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Page last updated at 11:51 GMT, Friday, 7 November 2008

India v Australia: 4th Test day two as it happened

FOURTH TEST, Nagpur (day two, close):
India 441 v Australia 189-2

LATEST ACTION (ALL TIMES GMT)

By Mark Mitchener

606: DEBATE
e-mail tms@bbc.co.uk (with 'For Mark Mitchener' in the subject), text 81111 (with "CRICKET" as the first word) or use 606 (Not all contributions can be used)

1138: Right, it's been a good day of cricket and a pretty good day of debate. Clearly we have lots of Indian and Australian fans out there who are very passionate about their teams - we started at 0345 this morning with Botham's Ashes predictions, and the debate has been furious all day. If you wish to continue it - and please keep it civilised, folks - then I can point you in the direction of 606.
Join the debate on 606

But that's it from us for the day - thanks for all your e-mails and texts, and I'll be back tomorrow morning to bring you day three. See you then, I hope you'll join me for more from this fascinating Test.

"Re: DM at 1101... I respect you are entitled to your opinion, but in India we have our own sets of rules and standards. We tend to fall upon the right person as a method of trial and error... no-one expected Dhoni to be a Test captain, Sehwag was picked as an off-spinner and middle order bat and so on. Respect to Katich and Hussey - but out of the last 26 Tests against Australia, India have won 9 and Australia 10 so your theory of them being a superior Test team is a bit sus to say the least"
Arnie from New Delhi in the TMS inbox

CLOSE OF PLAY (DAY TWO)

1131 - Aus 189-2 (49 overs)
Tendulkar's off, Mishra's back. Katich sneaks up to 92 with a single, Hussey keeps it simple and defends well against the googly. Aleem Dar removes the bails, and that's it for the day. These two have added 115 together - Australia now trail by 252 runs. That's two good sessions for Australia, they're definitely back in the game now. India have a warm-down on the outfield, doing some stretching exercises.

1127 - Aus 188-2 (48 overs)
Harbhajan rips one past Katich's outside edge as Katich tries to shut up shop. A single rotates the strike, then the "Turbanator" gets one to really bounce past Hussey and Dhoni takes it high above his shoulders. One more over?

1125 - Aus 187-2 (47 overs)
Katich tickles Tendulkar for a single to fine leg, then Hussey blasts a four somewhat more unconventionally to cow corner. Attempting the same shot off the next ball, he can only pick up one.

"Well, Botham certainly does a fine line in hubris and I agree with some of the 'premature demise' comments in today's inbox. If Krejza really comes good (you never know) that would solve at least some of the supposed bowling ailments and Lee is bound to shrug off his slough of despond sooner or later. And the Aussies are still a formidable batting line-up that can score very quickly and hold up very well under pressure. I also reckon they can win this match and the Ashes should be a relative doddle"
Dave Langlois, Spain, in the TMS inbox

1121 - Aus 180-2 (46 overs)
Katich steers a Harbhajan full toss away for a single - a rapid over from Bhajji but the Aussies are playing for stumps now.

"I think all this speculation as to who will beat whom in forthcoming series is extremely useful and makes great reading. I think India will beat England 7-3, with England being awarded the bonus win for losing the penultimate match by fewer than 50 runs, and that the Ashes will be drawn, with the Aussies clinching the urn in a wang-off (hitting a rubber ball furthest out of the ground with one of those rubber coated fielding practice bats) at The Oval"
Edward Little, Italy, in the TMS inbox
[That's Numberwang! MM]

1118 - Aus 179-2 (45 overs)
Time for a fourth spinner as notorious partnership-breaker Sachin Tendulkar enters the attack, bowling around the wicket. It looks like he's bowling leg-spin - his first ball is bludgeoned to the square-leg boundary for four by Hussey to bring up the century stand. The Aussie pair add another single apiece. It's been a long day, but we're on the home straight now.

1115 - Aus 173-2 (44 overs)
Time for another trundle from Harbhajan as Sehwag retires with impressive figures of 6-1-11-0. Can he make the breakthrough? Katich dabs a single to reach 86, Hussey does likewise to reach 85.

"Is this a contest to see how many times you can mention the slow over-rate from yesterday? Get over it; Australia are normally very good in this department, unlike a certain nation whose previous one-day captain copped a four-match ban for this offence!"
Patrick, London, in the TMS inbox

1110 - Aus 171-2 (43 overs)
After a single from Hussey, Katich off-drives Mishra for four before nicking the strike once more.

Get involved on 606
"Mark, Udal was not the reason England won that Test match [see my cryptic comment at 1046 - MM]. Though he took four wickets, Flintoff had already done the damage not to mention Strauss got a hundred and Shah 88. The damage was done before Udal joined the party!"
Timmy2988 on 606 [Call it Hampshire bias! MM]
Join the debate on 606

1106 - Aus 165-2 (42 overs)
Sehwag gives it a bit of flight against Huss, who has shown plenty of "huss-tle" between the wickets today. He dabs a single to fine leg off the last ball to keep the strike.

1104- Aus 164-2 (41 overs)
Katich now has 80, with a steely look of determination in his eye, but Mishra keeps it tight and only four byes which evade Dhoni off the last delivery advance the score.

1101 - Aus 160-2 (40 overs)
A tidy spell from Sehwag so far - but Katich picks up three with a lofted drive that might have gone for four on a smaller ground. We're past the official close of play time, but will continue until 1130 GMT to try and make up the 10 overs still to be bowled (because of slow over-rates).

"Katich and Hussey both illustrate why Australia are a superior Test team to India and will remain so. They were forced to grind it out in the toughest domestic competition in the world before earning their place in the national team. No free lunches, no 'exciting youngster with potential' business, just the good old-fashioned hard yards when it seems like no-one's watching. They are better players because of this and India's spoiled little superstars could learn from their examples of diligence and persistence"
DM in the TMS inbox

1058 - Aus 157-2 (39 overs)
Mishra is all arms and legs in his run-up, twirling away as Katich adds another single to the score. Hussey then benefits from a misfield by Harbhajan in the covers, when a diving stop pushes the ball away from one of his fellow fielders. Mishra also strays with a no-ball, and even though the next ball isn't a free hit as it would be in ODIs, Hussey goes aerial with a pull shot but it falls safely between a couple of fielders and they run a couple.

1054 - Aus 151-2 (38 overs)
Sehwag varies his pace and flight well - "nice one, Viru", chirps Dhoni from behind the timbers. A maiden over.

