Indian tail wags against Aussie challenge

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> Harbhajan Singh and Zaheer Khan fought back hard to take India's score to 313 for the loss of eight wickets at the end of third day's play in Bangalore.

Updated: October 14, 2008 11:33 IST
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New Delhi:

The Indian tail, led by Harbhajan Singh, wagged in the last session of the third day's play in Bangalore to take their score to 313 runs at the loss of eight wickets.

After India's last recognized batsman Sourav Ganguly fell, Harbhajan took up the challenge and slammed a gritty fifty. His fifth Test fifty was also his third against Australia. He also built a crucial partnership with Zaheer Khan (35) and added 80 runs for the eighth wicket. Shane Watson finally put an end to his heroics for 54 runs.

Ganguly, though, failed to complete his fifty but helped India avoid the follow-on. India needed 231 runs to save the follow-on and Ganguly, who was running out of partners, with Bhajji added 37 runs for the seventh wicket and led his side to a safer position. Mitchell Johnson, who had picked three wickets in the first session, came back in the last session to claim Ganguly as his fourth prized wicket for 47 runs. He was caught plumb by an incoming delivery.

India'a ODI skipper and wicketkeeper MS Dhoni could not score much and took 51 balls for his 9 runs. He added just 12 runs with Ganguly for the sixth wicket when part-time bowler Michael Clarke did him in. The ball pitched in line and turned to beat his bat and hit the off-stump.

Local boy Rahul Dravid could not play a bigger knock and lost his wicket to Shane Watson soon after he slammed 53rd Test fifty, his eleventh against Australia. The ball swung in and hit his pads to leave him disappointed.

Earlier, Johnson left the India's famed batting line-up reeling as he picked three wickets on Saturday morning. Johnson first removed Virender Sehwag for 45 runs as he recklessly edged a low delivery going away from him to Matthew Hayden at slips.

Next to go was Sachin Tendulkar for 13 runs. He deprived the master blaster from becoming the highest Test run scorer as he foxed him with a slow delivery. It pitched it outside the off-stump and Cameron White caught him at short cover. Tendulkar is now 63 runs short of Brian Lara's record.

VVS Laxman failed to grab the stage and went without scoring as he edged it to wicketkeeper Brad Haddin. Earlier, Brett Lee broke the 70-run stand between Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir as he dismissed the latter for 21 runs. The Indian openers resumed batting and added just two runs to their overnight score of 68 runs when a good length delivery swung in and hit Gambhir's left pad.

India had begun the chase strongly after they bundled Australia for 430 runs with the help of Zaheer Khan's 5-wicket haul on Friday. But a heavy downpour had called for the stumps with 9.5 overs left for the day.

Also read:

Match report: Day 1

Match report: Day 2

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