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3rd Test: India v Australia at Chennai, 18-22 Mar 2001
Anand Vasu & Santhosh S

Australia 2nd innings: Lunch - Day 4, Tea Day 4 , Stumps - Day 4, End of Innings,
India 1st innings: Tea - Day 2, Stumps - Day 2, Lunch - Day 3, Tea - Day 3, Stumps - Day 3, End of innings,
Australia 1st innings: Lunch - Day 1, Tea - Day 1, Stumps - Day 1, Lunch - Day 2,
Pre-game: Day 1: Toss,
India 2nd innings: Lunch - Day 5, Tea - Day 5, End of match,


INDIA WIN BORDER-GAVASKAR TROPHY

India v Australia at Chennai. There's some strange chemistry working here. One week after a Tied Test rematch with two runs to win, two wickets in hand and another Sikh at the crease. An inswinging yorker from Glenn McGrath confidently steered through the off side by Harbhajan Singh. Australia's 31 year old barren run in India continues. India win but only just and carry home the Border-Gavaskar Trophy 2-1. Samir Dighe (22 not out) kept his nerve in the end with wickets falling around him to lead India to a famous victory. Hats off to Australia too for a spendid fightback. In the end, as always, cricket was the winner. A full report of the last day's play will be available shortly.



AWESOME AUSSIES MAKE STRONG FIGHTBACK

Fans of cricket can't ask for a better finish to a hard fought series like this. After tea on the final day, the game can still go either way. Chasing 155 for victory India are 132/5. VVS Laxman, continuing the good work is unbeaten on 65. Sameer Dighe with five to his name is Laxman's partner. But how did things come to such a pass? A combination of bad shot selection from the Indians and the relentless battering of the Aussies saw the game come right back into Australia's hands after it was all but lost.

At 76/1 India were coasting along merrily towards the target. A needless mix up between Laxman and Ramesh saw the Tamil Nadu southpaw stranded midpitch. Ramesh made 25. Sachin Tendulkar played a couple of cracking shots against Warne, first pulling and then cutting him to the fence off consecutive balls. When Tendulkar got comfortable against the spinners Steve Waugh brought Jason Gillespie into the attack. Bowling with fire, Gillespie let rip a menacing delivery from around the wicket. Before Tendulkar could sway out of the way the ball flew off the glove to Mark Waugh at slip. Much more was expected of Tendulkar than his eventual 17.

Sourav Ganguly, the Indian captain needed to play a sensible knock, batting around Laxman. Instead, the Bengal left hander slashed hard at Gillespie and was given a reprieve when the ball flew through the slip cordon. Off the next ball, Ganguly tried that again and the result was different. Mark Waugh pouched the catch and Ganguly was gone. Rahul Dravid, coming in with the score on 117/4 departed just five runs later, trying to drive Miller through the on side. The resultant leading edge was well caught by a diving Steve Waugh at mid off.

Sameer Dighe then joined Laxman and played out the bowling carefully till tea. Laxman, cutting, driving and pulling with gay abandon was on 65 and the match and indeed the series depends on him. Having set up the series with his 281 in Kolkata, it's only fitting that the responsibility of completing the job is his.



DAS FALLS AS INDIA REACH 23/1 AT LUNCH

India began their effort to chase 155 in a smooth manner. Sadagoppan Ramesh timed the ball sweetly through the offside even as Das played second fiddle. This opening pair complement each other ideally for India. While Ramesh is fire and brimstone Das is calm at one end. Glenn McGrath and Jason Gillespie steamed in, doing their best to dislodge the opening partnership. Bowling a good line and length, the Aussie fast bowling pair managed to keep things quiet, till Das committed a blunder.

Attempting to hook a rising delivery from McGrath, Das was a touch late on the ball. Even as the ball ballooned up into the air for McGrath to catch himself, Das 9 (35m 17b 2x4) walked back to the pavilion. VVS Laxman joined Ramesh out in the middle and the pair took India through to lunch without further damage. At 23/1 India still need 132 for victory and have 9 wickets in hand.



HARBHAJAN CLAIMS EIGHT, SETS UP VICTORY PLATFORM

The few Aussie spectators huddled together in the stands adjoining the press box went deathly quiet in the eighth over of the final day. The man they turned to, Steven Rodger Waugh was back in the cool confines of the pavilion. Beaten by the turn and bounce of a Harbhajan Singh offspinner, the Australian captain edged the ball onto pad and to forward short leg. At 246/8 the Indians looked to close in for the kill. Steve Waugh's 47 gave Australia a glimmer of hope, but might prove to be too little at the end of the day.