1052 - Aus 151-2 (37 overs)
More good running brings Hussey a single to cover point, then Katich reaches 75 with a single that takes Australia to 150 with a degree of symmetry. Another single takes Hussey to 29, he's played well here. 41 of the 151 runs have come in singles.

A helmet - five runs if you hit it
"Re: 1028. No, it wouldn't be 15 runs as the ball automatically becomes dead when it hits the first helmet"
Steve, on an umpire's course, in Stoke, in the TMS inbox

1049 - Aus 148-2 (36 overs)
With two spinners on, India are through their overs rapidly, putting Australia's poor over-rate to shame, and Sehwag's over costs just two singles.

1046 - Aus 146-2 (35 overs)
Mishra bowls round the wicket to the two southpaws, and the change of angle helps him bowl a little tighter. With two spinners on, Hussey has forsaken his cap for a helmet, and steers a two to the mid-wicket boundary sweeper. Aussies 295 behind.

"Isn't it nice to see off-spin being used so effectively? Alright, Krejza wasn't cheap, but you can't sniff at eight wickets. And who better to learn from than Harbhajan if you're starting out in Test cricket. I hope KP is taking notes for his own bowling"
Harry (a much less talented offspinner), London, in the TMS inbox
[While not wanting to spoil the array of features we've got coming up on the site in the next couple of weeks for the Ind-Eng series, we've spoken to the last off-spinner to win a Test for England, on the subcontinent no less - who was then never picked again! MM]

1043 - Aus 144-2 (34 overs)
Hussey is patient against Sehwag, before executing a textbook sweep stroke which only brings a single.

"I think the English had better watch closely as they have to play both of these in the next few months - India, with Dhoni at the helm, have all the right quality and attributes to displace Australia at the top of the tree. The Aussies, although weaker than the Ashes 06/07 side (5-0 drubbing), still have a lot in the locker to beat England. I reckon India will beat Eng 2-0 and the Aussies will beat Eng 2-1"
Chags, Birmingham, in the TMS inbox

1041 - Aus 143-2 (33 overs)
With both right-arm and left-arm seamers having operated in both innings, there's now plenty of rough patches on both sides of the wicket, at both ends - leaving only the middle of the pitch looking as it did when the match started. Hussey and Katich turn Mishra around the field for ones, twos and threes - on the advice of Tendulkar, Dhoni brings in a leg slip.

"Although Kreja may have conceded a lot of runs on his debut innings, he's also got the fourth best figures for a debut innings, bettered only by Narenda Hirwani (8-61), Bob Massie (8-84) and Alf Valentine (8-104)"
Promit C (London, visiting Kolkata for two months and gutted they're not having any matches here at all) in the TMS inbox

1035 - Aus 136-2 (32 overs)
Dhoni continues to shuffle his bowlers - Zaheer only had one over at Billy B's end, and it's time for third spinner Virender Sehwag. He's a more than useful old-fashioned right-arm off-spinner, but the singles are coming very quickly now.

"Carl's comment (1005) that lots of teams struggle in the subcontinent is just 'explaining away' bad performance. A great team and a great player is expected to perform in all conditions. You will surely snigger at people if they tried to explain away a bad performance of a subcontinent team in Australia due only to harsh conditions there, would you not?"
Ranga from Tuebingen in the TMS inbox

1032 - Aus 132-2 (31 overs)
The runs continue to flow for Kat and Huss, who continue to find the gaps in the infield. Nothing spectacular, just steady.

A helmet - five runs if you hit it
1028 - Aus 127-2 (30 overs)
India concede five penalty runs when a ball sails down the leg side, Dhoni can't take it cleanly and it hits one of the three unguarded fielding helmets behind the Indian keeper. (As the TV commentators ask, would it be 15 runs if it hit all three?). After Katich steers a three past point, Billy B then has a word with Zaheer (who's changed ends) about running on the pitch - it appears to be a casual chat rather than a formal warning. Hussey then knocks a four off his legs - an expensive over for India, and that's the fifty stand for Kat and Huss. (Sounds like an LA detective agency, that).

1025 - Aus 115-2 (29 overs)
A belated entry into the attack for leg-spinner Amit Mishra - remember, this is only his third Test match, he has nine wickets at 28.00 from his first two appearances on the big stage. (He has yet to score a Test run, though). Just one single (to Katich) from his first over.

1017 - Aus 114-2 (28 overs)
Harbhajan switches to bowling around the wicket, but Hussey tips-and-runs a quick single - Tendulkar's throw breaks the stumps but non-striker Katich had easily made his ground. Katich steers a well-run three to the long boundary at extra cover - time for another drinks break.

Get involved on 606
"Has Katich been on the Red Bull or something? I've never seen him score so fast in the longer form of the game"
StandfreeFM on 606
[Other energy drinks are available - MM]
Join the debate on 606

The sun is out
1013 - Aus 110-2 (27 overs)
The fielders are working carefully to maintain the shine on one side of the ball as it's passed around. Hussey works another single to fine leg - this stand is worth 34 now. Katich clips a two off his hip - but the sun still appears to be shining brightly around Nagpur, with several of the Indian fielders now decked out in sunglasses. Or, maybe, the sun's getting low and shining in their faces - it's 1543 local time.

1008 - Aus 107-2 (26 overs)
Hussey tries to cut Harbhajan - it's in the air but safe, Tendulkar gives chase from backward point but can't prevent the four. A single takes him into double figures, Katich dabs another couple.

India
"Re: Why not play at Eden Gardens? It's really not the time zone or weather thingy at all. Starting time for each venue makes up for that. (I remember Guwahati one-dayers starting as early as 8am). But what matters is who is at the helm in Kolkata (read Bengal Cricket Association) and BCCI. I hope everybody understands"
Jitender Singh in the TMS inbox

That's 50
1005 - Aus 100-2 (25 overs)
Katich is one short of a determined half-century, but can't penetrate the infield with a couple of cover drives. Eventually, he steers a two off his legs to reach his 11th Test fifty, off just 55 balls, and lifts his bat to the applause of the crowd. He then pushes a hard-run two to bring up three figures for the tourists - intriguingly, Shane Watson, on the card at number six, is padded up in the dressing-room, with no sign of Michael Clarke. Will we see leg-spinner Amit Mishra soon?

