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Page last updated at 11:49 GMT, Friday, 7 November 2008

Krejza raises Australia's spirits

Fourth Test, Nagpur: India 441 v Australia 189-2 (day two, stumps)
Dates: 6-10 November Start time: 0400 GMT each day
Coverage: Live on Sky Sports. Text commentary on BBC Sport website

By Oliver Brett

Jason Krejza
Krejza took five wickets between lunch and tea in his maiden Test

An extraordinary debut bowling performance from spinner Jason Krejza transformed Australia's hopes in their must-win final Test against India.

Krejza took 8-215, the sixth best figures by a Test debutant - and also the most expensive - as the hosts collapsed from 422-5 to 441 all out.

Simon Katich (92) and Michael Hussey (45) then added an unbroken 115 to take the Aussies to 189-2 in their reply.

Harbhajan Singh took his 300th wicket but was outshone by the unsung Krejza.

Having been overlooked for the first three Tests in the series, the off-spinner with a distinctive crewcut already had three of the first five wickets to fall on day one.

And, while India did score heavily enough off his 44 overs to give themselves a decent total, he was Australia's only wicket-taker on Friday.

"It's pretty unbelievable against the best players of spin in the world," Krejza commented.

India enjoyed a perfect start to the day, advancing a solid overnight position of 311-5 to a virtually impregnable one of 422-5 soon after lunch.

Sourav Ganguly, 27 not out overnight, began watchfully before driving Krejza for a straight six.

606: DEBATE
Crouching_Tiger
After reaching his half-century, he hit three further boundaries off Krejza, who was beginning to get turn and bounce without the results he merited.

An edgy late cut, again off Krejza, also disappeared to the boundary and at lunch Ganguly was on 80, Mahendra Dhoni 43, with their stand worth 101.

When Dhoni, who had batted with placid patience in the morning, muscled Mitchell Johnson to the extra-cover fence - and then edged a drive to third man for the four which brought up his fifty - a score well in excess of 500 looked inevitable.

But from nowhere there was mayhem as the last five wickets fell to Krejza for the addition of just 19 runs in the course of eight overs.

The 25-year-old's luck changed dramatically as he first bowled Dhoni behind his legs and two balls later had Ganguly (85) edging a low left-handed catch to Michael Clarke at slip.

BEST BOWLING FIGURES ON DEBUT
AE Trott (Aus): 8-43 v Eng (Adelaide, 1895)
RAL Massie (Aus): 8-53 & 8-84 v Eng (Lord's, 1972)
ND Hirwani (Ind): 8-61 & 8-75 v WI (Chennai, 1988)
L Klusener (SA): 8-64 v Ind (Kolkata, 1996)
AL Valentine (WI): 8-104 v Eng (Manchester, 1950)
JJ Krejza (Aus): 8-215 v Ind (Nagpur, 2008)
Although Harbhajan batted freely and without alarm in hitting an unbeaten 18, numbers nine to 11 had no answer to Krejza as a series of awkward defensive pokes brought three more wickets.

As a result, India's total was below expectations, but the consolation was that they had 11 overs at Australia's openers in the run-up to tea.

Perhaps unduly excited by Krejza's success, Dhoni asked Harbhajan to bowl the second over - but India's premier off-spinner could not make the ball "talk" in the way Krejza had, albeit with an older ball.

When a wicket did come India's way, it was handed to them on a silver platter by Matthew Hayden. The left-hander drove Zaheer Khan straight to mid-on before setting off for a ludicrous run.

Perhaps unaware that Dhoni had put one of his best fielders, Murali Vijay, in that position - where he replaced the less mobile Amit Mishra - Hayden was about six inches short of his ground when Vijay's throw ripped out a stump.

Matthew Hayden
Australia gifted India a wicket when Matthew Hayden was run out
After tea, Harbhajan became India's key man with neither fast bowler able to extract anything from the wicket.

Ricky Ponting was beginning to look dangerous, taking 11 runs off the last three balls of an Ishant Sharma over to move to 24.

But that left Ponting on strike to Harbhajan, and an attempted cut played to a ball that spun extravagantly left him cramped for room and clean bowled. It was the 10th time the Australian skipper had fallen to Harbhajan in a Test.

The stage appeared set for Harbhajan to get amongst the Australian middle order, but instead left-handers Katich and Hussey produced an admirable response.

Katich needed just 55 balls to reach his half-century, an innings featuring some sweet driving of pacemen and spinners alike.

Hussey built his innings more steadily, but both men were helped by Dhoni's decision to pull Harbhajan out of the attack just as he was beginning to cause Katich some difficulties.

It was a difficult balance, as the Indian skipper also wanted to see what his other spinners - Mishra and Virender Sehwag - might achieve. The answer was very little.

Mishra was inconsistent and Katich moved to 84 with a beautifully-timed off-drive off the leg-spinner.

Finally, Harbhajan was recalled late in the day in partnership with Sachin Tendulkar. Hussey pulled Tendulkar's first ball for four to raise the 100 partnership and there was to be no magic from Harbhajan before the close.

Australia had dominated the second half of the day - a commendable achievement given their toils in the first three Tests - and still believe they have time to win the match and square the series.

"It's definitely swung back in our favour," said Krejza. "We've got ourselves into a really good position now."

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see also
Banned Gambhir misses final Test
04 Nov 08 |  Cricket
Ganguly ready for final bow
05 Nov 08 |  India
Australia in India 2008
13 Oct 08 |  Cricket


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