India make steady start after restricting Australia to 333

Zaheer Khan claimed four wickets for 77 runs from his 31 overs Getty Images

By Ashish Shukla

Melbourne: Dec 27, 2011

Australia’s lower-order batsmen put up a stiff resistance against Indian attack as the hosts finished their first innings at 333, on the second day of the first Test, being played at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

India reached six without loss in the three overs that Virender Sehwag (4 batting) and Gautam Gambhir ( 2 batting) negotiated in the pre-lunch session.

Australia’s tail wagged considerably and despite a couple of early blows in the second morning by pace speahead Zaheer Khan saw them bat 25 minutes prior to the lunch session.

Overnight batsmen Brad Haddin (27) and Peter Siddle (41) didn’t last long but the ninth wicket pair of James Pattinson (18 not out) and Ben Hilfenhaus (19) added 27 runs but more importantly frustrated the Indian bowlers for 45 minutes.

Zaheer (4/77) made his presence felt almost immediately at the start of the day, when Haddin perished trying to drive uppishly as Sehwag took a nice low catch at the gully.

Haddin had earlier been lucky in the over when he sparred at a Zaheer delivery which flew off his edge and went for qa boundary between the ‘keeper and slips.

Zaheer and his younger partner Umesh Yadav, kept things quiet for batsmen in the middle before the veteran left-arm seamer struck again, bowling a beautiful late outswinger which took the edge of Siddle’s bat and was comfortably held by Dhoni.

Australia, resuming at 277 for 6, were now 291 for 8 within first eight overs. Haddin batted for an hour and half and hit just a four in his 27 runs from 70 balls while Siddle lasted for more than two hours contributing an useful 41 runs from 99 balls which included four boundaries.

From then on, Indians once again lost the plot and Hilfenhaus’ gutsy batting was a bounus for the Australians.

The No 10 batsman hit the first delivery he faced from Zaheer through the covers for four and later steered and lofted Zaheer for two more boundaries.

Pattinson, at the other end, was rock solid in defence and showed a technique which would have done a top-order player proud. The left-hander though hit a peach of a stroke off Ishant Sharma which went screaming straight down the ground.

Off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin (3/81) was introduced half an hour before lunch and the lanky youngster induced Hilfenhaus into going for a big hit and was holed out in the deep by Virat Kohli.

Hilfenhaus made 19 off 37 balls in three quarter of an hour and slammed three fours.

Ashwin made it a twin strike for him from the morning session when Nathan Lyon (6) tried to sweep him and was bowled round the corner. Pattinson remained not out on a very impressive 18 off 54 balls from 86 minutes of batting with two fours. (PTI)

Brief Scores: Australia 333 (Ed Cowan 68, Ricky Ponting 62, Peter Siddle 41, David Warner 37, Michael Clarke 31; Zaheer Khan 4 for 77, R Ashwin 3 for 81, Umesh Yadav 3 for 106) lead India 6 for no loss (Virender Sehwag 4*, Gautam Gambhir 2*) by 327 runs.

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