"Firstly thanks for great coverage! Here in Bangkok it can be a little sparse. Secondly I reckon the Aussies will be a whole new team next year, I think they will take Beau Casson as the wickets at home will suit him unlike the Indian ones, he's a good bowler who could be great if given his chance. Also lots of teams struggle in the subcontinent, it doesn't make them bad, just not used to playing in those conditions. I went to watch the last Ashes series when we were totally humiliated, the Aussies still have some great players -just wait and see"
Carl in the TMS inbox

1000 - Aus 96-2 (24 overs)
Harbhajan is getting a little more turn out of the rough as the ball ages - India think they have Katich for a microsecond off two consecutive balls when an edge flies past slip and they run two, then a bat-pad chance pops up, but agonisingly out of the reach of short leg. A single takes him to 49.

0956 - Aus 93-2 (23 overs)
Sharma takes a break as Zaheer Khan returns to change the angle of attack, but Katich's sensible accumulation continues as he leans into an on-drive for four. Meanwhile, Tendulkar is as sharp as a teenager in the field, restricting him to a single to square leg.

Ricky Ponting
"It will be very interesting to see what Punter will write in his autobiography about Harbhajan after getting him out so many times, mostly in the initial few overs! Also, will he spit first on his hand before picking up the pen?!"
Sachin (presumably not Tendulkar, as he's fielding) in the TMS inbox

0951 - Aus 88-2 (22 overs)
Harbhajan has three close fielders plus a man on the drive against Katich, who's rotating the strike well with another dabbed single. Hussey takes his time before steering a two off his legs.

"This match must have some kind of record for the number of batsmen playing on to their stumps. Not something the Bearded Wonder can verify with his records, though, probably"
Ian, Malaysia, in the TMS inbox

0948 - Aus 85-2 (21 overs)
Hussey clips Sharma off his legs for one, Katich nabs a single of his own - his 40 has come from just 40 deliveries. And we have a geography lesson from Oxford to explain a possible reason for the lack of Tests at Kolkata...

India
"Re: Why not play at Eden Gardens? Another possible reason could be because in winter, Kolkata being in the eastern part of India starts getting dark around 5pm. That will mean at least two hours lost every day due to bad light. If the Tests were happening in October, Kolkata may have been considered, but with problems of light, and the prospect of losing 6-8 hours of play due to bad light, I guess it was not a bad idea to move to the opposite end of the country. So the blame lies not with the BCCI, but with the Indian government which insisted that all of India from the Kutch to Kolkata and beyond (roughly 2,000km apart) follow the same time zone"
Alok (geeky and loving it) in Oxford, in the TMS inbox

0943 - Aus 83-2 (20 overs)
Katich steers Harbhajan for three - which remains as three despite several TV replays of Sharma's dive in front of the rope that prevented the boundary, which hint that he may have touched the rope. Hussey doubles his score with a single to leg, and fellow left-hander Katich leg-glances a four to take his total to 39.

India
"Re: Kavit at 0903 and Andrew at 0914 - the correct order of Tests that have happened in India is: South Africa in India (Mar/Apr 2007 - Chennai, Ahmedabad, Kanpur). Pakistan in India (Nov/Dec 2007 - Delhi, Kolkata, Bangalore). Australia in India (Oct/Nov 2008 - Bangalore, Mohali, Delhi, Nagpur). England in India (Nov/Dec 2008 - Ahmedabad, Mumbai). I wonder what kind of an order it is?"
Amogh Dhodapkar in the TMS inbox

0938 - Aus 75-2 (19 overs)
Rahul Dravid leaves the field to be replace by 12th man Subramaniam Badrinath (and yes, I did cut and paste that name). Sharma keeps it tight against new batsman Hussey, that's a maiden over.

"Mark, for all the 'end of an era, you may as well just hand over the Ashes now' talk, I make the Aussies firm favourites to win this one and go home with a respectable 1-1 outcome: five Indians have made batting look pretty easy getting to 50 but none has gone on to make the really big score to get India to 600 plus. They've also scored fairly quickly so there's loads of time left"
Andrew, Sheffield, in the TMS inbox
[In the interests of fairness, I should point out that Andrew e-mailed this in just before Ponting's dismissal - MM]

0933 - Aus 75-2 (18 overs)
New batsman Mike Hussey was obviously taught how to apply sun crew by Andrew "Gone Fishin'" Symonds, as he has a thick covering on his nose and lips. He peers out from under his helmet, while Harbhajan is very energetic after that wicket. Hussey steers the last ball of the over to fine leg for a single.

Wicket falls
0929 - WICKET - Ponting b Harbhajan 24 - Aus 74-2 (17.1 overs)
For the 10th time in his career, Harbhajan grabs the wicket of Ponting - his 300th Test wicket and his 200th in India - when the Aussie skipper edges one onto his stumps while trying to cut. And the scoreboard displays a picture of Harbhajan on a throne!

0928 - Aus 74-1 (17 overs)
Ponting shoulders arms to Sharma, who's been pretty accurate so far today. And as soon as I write that, the commentator's curse strikes as he drops it short and Punter expertly square-cuts him for four. He then flicks another boundary between mid-wicket and mid-on, and steers a three to the same region to reach 24. Good over for Australia.

Get involved on 606
"I know in India that they prefer abbreviated forms of the game, but I found it sad that here are the two best teams in the world playing Test cricket and the crowd is very thin"
BrusselsCanary on 606
Join the debate on 606

0923 - Aus 63-1 (16 overs)
Harbhajan polishes the ball feverishly as Katich drives just wide and short of the man at silly point. The left-hander then opens the face to steer a four past Dravid at slip - and punches his fifth boundary through the covers for four. He has 32, Punter has 13.

"I am a Sri Lankan living in Turkey where sadly no-one knows a thing about cricket. I tried to recruit some Turks once on a beach using a tennis ball and an old bat. They thought it was baseball! I am enjoying all your live texts at seemingly Godforsaken hours, it is good to see the Indians performing so well especially the running between wickets. I liked the run-out of Hayden but must give him credit for 'walking'. I enjoyed the 'Vijay XI' yesterday but I am surprised that no one has asked what the VVS stands for in Laxman's name. I bet it is a mouthful"
Sri Lankan Tony in the TMS inbox
[It's Vangipurappu Venkata Sai Laxman - MM]

0919 - Aus 53-1 (15 overs)
Sharma is keeping it tight against Ponting, with a short leg and a short cover point keeping the Aussie skipper on his toes. Ponting has his shirt collar up, Cantona-style, with his top button done up in the manner of his former team-mate Mark Waugh. Maiden over.

0914 - Aus 53-1 (14 overs)
Ponting steers Harbhajan for a single, keeping Bhajji waiting for his 300th Test wicket.