Jason Gillespie gloved Harbhajan to backward short leg and the young Punjab offspinner had seven wickets in an innings once more. Gillespie, sent ahead of Colin Miller because of the way the fast bowler has played spinners on this tour spent 46 minutes at the crease for his two runs.

Glenn McGrath, attempting to defy the Indians some more, joined Miller in the middle. Harbhajan Singh however was unstoppable. Despite some quick scoring (11 off 13 balls) from McGrath, Australia ended on just 264 when Miller was dismissed. Padding up to the spinners is never a good idea at the best of times. When Harbhajan Singh has noted that people are padding up, the lad is wily enough to slip a straighter one in every now and then.

Harbhajan Singh with 8/84 in the second innings ended with match figures of 15/217 set up the platform for India's victory charge. India need 155 off a minimum 70 overs to be bowled. Sadagoppan Ramesh and Shiv Sunder Das will begin India's reply.



HARBHAJAN SINGH STRIKES AGAIN AS AUSSIES SLUMP TO 241/7

When the Australians next come to India they are going to dread the last session of play on any given day. While the visitors seem to do well in the first two sessions of play, the latter part of the day has been their undoing. Coming back onto the field after tea with the score on 159/4 the visitors managed to hold out against the spinners for a time. The brothers Waugh got into a good groove and played with caution. It was however, not to last long enough. Wickets falling at regular intervals put Australia back. Ending the day on 241/7, Australia are 131 runs ahead with three wickets in hand and one day to play. The wrecker in chief? Who else - Harbhajan Singh with 5/82. The Punjab off spinner has improved by leaps and bounds and is proving to be the nemesis of the Australians.

Mark Waugh got into a very good rhythm against Sachin Tendulkar, bowling his leg breaks from the V Pattabhiraman Gate End. Although Tendulkar managed to get a fair bit of turn from the rough, Mark Waugh steadily grew comfortable. Despite mastering Tendulkar's leg breaks, Waugh fell to the guile of Harbhajan Singh. The manner of his dismissal was not new in any respect. Harbhajan Singh tossed up an off break on middle and off that gripped the wicket and spun into the right hander. Going back and across Mark Waugh turned the ball round the corner. Rahul Dravid at backward short leg, showed superb reflexes, plucking the ball out of the air. Mark Waugh had made 57 (142 mins, 139 balls, 7 fours), the highest by an Australian at that point.

Ricky Ponting was under pressure the moment he came on. Harbhajan Singh bowled a good tight over to him and there was a bit of nervous tension in the air. Seeking to hit his way out of the rut Ponting came down the wicket and lofted Harbhajan Singh for a superb six over long on. However, the shot he played was one of desperation more than dominance. Once again though, Harbhajan proved to be too hot to handle. Prodding at a ball that bounced a bit more than he expected Ponting gloved the ball to Dravid at forward short leg. The 11 that Ponting managed was by far his best score in Test innings this series.

Steve Waugh though continued to prove that he is the man for crisis situations. Unbeaten on a doughty 43 the Australian skipper was partnerless after the last ball of the day.

Padding up to Harbhajan Singh, Warne was rapped on the back leg right in front of the wickets. The finger went up and Australia had lost their seventh wicket on 241.



AUSTRALIA FALTER AS INDIA SCALP QUICK WICKETS

The session after lunch proved to belong to India after all. Perhaps it's the heat that's getting to the Aussies, perhaps the pressure. On a wicket that is not yet doing anything like a fourth day wicket should not do, the visitors lost wickets at regular intervals. Having gone into lunch without losing a wicket, the Australians will be disappointed at the way events unfolded. At tea, Australia were 159/4, adding 70 runs in the session for the loss of four wickets. Mark Waugh with 37 to his name and skipper Steve Waugh (batting 10) will come out after tea to face yet another challenging session.

Matthew Hayden was the first to go, playing a shot he has employed with great success. Heaving Nilesh Kulkarni towards midwicket, Hayden departed as Zaheer Khan running in from the fence completed a good catch. Hayden had made 35, and was Kulkarni's second wicket in Test cricket, coming 589 balls after, the Mumbai left arm spinner picked his maiden wicket.

Adam Gilchrist was promoted to number three, a move that was a big gamble in the best of circumstances. Having scored just one run in his previous three Test innings, Gilchrist could not have been in a positive frame of mind. Padding up to a ball from Harbhajan Singh that did not turn as he expected, the Australian stumper was trapped plumb in front for one.

Michael Slater looked like he might be coming out of a lean patch. Stroking the ball confidently early on, Slater failed to come good. Edging Harbhajan Singh to VVS Laxman at slip, Slater departed for 48 and Australia were 93/3.

