Chennai: India held the advantage in a tantalisingly poised second cricket test against Australia by the close of the third day's play today. Trailing by 141 runs in the first innings, the visitors reshuffled their batting order and managed to wipe the deficit, reaching 150 for 4 at close at the M A Chidambaram stadium today. First innings hero Anil Kumble removed the two Aussie openers in quick succession before clean bowling the dangerous Adam Gilchrist in the penultimate over of the day to swing the momentum in his team's favour. Valiant knock Gilchrist promoted himself to the number three position and the move seemed to pay dividends as he led the Australian fightback with a 49-run knock before Kumble struck. Kumble's dismissal of the Australian captain might have tilted the scales slightly in India's favour. Indians would now be looking to wrap up the Australian innings as quickly as possible tomorrow as even a target of 150 could pose problems for them on a deteriorating track. Damien Martyn (19 not out) combined with his captain to pitch in some valuable runs with sharp running between the wickets. Hayden (39) and Langer (19) provided the visitors with the brisk start needed as they put on a half-century stand for the first wicket for the second time in the match. Kumble broke their association immediately after tea when Langer edged a delivery to Rahul Dravid in the slips. Hayden failed once again with his sweep shot and skied a top spinner from Kumble to Laxman at midwicket. Zaheer Khan bowled with intensity he had not shown before in the series and a searing reverse swing trapped Simon Katich (9) plumb in front. Sizeable lead Earlier, India relied on a record 102-run seventh wicket partnership between Mohammad Kaif (64) and Parthiv Patel (54) to take a vital 141-run first innings lead before being bowled out for 376, 40 minutes after the lunch break. Kaif gave a good account of himself on test recall after three years while Patel once again proved to be a thorn in the opposition's skin with his cheeky innings. He came back to bat for the second time with a runner after retiring hurt due to dehydration. However, he was run out going for a single. Warne's five-wicket haul Before this, Shane Warne picked up three wickets to restrict India's lead. First he sent back overnight batsman Parthiv Patel for 54. The world's highest wicket taker then struck two quick blows as he bowled Anil Kumble for 20 and then took a return catch to dismiss Harbhajan Singh for 5. Under energy sapping conditions, which forced two drinks break in the evening session and an extended one in the morning, Warne (6 for 125) claimed his first five-wicket haul in India. It was his 28th career five-wicket haul and put him third behind Muttiah Muralitharan (44) and Sir Richard Hadlee (37) in the all-time list. (With PTI inputs).
Topics : Cricket