Katich century takes Australia to 231/3 (Lunch Report)

November 8th, 2008 - 2:12 pm ICT by IANS  

Harbhajan SinghNagpur, Nov 8 (IANS) Australia scored at a painstaking pace in the first session and riding on a century from Simon Katich reached 231 for three in the first innings, chasing India’s 441, at lunch on the third day of the fourth and final Test at the Vidarbha Cricket Association (VCA) Stadium here Saturday.Resuming at the overnight score of 189/2, Australia scored just 42 runs from 24 overs. When the umpires called lunch, Mike Hussey was batting on 64 and vice-captain Michael Clarke was on one.

Runs were hard to come as Indian bowlers repeatedly bowled outside the off stump, and delayed the introduction of the spinners. Australia had to force the pace and Katich (102) batted watchfully for his fifth Test hundred. But India’s persistence with pace paid off when he fell lbw to Zaheer Khan shortly before lunch ending his 155-run third-wicket stand with Hussey.

But Katich should thank the Indian fielders, who denied him of an opportunity at the same venue four years back to get his century. When he was on 94, Ishant Sharma forced him to play away from the body and Rahul Dravid spilled an easy chance at first slip. Four years back here, Katich had missed a century by just one run.

With eight fielders on the off side, Ishant kept bowling wide of off stump and Katich patiently let several of them go before getting to his hundred with a delicate dab through the gully for four.

Ishant and Zaheer were given extended spells and the first hour, with 13 overs of pace, yielded just 25 runs. It was only after 18 overs that captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni decided to replace Ishant with Harbhajan Singh.

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