While the wickets fell at one end, Mark Waugh sealed up the other end. Stroking the ball well around the park Mark Waugh played with soft hands and negated the spinners. In doing so Mark Waugh also reduced the chances of a ball carrying to the close in fielders even if it went off the edge.

Justin Langer, coming in at number four began by playing well within himself. When the ball was there to be hit, Langer lofted well, his six over midwicket off Kulkarni a case in point. However Langer too could not go on, falling to the Harbhajan-Laxman combination. Langer's 21 propped up the Australian total but clearly did not do enough.



SLATER, HAYDEN BEGIN AUSTRALIAN RESPONSE

In this Australian team you cannot find two cricketers who have had more contrasting tours of India than the opening pair. Matthew Hayden came to India as an effective batsman but a bit vulnerable against spin bowling. Almost never failing, Hayden has batted with panache taking on anything the spinners can dish out. Michael Slater came to India with a reputation of being a flashy strokemaker, someone who would blaze a trail and give Australia the initiative early on. Failing with the bat, Slater has also compounded his woes by getting into an unnecessary fracas over an umpiring decision. In their own disparate yet equally effective ways Slater and Hayden were unbeaten on 34 apiece when lunch was called. Australia were 69 for no loss after 16 overs, still behind by 41.

On the fourth day of the final Test at Chennai, Australia came in to bat almost an hour after play started. The tactics the Indians would use was clear early on. Zaheer Khan bowled a short spell of 4-0-13-0 from the pavilion end to kick off proceedings. Sourav Ganguly, sharing the new ball, bowled just one over himself, bringing on the off spinner in the 4th over of the day. Harbhajan Singh, taking a bit of time to settle into a good line and length was hit for a clean six over long on by Slater. Hayden for his part was more cautious, working the ball away off his toes with ease. Slater's belligerence continued when Nilesh Kulkarni was introduced a few overs later. The Mumbai left arm spinner is known for bowling long spells and drying up the runs at one end. None of that to begin with. Using his feet well, Slater tonked Kulkarni into the stands over long on.

The Australians have made a positive start to their second innings. However, the lunch break will be used for more than food intake by the Indian team. One of the senior cricketers will sit Harbhajan down and have a chat with him. No doubt there will be a small walk back to the basics for the Punjab off spinner. Although not bowling badly so far, Harbhajan has failed to apply himself to the task at hand.

The Indian bowlers will be a different bunch after lunch. In their turn, all the Australians need to do, is continue in the same vein.



BAHUTULE, KULKARNI EXTEND INDIAN LEAD TO THREE FIGURES

Beginning the day with just one wicket in hand is never the easiest thing to do. Especially if both batsmen at the crease are tail-enders. Sairaj Bahutule, coming in to bat late on the third evening was very clear in his mind that he was playing out the day. Unlike some of the batsmen who followed him out to the middle the Mumbai legspinner did not attempt any ambitious strokes. For company Bahutule had Mumbai team mate Nilesh Kulkarni. Overnight on 480/9 there really was very little the Indian thinktank could expect of this pair.

For the Australians, it was important to dismiss the Indians quickly. Already tired after spending time out in the sultry Chennai heat, Jason Gillespie and Glenn McGrath steamed in first thing in the morning. Applying themselves well, Bahutule and Kulkarni played with a straight bat when they had to play at the ball. At most times though, the ball was safely left alone.

When Bahutule slashed a short ball from McGrath past the second slip fielder to the third man fence the Indian lead was extended to three figures. That is an interesting psychological barrier and one that the visitors would dearly have liked to deny the Indians. Colin Miller, bowling his offspinners from the pavilion end learnt quickly that even Indian tail-enders relish playing off spin. Getting his foot cleanly to the pitch of the ball, Bahutule sent a ball from Miller high, wide and handsome over long off. Following the huge six with a delicate late cut that yielded three, Bahutule signaled his intent clearly.

After enjoying success with the very first ball delivered yesterday, the Australians had to wait 11 overs before breaking through. Kulkarni was trapped lbw by Miller and the Indian innings ended on 501, another milestone crossed. Bahutule (21 not out, 88 mins, 58 balls, 1 four, 1 six) and Kulkarni (4) helped India get to a lead of 110.



TENDULKAR CRACKS HIS 25TH TEST CENTURY

India resumed at 378/4 after the tea break and lost five wickets for 102 runs to finish the day at 480/9, a lead of 89 runs. The highlight of the session was Tendulkar getting to his 25th Test hundred in grand style.

