Monday, October 4, 2010

Three-wicket Hilfenhaus rocks India

Mohali: The Indian top order crumbled under pressure as the home team lost four wickets chasing 216 to win the first Test match against Australia at the PCA stadium on Monday.

At stumps on Day 4, Sachin Tendulkar (10) was on the crease and he was being supported by Zaheer Khan (5). For Australia, Ben Hilfenhaus took three wickets, while Doug Bollinger chipped in with one wicket.Earlier, Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir and Rahul Dravid were back in the pavilion as India got off to the worst possible start.

The spin duo of Harbhajan Singh and Pragyan Ojha struck in the second session as India kept the Australians on a tight leash, reducing them to 165 for six at tea.

Wicketkeeper batsman Tim Paine was batting on nine after Harbhajan dismissed Marcus North of the last delivery before tea being caught by substitute Cheteshwar Pujara at silly point.

The visitors now enjoy an overall lead of 188 runs with four second innings wickets in hand.

After Ishant Sharma rocked the Australian top-order in the morning session, the post lunch session belonged to spinners Harbhajan and Pragyan.

Starting the session at 100 for three, Ojha, who got a bit of stick in the morning session, drew Simon Katich forward as the ball spun away from the left hander. The edge was taken by Mahendra Singh Dhoni behind stumps. Katich scored 37 with the help of two fours.

Michael Hussey (28) got a bad decision when he was adjudged leg before trying to sweep a Harbhajan delivery that pitched well outside leg stump. He ended the Test on a disappointing note.

Earlier in the morning session, pacer Ishant Sharma produced a hostile spell to grab three quick wickets on a dead track and reduce Australia to 100 for three after they raced away to 87 for no loss in the first hour and half.

Watson smashed 56 off only 59 deliveries -- an innings which was in stark contrast to his toiling century in the first essay -- before Ishant snared three quick wickets to bring India right back in the match.

Watson added 87 runs with Simon Katich for the opening stand before Ishant bowled a deadly second spell from the pavillion end to dismiss the all-rounder, rival captain Ricky Ponting and his deputy Michael Clarke in a space of two overs to bring the hosts right back into the match.

Ishant, who started in an erratic manner giving away 17 runs in two overs, had brilliant figures of 3-2-8-3 to show for in his second spell. His pre-lunch session figures read 5-2-25-3.

Among his three victims, Watson should curse himself for doing a hara-kiri.

Ishant bowled one wide outside the off-stump and the opener went for a wild slog over deep mid-wicket but dragged it back onto his stumps. Watson hit seven boundaries and a huge six off Pragyan Ojha during his knock.

Ponting started with a boundary but Ishant got his man when the Australian skipper pulled a short one straight into the hands of backward square leg which was specifically stationed for that particular shot. Suresh Raina took a well-judged catch.

The lanky speedster from Delhi was over the moon when he got Michael Clarke to flick one to short mid-wicket where Virender Sehwag was standing.


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