India raise a mammoth total in the Kotla Test

October 30th, 2008 - 5:05 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Oct 30 (IANS) Gautam Gambhir scored his maiden double century and V.V.S Laxman one of his special big hundreds as India piled up a massive 515 for six in their first innings at tea on the second day of the third cricket Test against Australia at the Feroz Shah Kotla stadium here Thursday.Laxman (160) and skipper Anil Kumble (16) were at the crease at tea.

India, who did not lose any wicket in the morning session, lost three in the second but kept up the pressure on the tired Australians, who are trailing 1-0 in the four-match series.

Gambhir, immediately after the lunch session, sprinted to his maiden Test double century. And the 27-year-old would savour it more as it came in front of his home crowd.

Gambhir pushed Watson for a single, punched the air and raised his bat as the dressing room rose to acknowledge his splendid knock. His 200 came off 375 balls in 536 minutes.

Nothing seemed to be working for the Aussies and in sheer desperation, skipper Ricky Ponting himself turned his arm over in the bid for a breakthrough.

Watson, who was involved in an ugly spat with Gambhir Wednesday, finally ended the left-hander’s 550 minute vigil that included 26 boundaries and one six. Gambhir’s inside edge disturbed the stumps.

Mohali centurion Sourav Ganguly (5) began on an exciting note, hitting Simon Katich for a boundary, but soon spooned a simple catch to Ponting off Katich at short cover.

Gambhir and Laxman thwarted Australia for more than five hours, scoring 278 runs off 438 balls. For Laxman, the stand with Gambhir was a record fourth over 200 runs.

With India eyeing a huge score, the stage was well-set for Mahendra Singh Dhoni to play his attacking game. And the vice-captain did just that.

His 27 came off 29 balls, laced with four boundaries and a straight six off Katich. In fact, Dhoni was severe on part-timer Katich and dispatched him for two consecutive boundaries and the six in an over.

Shoulders of the exhausted Australians dropped as streaky strokes seem to go everywhere except to the fielders’ hands. First Laxman edged Watson behind and the fast bowler grimaced to see the ball go between slip and wicket-keeper Haddin who could have gone for the catch.

Then Dhoni’s trademark slap went straight to Katich, but it went unstuck.

At the other end Laxman went about the job using his supple wrists to score on either side of the wicket. He brought his 150 off 241 balls with 16 elegant fours. Skipper Kumble also stepped up the scoring rate and struck three fours.

Earlier, Laxman scored his 13th century, sixth against Australia.

Gambhir and Laxman carried from where they left Wednesday with the stingless Australian attack failing to get their act together on the flat Kotla track. They scored briskly in the morning session adding 97 runs.

Australia had taken the new ball five overs before stumps Wednesday and if they expected to have an early breakthrough, it was not to be. The Australian fast bowlers had got a good purchase during their initial spell Wednesday, but the wicket looked a featherbed Thursday morning with Gambhir and Laxman at their best. The visitors were left doing the containing job for most of the period, bowling outside the off-stump with an eight men in run-saving positions

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