Thursday, 30 October, 2008

VVS, Gauti put Aussies out of winning race with their double tons

B D Narayankar

The second day's play of the third Border-Gavaskar Test played at Delhi's Feroz Shah Kotla belonged to two double century makers - opener Gautam Gambhir and stylish VVS Laxman. They placed India in a formidable position after stringing a record 278-runs partnership for the fourth wicket.

India declared on 613 for 7 on the second day as soon as Laxman lofted Micheal Clarke to the long on boundary to complete his double ton. They decided to have a crack at Australia for an hour today but that didn't quite go as per plans as the bowlers failed to pick up a single wicket. The ball is turning and that is the biggest concern for Australia. At stumps the visitors were 50 for no loss with openers Mathew Hayden and Simon Katich at the crease.

Today's first session went into India's kitty as the hosts went wicketless into lunch. Gambhir and Laxman started off from where they had left yesterday. They added 97 runs with ease as none of the Aussie bowlers troubled them.

Gambhir, 149 overnight, continued to mix caution with aggression and set his eyes on making his first double hundred. He, however, offered a chance when on 176, but his edge off leg-spinner Cameron White evaded Mathew Hayden in the slips.

Gambhir, who scored 206, tore apart Australian attack to script his second century of the Border-Gavaskar series. He, however, fell apart trying to fend off his betenoire Shane Watson's delivery. He nicked the ball back on to his stumps.

Gambhir had become the first left-handed opener from any country to hit a double-hundred against Australia, and his score equaled the previous record by an Indian opener against the Aussies. Ravi Shastri had made 206 in Sydney against Allan Border's team in 1991-92.

Laxman has a special liking for the Australian attack. It was evident from the fact that he scored his six centuries out of 13 against the No. 1 team in the world. Laxman notched up a double hundred remaining unbeaten on 200 before skipper Anil Kumble declared the innings.

Only Brett Lee gave some initial hiccups to Laxman early on. The bowler was unlucky after the Hyderabadi fended off a rising delivery clumsily. That was the only blemish from the blade of Laxman. He later slipped into his groove and brought his skillful wrists into play - driving and pulling on both sides of the wicket. He was in a sublime form.

The stylish Laxman was stuck for 11 balls on 99 but reached the coveted mark with a cover-driven four off leg-spinner White.

Retiring veteran Sourav Ganguly soon walked back after adding just five runs to his team's score. His outing was cut short by part-time bowler Simon Katich as he holed one to Ponting at short cover.

India vice-captain MS Dhoni's cameo of 27 runs was put to end by Watson. Dhoni edged a delivery that was going outside the offstump and wicketkeeper Haddin took a diving catch.

Kumble was eventually trapped lbw to become Johnson's third victim of the innings, and all that was left was for Laxman to reach 200 before the inevitable declaration came.


Australia 50-0 (15) Runs Balls 4s 6s SR
M Hayden not out 16 35 3 0 45.71
S Katich not out 29 56 5 0 51.79
*R Ponting
M Hussey
M Clarke
S Watson
B Haddin
C White
B Lee
M Johnson
S Clark
Extras: 5 ( b:4 lb:0 nb:1 w:0)
Total: 50-0 (15) | Curr. RR: 3.33

FOW:

India O M R W Nb Wd RPO
Zaheer Khan 4 2 9 0 0 0 2.25
Ishant Sharma 4 1 9 0 0 0 2.25
*Anil Kumble 4 1 17 0 1 0 4.25
A Mishra 3 0 11 0 0 0 3.67


India 613-7 decl (161) Runs Balls 4s 6s SR
G Gambhir b Watson 206 380 26 1 54.21
V Sehwag lbw b Lee 1 2 0 0 50.00
R Dravid c Hayden b Johnson 11 31 1 0 35.48
S Tendulkar c Haddin b Johnson 68 126 11 0 53.97
VVS Laxman not out 200 301 22 1 66.45
S Ganguly c Ponting b Katich 5 8 1 0 62.50
MS Dhoni c Haddin b Watson 27 29 4 1 93.10
*Anil Kumble lbw b Johnson 45 73 8 0 61.64
Zaheer Khan not out 28 21 3 1 133.33
Ishant Sharma
A Mishra
Extras: 22 ( b:6 lb:8 nb:6 w:2)
Total: 613-7 decl (161) | Curr. RR: 3.81

FOW: V Sehwag (5-1, 2.1), R Dravid (27-2, 10.4), S Tendulkar (157-3, 52), G Gambhir (435-4, 123.5), S Ganguly (444-5, 126.2), Dhoni (481-6133.4, *Anil Kumble (579-7, 155.4)

Australia O M R W Nb Wd RPO
B Lee 30 2 119 1 1 1 3.97
S Clark 33 9 69 0 0 0 2.09
M Johnson 32 4 144 3 0 2 4.50
S Watson 20 4 66 2 3 0 3.30
C White 15 1 73 0 0 0 4.87
M Clarke 14 0 59 0 0 0 4.21
S Katich 15 2 60 1 0 0 4.00
*R Ponting 2 0 11 0 0 0 5.50

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