India
"Re: Kavit at 0903. The rotation doesn't seem to be strictly in order. England are playing a Test in Ahmedabad, where South Africa have already played earlier this year, while there hasn't been a Test at Eden Gardens since 2007 at least"
Andrew Gladwin in the TMS inbox

0911 - Aus 52-1 (13 overs)
The long-legged Sharma continues to Katich, who elegantly cover-drives him for four. That brings up fifty for the tourists.

Get involved on 606
And with the magic hour of 0900 GMT having passed, don't forget that 606 is open for business - do get involved and join the debate.
Join the debate on 606

"Not wishing to get embroiled in the eternal Victoria/NSW spat, but the cricket ground was the SCG, not Melbourne, as asserted by Paul Spice [see 0751] (the same one I went to school with in Portsmouth, I wonder?) that initiated the Aussies' cack-handed approach to scoring"
Allan Hobbs in the TMS inbox

0907 - Aus 48-1 (12 overs)
Harbhajan takes aim at a patch of rough outside Katich's off stump, but the Aussie left-hander opens the face and guides him for a single to third man. Ponting finds the boundary for the first time in the match with a slog-sweep that has the Aussie fans in the stadium waving their flags earnestly.

"I remember watching Michael Parkinson on an Australian talk show a few years ago and he was subjected to the usual "we Aussies are great, you poms are rubbish (at cricket)" scenario. Parky's response was 'I agree you are the best in the world but you have to learn to be gracious in victory and defeat'. I suggest they work on the latter prior to the next Ashes series"
Steve in Oz in the TMS inbox

0903: These intervals seem to just fly by. We're ready to resume.

India
"Reply to DW at 0806: the BCCI has a rotation policy for venues to hold Test matches. It is irrespective of the visiting country. So, if someone has played in Calcutta recently, there will not be any match, untill other venues have hosted one"
Kavit Doshi in the TMS inbox

TEA INTERVAL

0844 - Aus 43-1 (11 overs)
Last over before tea - Punter dabs Sharma for a couple through the leg side, then runs another couple on the last ball before the interval.

Venkatesh Prasad
"For the Ugly XI, tall guy & current Indian team's bowling coach Venky [Venkatesh Prasad] can't be left out. He is the main strike bowler for this team"
Guru, Bangalore, in the TMS inbox

0839 - Aus 39-1 (10 overs)
Katich knocks Harbhajan down to square leg for a single, but Ponting's wary of taking dodgy singles this close to tea. Harbhajan gets plenty of vocal encouragement from his team-mates as Punter eventually square-cuts him for a single.

0835 - Aus 37-1 (9 overs)
Reflecting on that run-out still, it appears that Dhoni quietly switched Mishra with Vijay before the run-out because of Mishra's earlier misfield - and Hayden may have taken the single thinking Mishra was still there. I can attest to that tactic as it worked for the team I play for earlier this year - after an opening batsman kept taking quick singles to yours truly at mid-off, our captain George Shepherd moved me to cover, went to mid-off himself and ran out the opener with a direct hit in similar circumstances to Hayden's dismissal! Back in Nagpur, Dhoni is shuffling his bowlers again as Sharma replaces Zaheer. Katich nudges a single, Ponting sees off the rest of the over.

0830 - Aus 36-1 (8 overs)
The Harbhajan Experiment is resumed after just one over of Sharma. A Katich single brings Ponting on strike - Harbhajan has 299 Test wickets, remember, and has bagged Punter a few times. The Aussie skipper is off the mark with a two through the covers.

0826 - Aus 33-1 (7 overs)
Katich cuts the last ball of the over to third man for a single to pinch the strike off his captain, Ricky Ponting.

Wicket falls
0825 - WICKET - Hayden run out (Vijay direct hit) 16 - Aus 32-1 (6.5 overs)
Katich steers a single to point, then Haydos tries a quick single to Murali Vijay at mid-on, the fizzing throw breaks the stumps on the bounce and Hayden walks off, he's convinced he's gone. He lingers by the boundary a little while the third umpire's verdict is delivered - but he's out.

0820 - Aus 31-0 (6 overs)
The Harbhajan Experiment is ended as right-arm seamer Ishant Sharma belatedly enters the attack. Katich immediately steers him away for a single, Hayden works him to leg for a couple, although there's a hint of swing for the long-haired Sharma.

"When you say Krejza had the 15th most expensive Test analysis of all time, I presume that you mean 'of bowlers who have taken a wicket'"
Robert Overend in the TMS inbox
[No, it's 15th most expensive of all bowlers, not just debutants. Khan Mohammad (0-259) and Nicky Boje (0-221) both had forgettable debuts - MM]
Cricinfo: Most runs conceded in an innings

0814 - Aus 28-0 (5 overs)
Hayden gets a slightly fortunate outside edge as Zaheer finds some away-swing, and it shoots to the third man boundary for four. A fluent forward-prod brings him another four - he has 14 from 18 balls.

Tony Greig
"It's raining in South Africa and the BBC is a lifeline to sanity. Also a welcome distraction… no work today, so far. Thanks to all. I love the Ugly XI, but you've overlooked the brightest blossom in the bunch: Tony Greig must have a place in the XI, surely? Indeed, he's a natural captain"
Deborah Hubbard in soggy Pretoria, in the TMS inbox

0810 - Aus 20-0 (4 overs)
There's still not much turn for Harbhajan with the new cherry, as Katich glides a single past square leg and Haydos steers one to mid-on.

0806 - Aus 18-0 (3 overs)
Zaheer has one orthodox slip (standing where second slip would normally stand) and a leg slip in for Katich. But some sloppy fielding from Mishra at mid-on allows them to run two to an on-drive. Kat then cuts a single to third man.

Text in your views on 81111
"On the subject of Kolkata, why won't the BCCI give England a Test match there? Eden Gardens is one of the world's great cricket venues, as much the defining ground for Indian cricket as Lord's is to England, and by the time England next tour India it will have been around 20 years since they last played a Test there. Is it simply because there would be even fewer spectators for an England Test match than there have been for the Australians?"
DW, London, via text on 81111

0801 - Aus 15-0 (2 overs)
Maybe they weren't talking about the state of the ball - as Dhoni springs a surprise by handing the second over to off-spinner Harbhajan Singh! A cunning move to bring Bhajji, who has 299 Test wickets, on to turn the ball away from the two left-handers. There's a short cover in for Hayden, but the Queenslander rocks back to carve him through the covers for four. However, the new ball doesn't seem to turn as much as the old ball did for Krejza.

