Laxman cracks century as India fight back

Updated: 04 January 2008 12:04 IST

India were 216 for 3 in their first innings in reply to Australia's 463 at close on the second day of the second cricket Test against India at the SCG.


Mitchell Johnson and Brad Hogg struck with late wickets to give Australia the upper hand after Thursday's second day of the second Test against India, just as the tourists were threatening a comeback.

India pair VVS Laxman and Rahul Dravid put on a 175-run second-wicket partnership before the home team's late strikes.

The tourists were 216 runs for three at stumps, with Sachin Tendulkar (9) and Sourav Ganguly (21) to resume on day three.

Laxman scored 109 and Dravid 53, and India was cruising in reply to Australia's 463 before Johnson and Hogg struck.

Dravid had just posted his 50th Test 50 when he slashed outside off stump at Johnson and edged to Matthew Hayden at first slip.

Dravid had just started to cut loose after another of his agonizingly cautious starts, with his 53 coming off 160 balls.

Laxman was in a more attacking frame, stroking 18 boundaries and making his third hundred in as many Tests at the Sydney Cricket Ground before driving wrist spinner Hogg to Mike Hussey at short extra cover in the next over. India had slipped from 183-1 to 185-3.

After contentious umpiring decisions and missed opportunities by India on the opening day, it was Australia's turn to be frustrated on day two.

Adam Gilchrist, No. 2 on the list of most dismissals for a Test wicketkeeper, put down two catches, missed two sharp chances and a potential stumping.

Brett Lee was denied a confident lbw appeal against Laxman when the Indian was on 15, and Johnson missed out when Hussey claimed a catch in the gully off an edge from Dravid, but the TV umpire ruled it a bumped ball.

Ricky Ponting later declined to appeal for a catch because he was not sure if the ball touched grass as it reached his hands.

Dravid, on 47, had already started walking to the pavilion when Ponting signaled he was unsure if he'd taken the catch, so the Indian opener was recalled.

The incident was the latest in this Test to raise the question of whether batsmen should walk if they believe they are out, rather than force an umpire's decision.

Ponting had a reprieve in his own innings on Wednesday, then was given out lbw to Harbhajan Singh for 55 despite hitting the ball onto his pads.

Andrew Symonds, on the other hand, admitted he should have been given out when he edged a catch to the wicketkeeper on 30, but stood his ground and was given not out.

He also got the benefit of the doubt on 48 when the TV umpire ruled that a stumping decision was too close to call.

Symonds went on to score a Test career high 162.

He ran out of partners when Anil Kumble took the last three wickets on Thursday morning after Australia had resumed at 376-7.

Symonds' stands of 173 with Brad Hogg (79) and 114 with Brett Lee (59) helped Australia out of a deep rut at 134-6 and kept alive its bid for a record equaling 16th consecutive Test win.

Laxman went to the crease with India at 8-1 when Lee bowled Wasim Jaffer (3) with an away-swinging yorker.

Desperate to make amends for his two failures in India's 337-run loss in the first Test in Melbourne last week, the 33-year-old right-hander belted 18 in one over from Johnson.

One of his four boundaries in that over was a miscued drive that was just out of Phil Jaques' reach at short cover, and he later gave a half-chance off Stuart Clark on 41 when he gloved one down legside and Gilchrist couldn't get across for the catch.

Topics : Cricket Sreesanth
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