India in command as Australia struggle for survival

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Mohali, Oct 18 (UNI) Debutante spinner Amit Mishra dealt two lethal blows to leave Australia gasping for breath as the visitors were struggling at 102 for four at stumps, chasing India's huge first innings total of 469 on the second day of the second cricket Test here today.

The visitors ended the day on a non too happy note, losing their fourth wicket in the fifth ball of the last over when Amit trapped the well settled Michael Clarke leg before wicket.

Earlier, a well crafted 102 by Sourav Ganguly and his 109 run seventh wicket partnership with skipper MS Dhoni (92) propelled India to an imposing total of 469 all out.

Australia suffered a major setback in the very first over of their innings as fast bowler Zaheer Khan gave the hosts a very vital break through, clean bowling opener Mathew Hayden before he and the visitors could open their account.

Zaheer sent a good length delivery and though Hayden got it across, he failed to cover his flank. The ball clipped the pad, and hit the off stump.

Ricky Ponting joined Simon Katich and it looked that both will be able to repeat the first Test act but all the visitors hopes came crashing down when the skipper was sent trapped leg before by Ishant Sharma in the eighth over when the score was 17th.

Ishant turned his ball sharply and Ponting was beaten by the sheer pace. The ball was hitting the top of the stumps but umpire, Koertzen took time to raise his finger. The Australian skipper's contribution was just five runs though he was at the crease for 33 minutes during which he faced 23 balls.

There was no end to Australia's misery as they lost their third batsman and this time the crucial wicket of in-form opener Katich was bagged by debutante leg spinner Amit Mishra.

The spinner, who came into the side in place of the injured Anil Kumble, struck the deadly blow with his 18th ball in Test cricket.

His delivery foxed Katich who went forward to defend, but failed to cover the line and the ball hit the leg stump.

Katich made 33 while being at the crease for 100 minutes. He hit six fours during his stay during which he faced 65 balls. He along with Michael Hussey added 45 runs for the third wicket and after the opener's departure, Ausralia looked in pretty bad shape with the scoreboard reading 62 for 3.

Hussey and Clarke were involved in a 40-run fourth wicket partnership asnd when it looked that they will see the day through, Amit struck. Bowling round the wicket he looped a delivery to middle stump and that hit Clarke who just could not get his bat behind the line, and umpire Rauf had no hesitation in raising his finger.

Clarke's 23 came off 60 balls and he occupied the crease for 77 minutes hitting three boundaries.

At stumps Hussey was batting on 37 (141 minutes,97 balls, 5x4) Earlier, playing his 111th Test, Ganguly who has already announced his retirement after this four test series, scored his 16th century.

Ganguly reached his hundred in style as he smashed Cameron White past square leg. He celebrated his century by punching in the air and then hugging Dhoni.

However, he did not last long after his ton. Though he looked well set, it was a rush of blood that led to his fall as he was caught in the deep by Lee off Cameron White. He batted for 377 minutes, faced 225 balls and hit eight boundaries.

Stand in captain Dhoni however, was unlucky to have missed his century by eight runs. He was trapped leg before by debutante Peter Siddle. He was the last batsman to be dismissed. Dhoni kept the scoreboard moving at a very fast pace as he hit four sixes and eight boundaries in his 124 ball 92.

In the morning, resuming at their overnight score of 311 for 5, India added 90 runs off 26 overs losing the wicket of Ishant Sharma in the first two hours of the day's play.

The Australians earned an early break through when they got rid of night watchman Ishant Sharma in the fifth over of the day when the score was 326.

Siddle's short delivery outside the leg stump surprised Ishant who just managed to lob it straight to Katich at leg gully. The lanky Indian made nine runs.

Dhoni joined Sourav and the two faced the bowlers with utmost ease. The former skipper was some what cautious and more focused in his approach punishing the loose deliveries while the Dhoni had no such qualms as he went after the bowlers, sending them all over the park.


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