0757 - Aus 11-0 (1 over)
Zaheer Khan takes the new ball - it's all lefties to start with as Zaheer's left-arm seam is pitted against two left-handed batsmen. The first ball of the innings is leg-glanced by Hayden for a couple of leg byes, then he's off the mark with a single. A lovely off-drive from Katich sees him under way first ball with a four - then Katich carves another boundary between second slip and point for four. Australia off to a flier, and the Indian fielders are examining the state of the ball already.

Ajit Agarkar
"Mitch, the big-eared half-volley bowler from India, Ajit Agarkar must be a contender to come on first change for the ugly XI?"
Rob, sitting in rubbish traffic on the M4, in the TMS inbox

0751: India's fielders are led by Cap'n Dhoni in a Michael Vaughan-style "huddle" before they take the field. Matthew Hayden and Simon Katich opening up for the Aussies.

"Aussie score the wrong way [Maggie at 0639] - I believe this goes back to the first ever scoreboard in Australia at Melbourne which was designed incorrectly and had 'wickets for runs' rather than 'runs for wickets'. Once that was in place I think it stuck that way"
Paul Spice, Brisbane, in the TMS inbox

Out for a duck
0741 - WICKET - Sharma c Katich b Krejza 0 - Ind 441 all out (124.5 overs)
Sharma digs out the first four balls, but then pops up a catch to Katich at short leg - Krejza finishes with an incredible 8-215, becoming only the sixth man in history to take eight wickets on his Test debut. It's also the 15th most expensive Test analysis of all time, but he won't mind that.

0739 - Ind 441-9 (124 overs)
Harbhajan declines a single against Johnson - but with 437 on the board, is it really advisable to farm the strike rather than taking every run? He blasts a four towards cow corner, but is unable to force a single off the last ball, leaving Sharma to face Krejza.

Some stats for you - the best figures by a Test debutant were Albert Trott (8-43 for Australia v England in 1895), while the most expensive figures in an innings were Chuck Fleetwood-Smith's 1-298 for Australia v England in 1938 (Len Hutton scored 364).
Cricinfo: Best figures on debut
Cricinfo: Most runs conceded in an innings

0735 - Ind 437-9 (123 overs)
The wild-haired last batsman Ishant Sharma defends the hat-trick ball, with six close fielders around the bat.

Out for a duck
0732 - WICKET - Mishra b Krejza 0 - Ind 437-9 (122.4 overs)
Spinner Amit Mishra is India's number 10, entering the proceedings after being able to put his feet up for the first day-and-a-half of this Test. But he doesn't last long as he's bowled first ball by one that turned less than he thought! Krejza on a hat-trick!

Wicket falls
0729 - WICKET - Zaheer b Krejza 1 - Ind 437-8 (122.3 overs)
Bhajji paddle-sweeps Krejza for a single, then Krejza picks up his sixth wicket when he tosses it up high and Zaheer gets an inside edge onto his stumps.

0727 - Ind 436-7 (122 overs)
Zaheer is content to defend against Johnson - another maiden for the left-armer.

Gary Gilmour
"Re: the Ugly XI. Surely ex-Australian bowler Gary Gilmour should be in there. He had a head that looked like something you pull out of the basket at the bottom of the guillotine during the French Revolution!"
John, Malaysia, in the TMS guillotine basket

0722 - Ind 436-7(121 overs)
Harbhajan sweeps, Krejza appeals for lbw but the ball scoots to fine leg and four runs result.

0719 - Ind 432-7 (120 overs)
While Harbhajan is having fun at the other end, Zaheer is more circumspect against Johnson, while Simon Katich yawns in the field. Johnson switches to bowling round the wicket, and there's a bit of controversy when Zaheer gets a nick, Haddin claims a low catch behind, Zaheer stays his ground, Umpire Dar consults Umpire Bowden and they call for the third umpire. Did it carry? The third ump's verdict is "not out".

"What's the point of taking White as a specialist bowler when Punter only bowls him 10 overs out of 120? (And this on an extremely spin-friendly pitch, by the looks of it) And thanks for all the memories Sourav!"
Soheil, formerly of Bristol, now in Tehran, in the TMS inbox
[White is generously described as an all-rounder, but I'd call him a batsman who bowls - MM]

0714 - Ind 432-7 (119 overs)
Can Krejza extend his debut haul past five wickets (despite having conceded 201 runs)? The right-handed Zaheer takes guard for the first time, and he's off the mark with a single before Harbhajan rocks onto the back foot and square-cuts Krejza for four. Krejza now has the unwanted record of the most runs conceded on a Test debut (beating Omari Banks' 3-204 for West Indies v Aussies in May 2003), and Bhajji then takes aim with an agricultural heave over mid-on for another four. Krejza has 5-210.

"Mark from Perth [0522], Test grounds in India are not always empty. The reason may be because of the Oz performance, their poor sledging tactics and arrogance which cant force a win against India. I do agree with the remarks made by Punter, 'it's the team that wins the game not the captain'. But neither the current Oz team nor the captain can win a match against India. It's the beginning of the end of Oz dominance in world cricket. Hope England will add fuel to the fire in the Ashes series next year"
Kalees, Bangalore, in the TMS inbox

0709 - Ind 423-7 (118 overs)
The new batsman is Zaheer Khan, who's watching from the non-striker's end as Johnson makes Harbhajan duck a bouncer. Harby plays it straight for the rest of the over, which is a maiden.

"Sad that the Aussies who invented the whole 'play-fast-make-it-entertaining' brand of cricket are using so many delaying techniques. This over-rate is pathetic!"
Anoop from Bangalore in the TMS inbox

Wicket falls
0704 - WICKET - Ganguly c Clarke b Krejza 85 - Ind 423-7 (117 overs)
New batsman Harbhajan Singh will want to take a look at how much spin the pitch is taking - he's off the mark with an ungainly paddle-swept single. But then Krejza completes his five-for when a turning off-break finds the edge of Ganguly's bat and Michael Clarke takes a superb one-handed slip catch! Ganguly swishes his bat in frustration as he walks off, clearly angry to have missed a century.

Wicket falls
0700 - WICKET - Dhoni b Krejza 56 - Ind 422-6 (116.4 overs)
Krejza reaches his unwanted "double-hundred" thanks to a Ganguly single - then picks up his fourth wicket of the innings as Dhoni tries to force him to fine leg and is bowled around his legs!

"Beefy's comments were largely built on the premise that Australia's bowling is weak - and the way that India have laid into it suggests he's got a point. We'll know for sure in December when we see how India take to England's bowlers and whether South Africa can also pile up the runs off Australia. On a different note - what can the umpires do to improve the over-rate in this match?"
David, Italy, in the TMS inbox
[It's more a question for the match referee than the umpires - MM]

0657 - Ind 421-5 (116 overs)
Dhoni is pushing the ones and twos well now, the Aussies look to be losing a little heart. But some good news for them is that Brett Lee is back on the field.

