Fri, Nov 05, 2004 - Page 22 News List

Australia battles on spiteful wicket

TURNER AND BOUNCER Australia, having ripped the heart out of the Indian batting line-up, struggled to come to terms with a wicket favoring every type of bowling

AFP , MUMBAY AND JOHANNESBURG

Australian batsman Damien Martyn turns a ball for runs to take his tally to 28 at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbay yesterday, on day two of the fourth Test between Australia and India. Australia, who shot India out for 104 in the first innings, were 99 for 3 in reply by tea.

PHOTO: AFP

Australia, who shot India out for 104 in the first innings, were 99-3 in reply by tea on the second day of the fourth and final cricket Test yesterday.

The tourists lost Justin Langer (12), captain Ricky Ponting (11) and Matthew Hayden (35) in the post-lunch session as batsmen struggled to come to terms with the spiteful wicket assisting both turn and bounce.

At tea, Damien Martyn was batting on 26 and Simon Katich was on six.

India asked off-spinner Harbhajan Singh to share the new ball with Zaheer Khan, but it was the left-arm seamer who provided the break by having Langer caught in the slips by captain Rahul Dravid.

It was Dravid's 109th catch in Test cricket and bettered Sunil Gavaskar's Indian record of 108 catches by a fielder other than the wicket-keeper.

Ponting, playing his first match in the series following a thumb injury, made 11 when he was trapped leg-before by Anil Kumble.

Hayden smashed three sixes and a four in 35 before being snapped up at short-leg off left-arm spinner Murali Kartik, ending a 44-run stand for the third wicket with Martyn.

Australia already enjoy an unassailable 2-0 lead in the four-match series after winning the first and third Tests. The second Test was drawn.

Australia's fast bowler Jason Gillespie and debutant spinner Nathan Hauritz had earlier combined to bowl India out in just 41.3 overs 10 minutes before lunch.

Gillespie, who finished with 4-29, grabbed three wickets in the space of four runs and Hauritz, a last-minute replacement for the injured Shane Warne, chipped in with 3-16.

India, who resumed at 22-2 from 11 overs bowled on the rain-hit opening day, collapsed to 33-5 before the last five wickets added 71 runs to lift the hosts past the 100-run mark.

Dravid, leading India in the absence of the injured Sourav Ganguly, was the lone batsman to offer resistance with an unbeaten 31.

India caved in tamely before some 10,000 horrified home fans at the Wankhede stadium.

Sachin Tendulkar, looking hopelessly out of touch after his return from a tennis elbow injury, failed on his home ground when he hung his bat out to Gillespie and was caught behind by Adam Gilchrist.

Tendulkar, who scored eight and two in the third Test at Nagpur, groped for 43 minutes here to make five.

Venkatsai Laxman continued his poor run that fetched him just 53 runs in the previous three Tests, scoring only one when he edged Gillespie for an easy catch to Gilchrist.

Gillespie then brought one back on Mohammad Kaif, who offered no shot and was declared leg-before for two.

Debutant wicket-keeper Dinesh Karthik at least managed to get into double figures -- five top batsmen did not -- before being yorked by third seamer Michael Kasprowicz for 10 to reduce India to 46-6.

Off-spinner Hauritz struck with his third delivery in Test cricket when Kumble spooned a catch to Ponting at mid-off.

Hauritz also removed Harbhajan and Murali Kartik before Kasprowicz terminated the innings by clean bowling last man Zaheer Khan.

Boje quits india tour

South African vice captain Nicky Boje became the second casualty in an Indian police investigation into alleged match-fixing four years ago, announcing on Wednesday his withdrawal from the cricket team's upcoming tour to India.

Ace batsman Herschelle Gibbs earlier said he too was unavailable to tour after being implicated in the 2000 scandal which saw former South African captain Hansie Cronje being banned for life from the sport before tragically dying in a plane crash in 2002.

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