New Delhi:Riding on skipper Ricky Ponting's 123 runs, Australia were 254 for the loss of 4 wickets at the close of day's play in Bangalore Test.
Ponting, who averages a little over 13 against India on their soil, had vowed to break the jinx before the series commenced and he did it in style as he slammed his maiden hundred on the Indian soil in the first Test.
This was his 36th Test century and sixth against India. Putting a 166-run partnership with opener Simon Katich, he strengthened Australia's position in the match. After Katich went, Mike Hussey joined him and added 60 runs.
Indian off-spinner Harbhajan Singh continued to be Ponting's nemesis as he got rid of the Australian skipper for the ninth time in Tests. Harbhajan pitched the ball outside the off-stump; Ponting expecting it to rise, tried to sweep, but the ball kept low and hit his pad. Vice-captain Michael Clarke joined Hussey (46*) after his departure and added 28 runs for the fourth wicket but Zaheer Khan trapped him for 11 runs in the last over. Umpires called it a day with four balls to spare.
While his captain's innings remains the highlight of day, Katich's contribution was no less significant as he kept one end intact and allowed Ponting to score freely. He scored 66 runs before Ishant Sharma got him caught behind.
Katich's opening partner, Hayden had a disappointing day as he perished to Zaheer for a zilch. Put in to field first, Zaheer struck with the third delivery of his first over. A fuller delivery forced the Australian to play it and wicketkeeper MS Dhoni made no mistake behind the stumps when the ball brushed past Hayden's bat.
Highlights of the day:
India:Anil Kumble (Captain), Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, Venkatsai Laxman, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Harbhajan Singh, Zaheer Khan, Ishant Sharma.
Australia:Ricky Ponting (Captain), Matthew Hayden, Michael Clarke, Simon Katich, Michael Hussey, Shane Watson, Brad Haddin, Brett Lee, Stuart Clark, Mitchell Johnson, Cameron White.