"Question - when they say 'lunch' do the teams troop off to separate dining rooms? Or break out packets of sandwiches? How about you hard-working journo-types? Do you open a pack of noodles or tuck into some chicken biryani?"
Andi Eicher in the TMS inbox
[Can't speak for the teams - it's probably all very nutritionally appropriate like energy drinks or protein shakes, although Warnie would make do with a plate of chips or a pizza. As for us, the BBC canteen does a lovely scrambled egg on toast, even at 0600 - MM]

0653 - Ind 417-5 (115 overs)
More accumulation from Ganguly and Dhoni against Krejza, who is on the verge of going for 200 runs on his Test debut - despite having bowled pretty well at times. Dhoni uses his feet well to force a single past mid-wicket off the final delivery.

"The place to be right now, with absolutely no doubt is Calcutta (Kolkata). Calcuttans are notorious for unearthing reasons to take a day off from work, and today bosses probably just cannot help, with Sourav probably playing his last big innings"
Ratnakar, New Delhi, India, in the TMS inbox

That's 50
0648 - Ind 413-5 (114 overs)
Australia take the field without Brett Lee - with Shaun Marsh on as sub fielder. Not having played a Test yet - and thus not eligible to wear the Baggy Green cap - he's got a white sunhat on. Mitchell Johnson returns to the attack in place of Watson, but after a single from Ganguly, Dhoni bludgeons a four through gully to bring up his fifty.

Bill Frindall
0639: On the subject of blogs, don't forget to check out the Test Match Special Blog for the latest questions and answers with TMS scorer Bill Frindall. A couple of you have sent in questions that might be better directed to the Bearded Wonder:

"Could anyone tell me the record for most runs conceded in an innings by a bowler on Test debut?" Jonathan, Sydney
"Does anyone know why Australia insists on putting the score round the wrong way, ie the number of wickets before the score, how long have they done it this way and does any other country do it like this?" Maggie in Brisbane
TMS Blog: The latest from Bill Frindall

Boxing
0635: Dirs update - all you Ben Dirs fans out there (and we know you're there as you often e-mail in when he's not on text commentary duty) may or may not know that he's out in New York for us at the moment to report on this weekend's Joe Calzaghe fight. The Dirs blog was formally launched yesterday, so it may be one you want to bookmark for the future.
Ben Dirs blog

"Sign of the times here in Australia, the press overnight were praising Krejza to the hilt… having taken 3-195 by lunch!"
Gary Dean in the TMS inbox

"Hi Mark, I know the over-rate's poor but you may have ignored all the extra time it'll be taking to chase the little leather piece all over the oval as they're doing at the moment. It's easy bowling quickly when it's all play and miss"
Mikael in Adelaide in the TMS inbox

LUNCH INTERVAL

0604 - Ind 404-5 (113 overs)
Ganguly steers a quick two past point, then slightly fortunately chops one wide of the keeper through the vacant slip cordon for four, to bring up the century stand. A single takes his score to 80, then Dhoni has a bash at the last ball before lunch... which pops up safely into the off side. Time for lunch, and India fully in charge of events - we're going to take a short break.

"Now we know why Brett Lee was so ferocious when McGrath was around. People tried to score off Lee because of McGrath's consitency and handed Lee wickets"
Keralavarma Vijay Thampuran, Thripunithura, Cochin, in the TMS inbox

0559 - Ind 397-5 (112 overs)
More grunting from Watson as lunch approaches, just one run is taken by Ganguly and despite some delaying tactics by Australia, there's going to be time for one more over.

Geoff Boycott
"I think readers across the world will be impressed by the way you've taken this terrible kettle incident in your stride at 0530 - very professional - though I guess it's early days and the live text could get much crankier as the morning wears on. I know I'd be gnawing my own fingers off if I didn't have access to coffee at this time of day. And on the Ugly XI, Geoff Boycott was the reason helmets were introduced, so he's got to be in"
Paul in Lancs in the TMS inbox

0555 - Ind 396-5 (111 overs)
Krejza tosses it up well against Dhoni, and cramps the Indian captain for room on one occasion, but Dhoni then effortlessly guides a single to short fine leg. Ganguly moves to 72, and the Australian fans in the crowd don't look the happiest people around as this partnership reaches 93.

0551 - Ind 394-5 (110 overs)
A single takes Dhoni to 42, while the bowler Watson has a tendency to "grunt" as he bowls each delivery in the manner of Monica Seles. "Great effort, mate," Haddin encourages him at the end of the over.

"On Ganguly's change of gloves earlier in the day: I think he's just trying different brands, at different times of the day, or perhaps hour by hour. Or may be has different gloves for different bowlers. We may hear more about it in his autobiography. Or maybe, he might approach the glove company and be their brand ambassador once he retires. Regardless, seems to be working well for him"
Karan, from Canberra, in the TMS inbox

0546 - Ind 393-5 (109 overs)
After a single by Dhoni, Krejza is still gamely firing his off-breaks in at Ganguly's legs, but the batsman is patient enough to pad away anything outside leg stump he doesn't fancy. A sweep which is "fine" in both senses of the word brings him four and takes his score to 71 off 125 balls.

"18 overs in the first ninety minutes today... comes to about 12 overs per hour. Stellar"
Alok Tiwari, Champaign, Illinois, USA, in the TMS inbox
[And that's even with the spinner on - disgraceful! MM]

0542 - Ind 388-5 (108 overs)
A painful diving stop by Krejza as he contrives to fall on the ball. Ganguly then cuts loose, thrashing Watson towards cow corner but the chasing Mike "Mr Cricket" Hussey dives well to restrict them to three. More quick running from Dhoni keeps the scoreboard ticking over.

"Sir Beefy may live to regret his words. The weather here in Melbourne is English cricket weather - raining"
Bill, formerly from North Somerset, in the TMS inbox

0537 - Ind 384-5 (107 overs)
It's a very defensive field now as Krejza continues to Ganguly, who steers a two to third man and then nabs a quick single to keep the strike. But Billy B has a word with Ganguly for running down the middle of the pitch.

