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India v Australia 3rd Test
Delhi, 29 October-2 November 2008
606 debate | Mobile scorecards

Third Test, Delhi:
India 613-7 dec & 208-5 dec drew with Australia 577 & 31-0 (day five)

By David Ornstein

Anil Kumble
Kumble departs as the third-highest wicket-taker in Test cricket

Skipper Anil Kumble bowed out of international cricket after India drew the third Test against Australia to take a 1-0 lead into the final match.

Australia sensed a shock win when Brett Lee removed Rahul Dravid after the hosts resumed on 43-2, a lead of 79.

But Sachin Tendulkar (47) helped India towards safety before VVS Laxman (59no) and Sourav Ganguly finished the job.

Having declared on 209-5, a lead of 244, Kumble opened the bowling as Australia reached 31-0 before close.

Matthew Hayden and Simon Katich guided the tourists through to the close unscathed but attention had long since turned to Kumble.

Questions had been raised over whether the 38-year-old leg-spinner should continue as captain after this series and a damaged finger may have ruled him out of the Nagpur Test, which starts on 6 November.

But Kumble, who is likely to be succeeded by Mahendra Singh Dhoni, took the decision into his own hands and brought the curtain down on his Test career at a ground where he took all 10 wickets in one innings against Pakistan in 1999.


It would have been fitting for Kumble to bow out with a win but following Australia's tremendous batting performance and two late wickets on day four, India did well to claim a draw.

Australia's opening bowlers Lee and Stuart Clark were full of confidence in the opening exchanges, hitting a fine length and generating pace and movement off the seam as they probed outside off stump.

In Gautam Gambhir, the series' top run scorer, they met a stubborn and disciplined opponent who quickly discovered his timing, while partner Dravid looked less assured.

He has had scores of 51, 5, 39 and 11 before this innings and his poor series continued when Lee got a rasping delivery to swing back and catch an inside edge before clattering the former India captain's stumps.

Australia could not have wished for a better start but with Gambhir joined by Tendulkar, India began to relax.

Brett Lee
Lee removed Gambhir early on but India dominated thereafter

At times the in-form pair displayed exquisite footwork and shot selection, although their approach in guiding India through the opening hour was primarily one of caution.

And when Australia captain Ricky Ponting introduced the seam-spin combination of Mitchell Johnson and Michael Clarke, Gambhir and Tendulkar were forced to go against their natural instincts by adopting a more defensive approach.

The run-rate dropped to well below three runs per over and Gambhir, in particular, looked a little uncomfortable.

Left-armer Johnson was varying his length with a degree of unpredictability and shortly before lunch he struck, trapping Gambhir with a delivery that Hawk-Eye showed would have missing leg stump.

India took a lead of 135 into the interval but Johnson and Clarke continued to cause problems when play resumed.

VVS Laxman almost played on in the first over and was beaten all ends up by Clarke's left-arm spin, while Tendulkar also came preciously close to losing his wicket when an inside edge narrowly missed his stumps.

VVS Laxman and Sourav Ganguly
Laxman's partnership with Ganguly ended Australia's hopes of victory
Shane Watson's impressive line and length continued to unsettle Tendulkar, who flashed wildly at a ball outside off stump and was fortunate to escape after being struck on the pads.

Test cricket's all-time leading run-scorer moved to 47 with a delightful punch to the point boundary but then fell to White, for the second time this series, in uncharacteristic fashion.

White gained slight turn from a ball that was pitched on a length outside off stump and Tendulkar, attempting to run it down to third man, handed Hayden a straightforward catch at slip.

Fortunately for India, Tendulkar had all but made the game safe and that allowed Laxman and Ganguly (32 not out) to open their shoulders.

Ganguly, who retires after Nagpur, bludgeoned Clarke over long-on for six and Laxman cashed in with four sweetly struck off-side boundaries, the last of which brought up his 50.

The duo batted on confidently after tea but Ganguly might have been heading back to the pavilion had Hayden not put down a difficult opportunity at slip.

After the declaration Kumble bowled four overs in front of a crowd cheering his every stride and he left the field to a guard of honour.

If India avoid defeat in Nagpur they will reclaim the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, while only a win will do if Australia are to retain it.

see also
Clarke gives Aussies hope of win
01 Nov 08 |  Cricket
Australia launch Delhi fightback
31 Oct 08 |  Cricket
India appeal against Gambhir ban
31 Oct 08 |  Cricket
Gambhir ton makes Australia toil
29 Oct 08 |  Cricket
Australia in India 2008
13 Oct 08 |  Cricket

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