Dravid struck the first ball after the tea break from McGrath for a four and got to his well deserved half century. Tendulkar struck a four off Miller and got to 81, and then in a moment of madness, lofted Miller to the deep mid-wicket fence, Slater came running in and misjudged the ball completely to make a mess of the catch. Tendulkar was given a new lease of life. It just rounded up Slater's miserable performance on this tour.

Dravid, who is better known for his technique and temperament, lofted Gillespie straight over his head for a six. Dravid was on 80 when Gilchrist failed to hold on to a diving catch down the leg side off Gillespie, who was putting together a good spell.

Tendulkar had the spectators on their feet when he lofted Miller for a massive straight six to post his century. Soon, Dravid (81) was caught behind by Gilchrist off Gillespie to reduce India to 453/5. The two batsmen had put together a partnership of 169 runs for the fifth wicket. Dravid struck a six and a dozen fours in his attractive knock that lasted 140 balls.

Tendulkar changed gears and started to punish the Aussie bowling, flaying Warne for three fours in an over and looking to go for a big score. Gillespie who bowled with a big heart in hot and humid conditions had Tendulkar (126) edge one to Gilchrist. Tendulkar faced 230 balls and punctuated his innings with 15 fours and two sixes. Gillespie's fantastic spell late in the day read 7-4-15-2 as he took the initiative away from India by dismissing both Dravid and Tendulkar.

Warne too was in the middle of a brilliant spell and was unlucky not to have picked up wickets. He was soon rewarded when he got his first lbw dismissal in India, Sameer Dighe (4) trapped plumb in front.

Colin Miller picked up two wickets in a hurry, having Zaheer Khan (4) caught and bowled and Harbhajan Singh (2) caught by Mark Waugh at first slip. At close of play Bahutule is unbeaten on four and Kulkarni yet to open his account



TENDULKAR AND DRAVID IN TOTAL COMMAND

India have moved to 378/4 at tea and are in a process of consolidating their position in this Test match. Tendulkar (77*) and Dravid (48*) have so far added 94 runs for the fifth wicket partnership. India scored 112 runs in the post-lunch session off 28 overs.

India lost their captain Saurav Ganguly (22) at 284, caught by Gilchrist off the ever-reliable McGrath. Ganguly playing a flashy stroke outside the off stump, could only edge the ball to the keeper.

Tendulkar has been a picture of confidence all through the afternoon as he launched into an attack on Miller's off spin, striking him for a six and a four in an over. So far he has struck eight fours and a six in his masterly knock.

Warne was at last brought into the attack in the post-lunch session, and did not make an impression with his leg breaks, Tendulkar and Dravid hitting him for fours without any trouble.

Dravid who has been forced to bat at number six, has been a revelation. He has been severe on the bowlers when they pitched it up to him. A couple of scorching cover drives off Gillespie put his stamp of authority on this match.

The second new ball has made no impact on the batsmen either. McGrath has had a go at Tendulkar, serving him with a good supply of bouncers.

Steve Waugh turned to Mark Waugh for a couple of overs and even called upon the services of Hayden to break the partnership, in vain. McGrath has easily been the best of the bowling with the figures of 27-11-55-3.



GLENN MCGRATH KEEPS AUSSIE HOPES ALIVE

Australia is truly back in the game, pushing India on the defensive as Sachin Tendulkar (27*) and Saurav Ganguly (14*) played through to the luncheon break. India is 266/3 adding 55 runs in 28 overs in the session.

After having gone through a miserable second day, losing seven wickets in a session and then allowing the Indian batsmen to pile up 211/1 by the close of play, Steve Waugh must have been a worried man. This morning he turned to his premier bowler Glenn McGrath, to deliver the early punches.

Time and again this tall Aussie pacer has delivered, when it matters most. In an inspired early spell McGrath trapped SS Das (84) lbw with the very first ball of the day. Six overs later McGrath struck again, Mark Waugh taking a sharp catch, low to his left to remove the dangerous VVS Laxman.

Tendulkar started his innings in style, driving a ball from Gillespie through the covers for four. He has so far struck the ball four times past the ropes in the 89 deliveries he has faced and looks to be in very good touch.

On the contrary Saurav Ganguly has struggled in the middle so far. Gillespie has been able to trouble him with pace and bounce, bowling around the stumps and angling the ball in.

Interestingly Steve Waugh hasnít given Shane Warne a bowl this morning. Colin Miller started off bowling his medium pacers and did rather well to restrict the batsmen.



INDIA POST STRONG REPLY TO AUSTRALIAN TOTAL

Following up on the good work done in the session between lunch and tea, some sensible batting put the Indians well on track to posting a good score. For once, this Test seems to be heading towards normalcy. Good batting track with a bit of spin in it. The team batting first scores a decent total and the response is good. But wait, this, might still be too early to jump the gun. With India on an extremely healthy 211/1 off 64 overs at stumps on the second day, there's every indication that this Test will go the full distance.

