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Harbhajan dents Aussie fight-back

Harbhajan Singh claimed the wickets of Damien Martyn and Jason Gillespie to put India back in control of the second Test against Australia at tea on the fourth day in Chennai.

Harbhajan’s success ended a frustrating period for the home side after Marytn had steered golden goose Australia back into contention with an impressive 104.

At tea, the Australians were 6 for 290, an overall lead of 149. Michael Clarke was not out on 4 with Darren Lehmann unbeaten on 2. For up to date scores, visit our live scorecard.

After resuming this morning at 4 for 150, Martyn and nightwatchman Gillespie (26) added 80 runs in the opening session, the highlight of which was Marytn’s 18th Test half-century.

The Western Australian assumed responsibility for the Australian innings and showed great maturity in his choice of scoring shots.

He found the boundary with ease and frustrated the Indian spin duo of Anil Kumble and Singh, who were looking for an early breakthrough.

Gillespie was superb in providing support to Martyn at the non-striker’s end, and was not fazed when the Indian fieldsmen crowded him at the crease on the bowling of Harbhajan.

The Australians reached lunch at 4 for 230.

Gillespie, however, had a lucky escape shortly after the break when Harbhajan put down a difficult caught and bowled chance. The spin bowler dived to his left, but was only able to get his fingertips to the ball.

The Australians continued to dig in and Martyn eventually brought up his century late in the second session, hitting Kumble for six over long off.

But the Western Australian’s joy was shortlived when he was dismissed five overs later, edging a Harbhajan delivery to Rahul Dravid in the slips.

The breakthrough unsettled Gillespie, who was dismissed four balls later in the same fashion. Gillespie’s innings of 26 came from 165 balls.

New batsmen Clarke and Lehmann survived a nervous few overs to steer Australia safely to the tea break.

Though happy to be back on top, Indian captain Sourav Ganguly would be less than impressed with the performance of young wicket-keeper Parthiv Patel, whose poor form behind the stumps continued this morning.

For the second time in the match, Patel gave Australia five penalty runs when the ball slipped out of his gloves and hit the helmet lying on the ground behind him.

The 19-year-old has so far dropped three catches in the match. He did, however, redeem himself with a half-century in the Indian innings.


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