"Suresh [0549] - yeah, Tait is really dangerous! Especially at the WACA in Perth where he gave away 90-odd runs at 4.3 per over and no wickets! We should accept the fact that with the form the Indian team is right now, no one could really have stopped them. Unless McGrath was around (even Warne gets pummeled in India - average of 40+), I don't see how Australia could've got anywhere close to beating India"
Arjun, Chennai, in the TMS inbox

0534 - Ind 381-5 (106 overs)
While a loud crash indicates my match-report colleague Oliver Brett may have broken the office kettle (we'll just have to claim it was like that when we arrived at 0330), it's another Unremarkable Watson & Dhoni Maiden Over in Nagpur. Lunch in 25 minutes.

Neil Mallender
"To Andy in BrizVegas [0509]... You haven't obviously considered THE ugliest cricketer ever - Neil Mallender, ex Northants, somehow England, and latterly head of the Ugly Umpires Union (UUU)"
Richard Stevens in the TMS inbox

0530 - Ind 381-5 (105 overs)
Krejza gets a bit of bounce to Ganguly, who firmly thrusts his pad at a couple of deliveries that pitch outside leg stump, without any fears of being out lbw. But he flicks another one deftly off his legs and it scuttles away for four. "Bowling, Jase", keeper Haddin calls out as the over ends.

0526 - Ind 377-5 (104 overs)
The legendary Merv Hughes, now an Aussie selector, is watching from the visitors' dressing-room - there's not much hair on the top of his head these days, but the prodigious handlebar moustache is thankfully still in evidence. On the pitch, Watson sends down a maiden to Dhoni that's nothing to write home about.

0522 - Ind 377-5 (103 overs)
Ganguly sweeps Krejza for a couple, then Krejza fires an off-break into the rough outside the left-hander's leg stump and it rears up and strike him under the chin, underneath his helmet visor. Ouch.

"Why are the Test grounds always empty in India? And when was the last time a gentleman from the British press gallery (BBC excepted) made a sage remark predicting victory (or defeat) which did not make us all collectively cringe? I'll excuse Peter Roebuck who talks cricket better than he played it, although he's on Oz radio"
Mark, Perth WA, in the TMS inbox

0518 - Ind 375-5 (102 overs)
Dhoni looks as difficult to dislodge as ever, he looks in no trouble against Watson but sees off a maiden over.

"I have no idea why people are talking about unsporting spin-friendly pitches in India. Is spin not an art? Cricket is not about banging in short and bouncing the opponent out. It isn't about swing all the time too. All Australia need is good spinners and good bowlers to bowl reverse swing. Spin is becoming a dying art in Aus, Eng, SA, but just because of this, one should not brand spin-friendly tracks in India as unsporting. Those countries should foster spin bowlers"
An_Honest_Cricket_Fan in the TMS inbox

That's 50
0514 - Ind 375-5 (101 overs)
Another single from Dhoni - can Ganguly do it this over? Yes, he can - a firm off-driven two brings up his 35th Test fifty, to the delight of the crowd. He rounds off the over with another lofted drive, which is a first-bounce four. One fan in the crowd holds up a toy tiger - which reminds me, the Tigers of Bangladesh are playing South Africa in their first ODI later today, and if you didn't hear yesterday's story, there will be no Herschelle Gibbs, who has, ahem, one or two personal issues to sort out.
REPORT: South Africa drop troubled Gibbs

"Sir Ian's comments yesterday may not have inspired the more modest among us... I believe that the real indicator will be when South Africa tour Australia in the winter. With a relatively strong batting lineup they (almost) have a stronger team than the Aussies on paper. Visiting India is well-known as one of the hardest tours, I expect England to struggle as much as Australia. I still can't help worrying about next summer when I think of Michael Hussey's never-ending supply of runs or the fact that Stuart Clark will almost definitely do well in English conditions. Lets just hope Warney doesn't pop any last minute surprises"
Adam Seabright, Aberdeen, in the TMS inbox

0509 - Ind 368-5 (100 overs)
After a drinks break (which allows Ganguly to remove his helmet and re-apply his red bandana), medium-pacer Shane Watson replaces Johnson in the attack. He's bowling round the wicket, but it's business as usual for India as Dhoni steers a single to third man to bring Ganguly on strike, on 49. But he sees off the rest of the over.

Darren Lehmann
Scott Styris
Sajid Mahmood
"I vote for England's own Sajid Mahmood as captain of the World Ugly XI. Vice captains Scott 'Billy Ray' Styris and Darren Lehmann"
Andy, Brisbane, in the TMS inbox
[Seeing the words "Mahmood" and "England's" together sends shivers up my spine, having watched him get carted around Melbourne and Sydney by the Aussie batsmen in 2006/07- MM]

0459 - Ind 367-5 (99 overs)
Ganguly goes aerial against Krejza, walking down the pitch to hoist him over his head for a straight six! The next ball is a little shorter, but he pushes it past mid-off for two to reach 48. A single brings Dhoni on strike, and he joins in the fun by reverse-sweeping the debutant for a couple. Dhoni then steers three through the covers - an expensive over for the tourists - 22 conceded from Krejza's last two.

"Aussies should have flown down Shaun Tait to India during the break after the second Test.... bowling well in the Aussie domestic tournament and also his action is perfect for exploiting the reverse swing and his pace is quite dangerous along with his yorkers"
Suresh in the TMS inbox

0455 - Ind 353-5 (98 overs)
Dhoni hangs his bat out to carve Johnson past the man at short cover point for two, which brings up the fifty stand. He then has to duck a bouncer.

0451 - Ind 351-5 (97 overs)
Punter turns to spin as Lee takes a rest after just four overs, and it's time for debutant Jason Krejza, who has 3-142 from his first 29 overs. Dhoni and Ganguly push the ones and twos well, then the wicketkeeper brings up India's 350 with a perfectly-executed sweep shot from outside off stump.

"Them's fighting words Beefy, bring it on. And for that, I nominate you as Captain of the World's Ugliest XI"
Glen, Sydney, in the TMS inbox

0445 - Ind 342-5 (96 overs)
Lee's toils continue in the field as Ganguly slaps Johnson past backward point and it even evades Lee's "feet-first sliding tackle-style" dive at third man as the ball crosses the rope. The Prince has 39. Johnson then gains a smidgen of revenge when a shorter delivery hits Ganguly on the armguard. Dhoni now signals to the dressing-room for something.

"G'day Mark, no wonder the economy's going down the tubes, Australia's full of Poms following the cricket, dreaming - literally - of an Ashes win. And when was the last time anybody took notice of Beefy's opinion on anything other than the buffet?"
Rob, Perth, WA, in the TMS inbox

0440 - Ind 338-5 (95 overs)
Dhoni works Lee away for two, then a beautifully-timed on-drive brings the first boundary of the day as Lee strays to leg. The blond paceman is already rather frowny, this series hasn't been much fun for him.

