Katich, Krejza keep Australia in the hunt(Lead)

November 7th, 2008 - 8:28 pm ICT by IANS  

Harbhajan SinghNagpur, Nov 7 (IANS) Debutant Jason Krejza and Simon Katich kept Australia in the hunt in the fourth and last cricket Test against India at the Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium here Friday. Off-spinner Krejza claimed eight wickets to restrict India’s first-innings to 441 and the visitors ended the day at 192 for two, thanks to opener Simon Katich’s unbeaten 92.At stumps, Mike Hussey was Katich (45), having added 115 runs for the unfinished third wicket stand after they lost Matthew Hayden (16) and skipper Ricky Ponting (24) cheaply. The Australians did well to reduce the gap to 252 runs.

The Australians owe it to Krejza for bringing the Indian innings to an abrupt end in the post-lunch session after Sourav Ganguly and skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni played out the first session when they looked like posting a huge total. He became the eighth bowler to bag eight wickets on debut, fourth in the first innings, but in the process he also conceded 218 runs, the highest by a bowler in Test history.

Australia, trailing 0-1 in the series and in a must-win situation to retain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, started the run chase with now holds barred. Dhoni gambled opening the attack with off-spinner Harbhajan Singh and Zaheer Khan with the new ball on the turning track. However, the breakthrough came through a run out, a brilliant throw by Murali Vijay from mid-on terminating Hayden’s innings.

Ponting, too, began aggressively, but Harbhajan got him yet again with one that spun a long way to clip the bails and it was his 300th Test wicket.

Unmindful of the reverses, Katich and Hussey batted freely to keep Australia in the hunt.

Krejza’s eight for 215 runs from 43.5 overs brought the Australians back into the game. The only other bowler to concede more than 200 runs in an innings was West Indian Omari Banks, who gave away 204 in 40 overs for three wickets against Australia in 2003.

Krejza suffered this morning at the hands of Sourav Ganguly and captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni during their 119-run sixth-wicket stand and they were unseparated in the morning session. Ganguly, playing his last Test match, scored a brilliant 85 while Dhoni made a flamboyant 56.

Even though he was highly expensive, Krejza’s bag included the important wickets of Rahul Dravid, Virender Sehwag, V.V.S. Laxman, Dhoni and Ganguly.

Resuming at the overnight score of 311/5, Ganguly and Dhoni batted cautiously in the first hour before opening out to play some fine shots.

The boundaries were hard to come on the big ground, but brilliant running between the wickets made up for the big shots. There were six triples and 11 doubles in the century-run stand, mostly urged on by Dhoni.

Former India captain Ganguly played well with excellent footwork against the spinners and got to his 35th Test half-century when he stepped down the track and lifted Krejza for a four over the mid-off.

Ganguly was at his best after he completed his 35th fifty as he drove fluently and flicked off the pads. The flashes of vintage Ganguly were there as he jumped out to hoist Krejza for a six, his 57th in Tests.

Dhoni was aggressive, and pushed Ganguly to take quick runs to rotate strike and put pressure on the tired Australians.

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