big lbw appeal off Sharma - failed to last out the over.

The ball did not do a lot, but Ponting's Achilles heel is the one angled into him from outside off-stump, and this time when he was struck in front Koertzen did not save him.

Although there were increasing signs of reverse swing, India had no third seamer to exploit the conditions so Dhoni was forced to turn to spin with Sharma and Zaheer tiring.

But he need not have worried as the diminutive Mishra took just 18 deliveries to claim a Test scalp and leave the Aussies on 62-3.

Katich, playing from the crease and unsure of how to deal with a leg-break that bounced a fraction extra, played on to his stumps.

Hussey had by then enjoyed the first of his three let-offs, Sharma enticing an outside edge which a better-placed Dhoni might have dived to his left to take.

The susbequent edge off Harbhajan was a thick one which barely brushed the wicketkeeper's fingertips and arguably was not really a chance at all.

With Koertzen's help, he somehow kept Zaheer at bay when the left-armer threw everything into a stunning spell late in the day, and in the final few overs it was his partner Clarke who looked the more settled of the two.

However, when Mishra picked up his second wicket with just one delivery of the day's play remaining, it was clear that India had their noses firmly in front.

"Mishra's done very well but it's just the beginning," Mishra added. "It's about doing it day in, day out, like Anil Kumble and Harbhajan Singh have, but it's a good start.

"He's definitely put us in a situation where Australia are under pressure."




see also
India start well against Aussies
17 Oct 08 |  Cricket
Tendulkar's career in photos
18 Jul 07 |  India
Australia in India 2008
13 Oct 08 |  Cricket


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