Australia recover after Zaheer’s first over strike (Lunch report)

October 9th, 2008 - 1:39 pm ICT by IANS  

Bangalore, Oct 9 (IANS) Australia did remarkably well to recover from Matthew Hayden’s third-ball dismissal to reach 75 for one at lunch on day one of the first cricket Test against India at the M Chinnaswamy stadium here Thursday.Ricky Ponting, playing his 200th Test innings, was at sea at the start but regained composure to remain unbeaten with 41, his second highest score on Indian soil, following his 60 at the Eden Gardens in 1998. Giving the Australian skipper company was a gritty Simon Katich with 28 runs to his credit.

Australia were in for a rude shock after Ponting had opted to bat on a balmy morning when Zaheer Khan had the prolific Hayden nicking to Dhoni.

But if India had harboured hopes of running through the top order on a wicket which initially encouraged carry, they were thwarted by the resolute approach of Ponting and Katich.

As in Australia eight months ago, Ponting struggled against Ishant Sharma, the lanky fast bowler hitting the diminutive Tasmanian on his pads repeatedly. But as the crowd gathered in the stands, Ponting gained in confidence, an off drive and square drive off Ishant manifesting that he was back in his elements.

The advent of Harbhajan Singh and Anil Kumble too had no bearing on the stodgy Aussie pair as they dug in to set the stage for what could be a crucial partnership in the match.

As expected India dropped Munaf Patel and went in with only four specialist bowlers on a wicket which is expected to assist the spinners as the match goes on. Australia chose to rely on their fast bowlers - Brett Lee, Mitchell Johnson and Stauart Clark - to deliver the goods while capping Victorian batsman-leg-spinner Cameron White.

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