Bangalore, Oct 11 (UNI) Harbhajan Singh (54) and Zaheer Khan (35 batting) raised a great fightback, adding 80 runs for the eighth wicket, after the frontline batsmen failed, to take the Indian first innings score to 313 for 8 in reply to Australia's first innings score of 430 on the third day of the first Test being played at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium here today.
The famed Indian batting line up, barring Dravid who hit a half century, failed to impress with Sehwag, Sachin and Laxman making their exits through tame dismissals.
Mitchell Johnson, who wrecked the top order, claimed four wickets for 62, scalping top batsmen like Sehwag, Tendulkar, Laxman and Ganguly.
Down in the dumps at 232 for seven, Harbhajan and Zaheer joined to lift the Indian innings with some brave batting. The off-spinner inspired his partner enough and the two batted for 97 minutes to take the fight to the opposition camp.
Harbhajan stood out even as he magnificently pulled Brett Lee to the mid wicket fence after Ponting opted for the second new ball in the 87th over. He struck another boundary off the next ball which seemed to inspire Zaheer who smashed two stunning boundaries off Watson the very next over.
The two tailenders hardly looked perturbed by the second new ball which was opted by Ponting in the 87th over. They took the score to 313 for eight when Harbhajan got out giving the second catch of the innings to Haddin off Watson.
Earlier, despite the Indian openers providing the team with a good start last evening by scoring 68 without being separated, the third morning proved to be a disaster for the home team.
After Gambhir fell to Brett Lee leg before to a doubtful decision, Johnson ran through the top order removing Sehwag, Tendulkar and Laxman. This left Dravid and Ganguly to repair the damage as the two added 49 runs for the fifth wicket. Ganguly, despite being hit by a bouncer on the helmet by a Lee bouncer and a bleeding nose following a collision with Cameron White, made a hard fought 47 but missed a deserving half century when Johnson trapped him with a sharp in dipper to claim his fourth wicket.
He added 37 crucial runs with Harbhajan that saw India go past the follow on figure but was soon dismissed.
Two doubtful leg before decisions that costed Gambhir and Dravid's wickets mounted further pressure on the Indians.
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