New Delhi:Double centuries from aggressive Gautam Gambhir and charismatic VVS Laxman took India to a mammoth total of 613(dec) at the loss of 7 wickets at the end of Day 2 of the third Test against Australia at Ferozshah Kotla in New Delhi. This is India's fourth highest first innings score against the visitors from Down Under.
The word - 'Bombardment' seems to be apt for the kind of run-flow India brought in their first innings total. In reply to which, Matthew Hayden (16*) and Simon Katich (29*) scored 50/0 by the end of second day's play.
Skipper Anil Kumble waited for 'Very Very Special' Laxman to complete his second double ton against Aussies and declared the innings as soon as he embraced the feat. Amidst the ongoing retirement debates, Laxman let his bat do the talking and hopefully answered in a better way to some of his critics.
His first double ton (281) also came against the world champions in the historic Eden Gardens Test in 2001. Laxman played a crucial role in the 278-run partnership with Gautam Gambhir for the fourth wicket before Shane Watson dismissed the latter for 206 runs.
When Kotla crowd looked charmed by the VVS-Gambhir's show, Australian all-rounder Shane Watson broke the duo's rhythm and gave his side a few moments to rejoice by picking two quick wickets of local boy Gambhir and vice-captain MS Dhoni.
Retiring veteran Sourav Ganguly soon walked back after adding just five runs to his team's score. His outing was cut short by part-time bowler Simon Katich as he holed one to Ponting at short cover.
Gambhir, who scored his first double hundred, slaughtered Australian bowling to register his second ton of the Border-Gavaskar series. Watson, who had a verbal war with the Indian opener on the first day, had the last laugh when Gambhir nicked his delivery that crashed into the stumps.
Dhoni's cameo of 27 runs was put to end by Watson. He edged a delivery that was going outside the off-stump and wicket-keeper Haddin took a diving catch.
Then came in Anil Kumble who played a fine supporting role to VVS Laxman. But, Oz pacer Mitchell Johnson interrupted the Kumble-Kotla love affair by dismissing the skipper on 45. India was then at the verge of crossing 600-run mark.
Zaheer Khan (28*) added some glitter to the Laxman's innings by flicking few balls out of the boundary rope.
India's run-riot definitely depicted the positivity in the batting department. Laxman and Gambhir were the show-stealers as they leave Australia beleaguered.
Match report Day 1