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Gillespie century lifts Australia to big lead

Written by: Staff

CHITTAGONG, Bangladesh, Apr 18 (Reuters) Nightwatchman Jason Gillespie scored his maiden test century to put Australia in command of the second test against Bangladesh today before heavy rain wiped out the final session on the third day.

Australia reached tea on 364 for three with paceman Gillespie (102) and Mike Hussey (93) the not out batsmen after extending their fourth-wicket partnership to 154.

The tourists, who won the first of the two-match series by three wickets last week, stretched their first innings lead to 167 after dismissing the home side for 197.

Gillespie is only the third nightwatchman to complete a century in tests and is three short of the record 105 scored by Australian Tony Mann in December 1977 against India.

He faced 300 balls, hitting 17 boundaries to register his highest score in 71 tests, eclipsing his 54 not out against New Zealand in November 2004. He averaged 15.64 in tests and his highest first class score was 58 before this match.

''I did not expect to return not out and nor did I expect to get a century. I only decided to stay out there and get as many runs as possible,'' Gillespie told reporters.

''Bangladesh bowled well, the pacers were getting bounce and the spinners were keeping low, and I am lucky to hang around.'' Australia would have been hoping to put the match completely out of Bangladesh's reach in the evening session, but persistent and heavy downpours forced the umpires to abandon play for the day before a ball could be bowled after tea.

One day before his 31st birthday, Gillespie batted with supreme confidence and capitalised on two missed chances by the hosts to reach three figures.

Mohammad Rafique, who removed the openers, was unlucky not to claim a third scalp when Gillespie was dropped by keeper Khaled Mashud on 44.

He was spilled a second time on 60 by Abdur Razzak at gully off the bowling of paceman Shahadat Hossain.

Resuming on their overnight score of 151-2, Gillespie and Ricky Ponting continued to bat solidly as their third-wicket partnership reached 90, before the skipper was run out on 52 from a direct hit by Abdur Razzak, fielding at gully.

Yesterday, Phil Jaques also scored a half-century for the visitors, the opener reaching his highest test score of 66 before he was caught by Shahriar Nafees off the bowling of Rafique.

The spinner had also removed opener Matthew Hayden for 29 on Sunday.


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