New Delhi:In-form Gautam Gambhir (149) and star batsman VVS Laxman(54) built a solid 139-run partnership as India piled up 296 runs at the cost of 3 wickets on Day 1 of the 3rd Test against Australia at Ferozshah Kotla in New Delhi.
Gambhir was one run short of completing well-placed 150-run mark. He held the fort since morning and was unmoved by the two early blows to India's top-order.
Virender Sehwag looked sloppy with his bat and was trapped by Brett Lee as early as in second over of the first session.
Rahul Dravid joined Gambhir at the crease but he could put up only 11 runs on the board before he was completely zapped by the Australian pacer Mitchell Johnson and got caught by Hayden at the first slip.
India looked weak in the opening session but then came in the master blaster Sachin Tendulkar and took India's score to 67 for 2 at lunch along with Gambhir.
Tendulkar lived upto the expectations of his Kotla fans with his breezy 68-run knock as he accompanied relaxed Gambhir at the other end. India were at 158 when the master blaster gave away his wicket to Johnson as Haddin superbly collected the thick outside edge from him at the brink of tea.
Gambhir soon completed his second century of the series and third of his Test career with a stylish six off Shane Watson.
As the end of day's play drew closer, verbal volley could well be noticed between Simon Katich and Gautam Gambhir. The Aussie bowler was supposedly unhappy due to some unknown reason.
While at the other end, VVS Laxman played an effective supporting role to Gambhir as the middle-order batsman raised his smooth 36th Test fifty.
Indian struggled with batting in the initial overs when Anil Kumble, who missed the 2nd Test due to shoulder-injury, won the toss and elected to bat. But, Gambhir soon came to the rescue and laid a solid foundation for an efficient Indian innings.
India: Gautam Gambhir, Virender Sehwag, Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, VVS Laxman, MS Dhoni, Anil Kumble, Zaheer Khan, Ishant Sharma, Amit Mishra.
Australia: Simon Katich, Matthew Hayden, Ricky Ponting, Michael Hussey, Michael Clarke, Shane Watson, Brad Haddin, Cameron White, Brett Lee, Mitchell Johnson, Stuart Clark.