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India make strong start after Hussey high
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October 10, 2008 12:00 IST
Last Updated: October 10, 2008 17:25 IST

Michael Hussey's fine century helped Australia [Images] post a healthy 430 in their first innings on Day 2 of the second Test against India at M Chinnaswamy stadium in Bangalore on Friday.

- Scorecard Images

In reply, the Indian openers got off to a flying start, putting on 68 without loss in 18.1 overs, before rain stopped play early, with 9.5 more overs to be bowled for the day.

Virender Sehwag [Images] played in his usual attacking fashion as he raced to 43 not out from 55 deliveries, including seven boundaries. Gautam Gambhir [Images] gave him good support and was unbeaten on 20.

But the day belonged to Hussey, who scored a century in his very first Test innings in India. The left-hander played a top class knock of 146, inclusive of 15 boundaries and a six, as the Aussies consolidated after Ponting's 123 on the opening day.

For India, the pace duo of Zaheer Khan [Images] and Ishant Sharma claimed nine wickets between themselves. Zaheer finished off Australia's innings, ending up with figures of 5 for 91 in 29.5 overs, while Ishant took 4 for 77 in 30 overs.

Morning session: (79 runs, 1 wicket , 28.4 overs)

India were keen on an early wicket and Ishant provided just that when he bowled Shane Watson for 2 in the fourth over of the day. The Aussie all-rounder playing his first Test after a gap of nearly three years failed to get his bat down in time to a fast, incoming delivery and the ball clipped the off-stump.

But, Hussey, Australia's most consistent batsmen in recent years provided stiff resistance. Resuming on 49, he took two runs off Zaheer Khan in the 94th over to complete his 10th half-century in Tests, off 122 deliveries.

That landmark seemed to spur him, as he changed gears soon. He launched into Zaheer and punished him with consecutive boundaries through the off-side in the 98th over. Hussey got another freebie in Zaheer's next over when Sourav Ganguly [Images], at cover, let one slip through his legs for a boundary much to the annoyance of his captain, Anil Kumble [Images].

Haddin took some time to settle down, but once he got his eye in he looked to get along with the scoring. He announced his intentions with a lofted boundary down the ground off Kumble that also brought up the 50-run partnership for the sixth wicket as Australia progressed to 312 for 5 after 108 overs.

Hussey averages nearly 70 in Test cricket and today he gave ample proof why he is Australia's most consistent batsmen in the last few years. Whether it was a spinner or a pace bowler, none could trouble the left-hander as he kept plugging the gaps with regularity. Hussey and Haddin made sure they kept rotating the strike which frustrated the Indian bowlers and fielders, who both looked quite jaded by the end of the first session.

At the lunch interval, Australia were a healthy 333 for 5 from 118 overs. Hussey closed in on his first century on Indian soil, scoring 92 from 180 deliveries, including 10 boundaries. Haddin also looked quite comfortable, scoring 26 from 94 balls, inclusive of three boundaries.

The match appeared evenly poised at stumps on Day 1, with Australia on 254 for 4, but Hussey's innings has now slightly tilted the balance in Australia's favour.

Post-lunch session: (83 runs, 2 wickets, 28 overs)

Hussey brought up his century after lunch in a rather streaky manner. The left-hander tried to drive Ishant through the cover region, but got an inside edge which missed the leg stump and raced to the boundary.

It took the left-hander 188 deliveries and 11 boundaries to reach his ninth Test hundred, in only his 26th Test. This was his first Test innings in India, and he showed great composure and sensible approach to raise the three-figure mark.

Meanwhile, at the other end, Haddin was deceived by a slower ball from Ishant and fell for 33. He added 91 runs for the sixth wicket with Hussey before lofting a simple catch to the cover fielder to become Ishant's third victim of the innings.

Cameron White's debut was cut short when he also fell victim to Ishant's slower delivery, for 2, as Australia were reduced to 362 for 7.

But it had no impact on Hussey, who carried on batting without any bother. He even smashed Harbhajan for a huge six over mid-wicket to show how much control he was in.

Tail-ender Brett Lee [Images] also prospered in his company, showing exemplary application. He took on part-timer Virender Sehwag and slammed him for consecutive boundaries in the 138th over of the innings.

Hussey brought up Australia's 400 in the 139th over, with Hussey looking strong on 128.

 The Indians looked jaded in the middle and, it seems, they have already given up hopes of staging a comeback. No player talked with each other or tried to motivate the team; it was just too sad to watch.

Lee and Hussey brought up the 50-run partnership for the eight wicket in the 145th over as Australia progressed to 412 for 7.

The scorer brought up an interesting statistic at this stage, informing that all 50-run partnerships in the Australian innings were brought up when Kumble was bowling.

Australia went to tea on a comfortable 416 for 7 from 146 overs. Hussey was unbeaten on a fine 135 that included 14 boundaries and a six, from 262 deliveries. At the other end, Lee was also looking confident on 26, having hit four boundaries in his 56-ball knock.

Ishant was easily India's best bowler with figures of four for 77 in 30 overs, but the rest failed to deliver on the second day, letting Australia run away with the advantage.

Post-tea session: (82 runs, 3 wickets, 22 overs)

Zaheer struck in his first over after the interval, breaking through Lee's defence. But the fast bowler had done his job by then, adding 59 runs for the eighth wicket with Hussey, while scoring 27.

The wicket seemed to have pepped Zaheer, who then beat Mitchell Johnson all ends up with a reverse swinging Yorker, for 1.

Hussey fell in the same over when he inside-edged Zaheer on to his stumps four balls later as Australia were dismissed 430 in 149.5 overs.

Hussey was out after a brilliant 146 that included 15 boundaries and a six off 276 deliveries. He single-handedly anchored the Australian innings after Ricky Ponting's [Images] dismissal on Day 1. In fact, on the second day, he scored exactly hundred runs from 200 deliveries as Australia consolidated on their overnight score of 254 for 4.

Zaheer finished with commendable figures of 5 for 91 in 29.5 overs, to register his sixth five-wicket haul in his 56th Test. Ishant also bowled his heart out while claiming 4 for 77 in 30 overs and troubled every batsmen.

Harbhajan took one for 103 in 41 overs, but Kumble had a terrible outing, ending up wicketless while giving away 129 runs in 43 overs.

One wonders why India did not consider playing three seamers instead of the extra batsmen. Munaf Patel [Images] was in good form recently and would have definitely been quite handy on this track.

(India innings)

Sehwag got off the mark with a crisp boundary through the cover region in the second over of the innings by Stuart Clark. Two overs later, his Delhi [Images] team mate, Gautam Gambhir, came up with an equally impressive shot, flicking Clark through midwicket for a boundary.

Sehwag took a particular liking to Clark, slamming him for a couple of boundaries in eighth over as India raced to 35 for no loss.

Gambhir also enjoyed batting against the Aussie pacers; he hit Johnson for two boundaries in the 13th over as India raced past the 50-run mark.

India were looking good at 68 for no loss in 18.1 overs when the heavens opened up, forcing play to be called off early. Sehwag was unbeaten on a brisk 43 from 55 deliveries, while Gambhir was steady on 20 from 55 deliveries.

The Indians will hope for some bright sunshine on the third day so the batsmen can get in and make most of on the good wicket.

Complete coverage: Australia in India 2008

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