BP XI stretches lead to 251 vs Australia

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/images/thumbnail/ver1/y/yuvraj1_ap.jpg' class='caption'> Board President's XI were 110 for two in their second innings with Jaffer (46) and Yuvraj (37) in the middle when stumps were drawn on day three.

Updated: October 04, 2008 11:15 IST
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Michael Hussey and Stuart Clark's gumption spared Australia the ignominy of follow-on but could not gloss over their teammates' frailties against spin bowling in their warm-up match against Board President's XI on Saturday.

Having reduced Australia to 218 for nine, Board President's XI had a golden opportunity to subject the visitors to an embarrassing follow-on but Hussey (126 not out) and Clark's (44) defiant association yielded 96 invaluable runs that saw Australia barely cross the cut mark (306) and finish their first innings at 314.

Board President's XI were 110 for two in their second innings with Wasim Jaffer (46) and captain Yuvraj Singh (37) in the middle when stumps were drawn, having stretched their overall lead to a healthy 251.

Stuart Clark trapped Aakash Chopra (4) early with a ball that kept surprisingly low and then S Badrinath exited playing a stroke that would haunt him for a while.

Brett Lee had banged it short and outside off-stump and Badrinath, trying to upper-cut it over slips, tickled and perished caught behind.

The youngster, picked for the first two Tests against the same opposition, failed to justify his selection with his contributions of 2 and 14 in the warm-up match.

Keen to make amends for his first innings disappointment, Yuvraj looked completely at ease and twice he hit Michael Clarke over the ropes to assert himself.

Jaffer too was his usual self, leaning effortlessly into his drives and never lowered the guard.

Earlier, Australia, with all its might and reputation, capitulated before spin twins Piyush Chawla and Pragyan Ojha who shared eight wickets between them.

As many as nine batsmen fell to the Indian spinners Yuvraj Singh dropped curtain by removing Clark which would keep the Australian think-tank worried before the Test series.

Only Hussey and Clark showed the grit which can save Australia against the likes of Anil Kumble and Harbhajan Singh when the actual Test series begins in a few days' time.

Resuming on 191 for four this morning, Australia had nine balls of smooth progress before Ojha started the rot.

Recklessness replaced his usual poise and Brad Haddin returned stumped, without bothering to add to his overnight score of 34, each of which oozed grit.

Ojha was at it again in his next over and this time Jason Krejza perished in the slip for a duck to add to his wicket-less misadventure in the match so far.

Chawla, meanwhile, was not ready to allow Ojha steal the show and the chubby leggie forced the Aussies into the rut with triple strikes to complete his five-for.

Accordingly, Brett Lee, having survived a vociferous LBW appeal in the previous delivery, was trapped plumb in front as was Peter Siddle (2). In between, Mitchell Johnson (5) was pouched in the slip.

Hussey, however, found a gritty ally in Clark, who not only hung around but also occasionally counter-attacked the spinners, hitting both over the ropes each.

The duo frustrated the Indian attack and gamely thwarted all their moves to nose along.

Hussey's serene 302-ball 126 included 14 hits to the fence besides a six, while Clark played a positive knock of 44 from 107 balls that had four boundaries and two sixes in it.

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