Laxman’s half- century dashes Australia’s hopes of victory (Tea-report)

November 2nd, 2008 - 4:57 pm ICT by IANS  

Sachin TendulkarNew Delhi, Nov 2 (IANS) V.V.S. Laxman scored a chanceless half-century to dash Australia’s hopes of an unexpected victory on the fifth day of the third cricket Test at Feroz Shah Kotla stadium here Sunday.At the tea break, India were 193 for five with Laxman (55) and Sourav Ganguly (22) at the crease. The match heads towards a draw with India leading by 229 runs.

First innings double-century-maker Laxman shared 52-run stand with Sachin Tendulkar (47) and an unfinished 48 runs partnership with Ganguly to end Australia’s hopes of having a crack at the Indian lower order in the second session.

Tendulkar and Laxman had no trouble in negotiating the Australian attack that grabbed two wickets in the morning session and pegged the Indian on the backfoot.

As he neared his second fifty of the match, Tendulkar uncharacteristically gave his wicket to Cameron White, steering the ball to slip-catcher, but by then India were in the safe waters.

Thereafter, Laxman and Ganguly batted freely on a track that looked good for strokeplay.

Laxman raced to his 50 with a cover boundary off Michael Clarke. His 93-ball innings had seven fours.

Ganguly smacked leg-spinner White, who has been largely unimpressive on the tour, for an overhead six.

Earlier, Australia grabbed two important wickets in the morning session to leave India reeling at 99 for four.

After scoring a huge 613 for 7 declared in the first innings, India might never have thought that they would have to struggle to save the Test on the last day. But their shoddy work in the field over the last two days got them into a hole.

First, India allowed Australia to crawl back into the match with their sloppy catching and now they appeared to be messing it up with overcautious approach. To be fair to the batsmen, even the Australians were not willing to attack and their bowling was a bit negative at times.

India lost Gautam Gambhir (36) and Rahul Dravid (11) in the first session.

Dravid, who is going through the worst form in his career, became a Lee victim. A fast in swinging delivery kissed Dravid’s bat before crashing into stumps.

Tendulkar broke the shackles with a couple of fours.

Mitchell Johnson then trapped Gambhir, who was hardly convincing in his 107-ball and 170 minutes stay, though the replays cleared showed that umpire Aleem Dar erred in not seeing the ball clearly going down the legside.

Australia tried every tactics in their book to unnerve Indian batsmen and Johnson resorted to sledging at Laxman.

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