Ricky Ponting
"I am already 'seeing' the press conference after day four of this match when Ponting will be claiming that only one team is trying to win this match. He'll bang on about negative batting and long gone from his mind will be the fact that his bowlers managed a pathetic 87 overs on the first day"
Dave the Pom in Sydney, in the TMS inbox

0436 - Ind 332-5 (94 overs)
Dhoni is rotating the strike well against Johnson, but the only thing rotating for "Punter" Ponting is the gum he's feverishly chewing.

"Blimey! Bell and Broad look more like WAGs than cricketers in the photos of England arriving in India (0353). They must be hoping for a go on Sir Allen Stanford's knee I suppose..."
Jon, formerly from the blue side of Bristol, in the TMS inbox

0431 - Ind 331-5 (93 overs)
Lee still bowling round the wicket to Ganguly, who on-drives for a quick single. Ponting moves himself from second slip to a short cover point position in a bid to limit Dhoni's off-drive, but he tips-and-runs another quick single to mid-off.

"Keep going - we are waiting for your comments. I am in Iran on business and this is the only way I can keep up with the progress and scores. It is 0730 local time on Friday, the day of rest here where we are supposed to be sleeping in... Well done to Tendulkar on his 40th Test century"
Pay Rashidi, Tehran, in the TMS inbox

0427 - Ind 329-5 (92 overs)
Some serious scampering between the wickets from Dhoni brings him a two to fine leg. Ganguly gets some powder brought on and applied to his hands at the end of the over.

"If the Aussies find the next few hours in the field as punishing as I find sitting at my desk when it's a perfect 28 degrees outside I'll be very, very happy"
Andy, Brisbane, in the TMS inbox

0422 - Ind 327-5 (91 overs)
There's no danger of anyone nodding off in the crowd at Nagpur, with loud music belting out between overs. Ganguly wiggles his gloves in the direction of the dressing room, does he need a new pair already? Lee has just one slip in, rather surprisingly, but sends down a maiden.

"Don't worry, I'm reading your words Mark [see 0345]. It's nearly 2pm on Friday afternoon here in Brisbane and I'll do anything to avoid doing work…"
Emma, originally Yorkshire, now Brisbane, Australia, in the TMS inbox [Thanks to all those who expressed similar sentiments - MM]

0418 - Ind 327-5 (90 overs)
The immediate introduction of Mitchell Johnson's left-arm seam indicates that the opening over from Krejza was just to allow the two pacemen to switch ends. Dhoni steers a single to leg. Johnson then has Ganguly - in his final Test, lest we forget - playing and missing, but the "Prince of Kolkata" then prods a three through the covers. Some good running from these two so far.

Text in your views on 81111
"Beefy sure has started with a bomb off the five metre board - there are going to be plenty of ripples!"
Kenton, Ramsgate, working (kind of), via text on 81111

0413 - Ind 323-5 (89 overs)
Having sent down just 12 overs on day one, paceman Brett Lee has switched ends from last night. But Dhoni punches him through the covers for three. The ever-popular Mahendra Singh Dhoni is celebrated with a fan's poster saying "Singh is King", and Lee switches to bowling round the wicket to the left-handed Ganguly. Lee chunters at umpire Billy Bowden after he is adjudged to have overstepped with a no-ball, but the Kiwi official just tells him to get on with it. With Australia's appalling over-rate yesterday (just 87 overs bowled, despite 41 overs of spin), he would be advised to comply. After a single from Ganguly, Dhoni steers Lee through the covers where a tumbling Krejza combines with Simon Katich to prevent the boundary. Krejza's tumble isn't referred to the third umpire, despite lingering doubts he may have touched the ball while over the line. They run three, anyway.

"It's red hot here in Brisbane Mark, I'm sure it's the same there with you? Enjoy the warm porridge, looking forward to more banter and interesting observations. Has anyone put forward the suggestion of ugliest world XI? I saw Mark Waugh on telly yesterday and whilst he was possibly not the ugliest cricketer around, without the helmet or baggy green cap he really is particularly ugly. He looks astonishingly like that geezer from the Grease movie who drove the motor with the flames coming out of it... If memory serves me correctly, the baddies were called the Scorpions?"
Matt, formerly from cold Bristol, Brisbane, in the TMS inbox

0405 - Ind 315-5 (88 overs)
Early drama as after Sourav Ganguly carves Krezja through backward point, Mahendra Dhoni tries to chop the third ball of the day back past the bowler, Krejza dives forward and the Aussies all go up to claim a caught'n'bowled... Umpire Aleem Dar refers it to third umpire Suresh Shastri and the TV replays show Dhoni hit it into the ground before it spooned up for the catch. So he survives - and pinches the strike with a single.

0359: As Australia prepare to open with off-spinner Jason Krejza after just five overs with the second new ball last night, don't forget we need you to get involved on the e-mails (tms@bbc.co.uk, with "For Mark Mitchener" in the subject line), texts (81111, with "CRICKET" as the first word), or on 606 after 0900 GMT. To kick us off, here's the latest missives from Australia:

"Good morning Mark, after yesterday's play Australia seem to have been thrown a lifeline with the late wicket of Sachin 'Nine Lives' Tendulkar, who rode his luck very well in the afternoon sessions. I'm sure that Punter Ponting will be firing up the Aussies given that Beefy Botham has already declared that the 2009 Ashes are already England's. Here's to an intriguing day's play, a couple of quick wickets and the game will be wide open"
Toby Cooper, Melbourne, in the TMS inbox

0353: To bring you up to date with some cricket news from yesterday, England legend Sir Ian Botham has fired a shot across Australia's bows by claiming England will win next year's Ashes "easily". Not quite in Glenn "We're going to win 5-0" McGrath territory, but worryingly near. And England have arrived in India for their forthcoming ODI and Test series - there's a photo gallery for you to have a look at. Stuart Broad has had a haircut - let's hope his dad Chris (match referee at this game in Nagpur) approves.
REPORT: Botham predicts 'easy' Ashes win
PHOTO GALLERY: England arrive in India

0345: Morning, everyone. I always feel slightly nervous typing those words, with the hope that there's someone out there reading them.

It's 0915 in Nagpur, where India are limbering up to resume on 311-5 against Australia on day two of the final Test - and the hosts will hope to give the tourists some more punishing hours in the field.

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see also
Australia in India 2008
13 Oct 08 |  Cricket


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