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Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Australia ride their luck to establish upper hand: Second Test Day 1

Australia 7/376 (A Symonds 137 no, B Hogg 79, R Ponting 55, R P Singh 4/108) 89 ov

Australia won the first day on points by making the most of their own pugnacity and the good fortune which, courtesy of several umpiring errors, came their way.

At 6/134 this looked improbable. R P Singh dismissed both openers cheaply and while Ricky Ponting was fortunate not to be given out to a leg side catch at the wicket off Saurav Ganguly, he added 92 with Mike Hussey before Harbijan Singh had him lbw for 55/69b. Hussey was caught by Sachin Tendulkar at slip off Singh without further addition to the total, while Michael Clarke and Adam Gilchrist followed soon afterwards. The 4/15 collapse brought back memories of
Melbourne 2006 when Australia plunged to 5/84, before Andrew Symonds and Matthew Hayden turned that game by adding 279 for the 6th wicket.

And again today Andrew Symonds was there when a fighting innings was needed. This time his partner was Brad Hogg, with whom he added 173 for the 7th wicket before Hogg fell to Kumble for 79/102b(10x4), an innings which mixed polished strokeplay with robust hitting. It was
easily Hogg's best Test score, but shouldn't have come across as complete surprise to those who know that he's mad a lot of runs in domestic cricket

Symonds was lucky - very lucky - not to be given out caught behind early in his innings ( a poor decision by umpire Bucknor) and was probably stumped on another occasion though the third umpire thought otherwise. That said, his innings grew in command as it progressed. Initially Hogg was the dominant partner but once Symonds found the measure of the pitch and the opposition bowling, which started to wilt later in the day, he moved more into his one day mode, finishing the day not out on 137 from 73b (17x4, 2x6).

Of the Indian bowlers R P Singh put India in the box seat with four of the first six wickets to fall. He didn't bowl badly thereafter but didn't quite know how to respond to Australia's belligerence . Harbijan Singh bowled extremely well early on but seemed to lose heart later as the standard of both the team's fielding and his own bowling slipped.

After Hogg's dismissal Brett Lee joined Symonds. The two have so far added 69 for the 7th wicket, and look good enough to continue tomorrow unless the Indians can regroup mentally and put their bad luck and some - Tendulkar excepted - ordinary fielding behind them. Otherwise we could be looking at something which seemed most unlikely half way through today's play: a repeat of the First Test.


Cricinfo Bulletin
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