Shortly after tea Ramesh brought up his half century. Although not at his fluent best, Ramesh was guarded enough. Not throwing his wicket away, the man whose very place in the team for this Test was under severe doubt brought up a half-century off 128 balls, including five crisp hits to the fence. Consecutive boundaries off McGrath, a flick and a straight drive, were easily the highlight of Ramesh's knock. As is so often the case, frustratingly so to his fans and well- wishers, Ramesh perished when he was looking in top form. Dabbing at a leg break from Warne, Ramesh presented Ricky Ponting fielding close with a simple bat-pad catch. Ramesh (61 runs, 164 mins, 133 balls, 6 fours) had once again done enough to keep his place in the side without actually cementing it.

Even as Ramesh perished and VVS Laxman walked in with a confident swagger, Das continued to battle hard. After a spell of good hostile fast bowling from Jason Gillespie which unsettled Das, the pair got down to business. Careful enough to survive the spell, Das was quickly back to his steady self.

Laxman too began tentatively and was lucky to survive a few perfectly pitched deliveries from Warne. There came a point where Warne just about began to settle into a rhythm. Sensing the danger in letting that happen, Laxman came down the track and hit the ball straight back past the bowler. That was a key moment in the last session of play and signaled a change in attitude. Laxman flowered shortly after, dissecting the field with the precision of a brain surgeon and the artistry of a sculptor. Playing with a straight bat, Laxman flicked wristily through midwicket, punched forcefully through the off side and lofted effectively straight down the ground.

When Laxman raised his bat to acknowledge the crowd's cheers after hitting Miller for two consecutive boundaries, there was pleasant surprise in the stands. A half century off just 52 balls from a man not known for quick scoring even in domestic cricket. The fact that he spanked 10 boundaries in that short spell spoke volumes of his domination of the bowling.

Then again neither Warne nor Miller looked any more dangerous than their bowling figures suggested - Warne 1/73, Miller 0/64.

Not enough can be said of the stellar role Das has played at the top of the innings. Unbeaten on 84 (261 mins, 187 balls, 10 fours 1 six) Das along with Laxman, batting on 59 (96 mins, 67 balls, 10 fours) will take on the Aussies tomorrow morning. But that will be a different day. The visitors could just as easily turn the tide. After all, this series so far has been a punter's nightmare, swinging this way and that before finally settling down somewhere in between.



RAMESH, DAS CHALK UP UNBEATEN CENTURY STAND

Sadagoppan Ramesh has always been king at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai. It's a ground where he edges the ball just as much as anywhere else. He plays as far away from the body as his heart desires and his feet move as if he were paying out money for every step he took. And yet, he makes runs by the bagful here. Shiv Sunder Das is as different from Ramesh as humanly possible. The youngster is far from his home soil in Orissa. A compact but busy player, Das likes the look of a copybook stroke. Playing well within himself Das provided the calming influence at the top of the order. The pair batted out the second session of the day, putting on an unbeaten opening partnership of 107.

The Australians are finding once more that the Indians do not play the game the way they expect. Every time they come up with a standard plan to tackle the Indians it comes a cropper. Today, pace was overwhelmed rather than overwhelming. Glenn McGrath and Jason Gillespie were comfortably seen off. In the heat, even fast bowlers of this calibre let slip a few loose deliveries. When that happened, both Ramesh and Das were in sufficiently good nick to put the ball away.

This meant that the Indian batsmen were supremely well set when the spinners came on. Shane Warne, off colour after the pounding at Kolkata could not find his rhythm. The fact that he has consistently failed with the bat also had its effect. After all, a few runs in the bag always gives bowlers a boost. Colin Miller, bowling far too round arm could not extract any bounce from the wicket.

The fact that Das went from 30 to 50 with five boundaries - four of Warne and one off Miller showed how easily the lad tackled the spinners. The first indication was a late cut off the leg spinner. Waiting till the last possible moment, Das leaned back and caressed the ball too wide for slip and too fine for short third man. The pressbox at the MA Chidambaram Stadium was abuzz with whispers of, 'Gundappa Viswanath' probably one of the finest exponents of the shot India has seen in recent times. The shot he played to bring up his half century was no less effective. Picking a Warne leg break from outside the off, Das swept perfectly to the square leg fence.

Ramesh, in no hurry, grew in confidence and was unbeaten on 48 (107 balls, 4 fours) an innings that included some vintage drives through the off side and flicks through the on side that flowed off his bat as smoothly as good scotch down a parched throat. Das in his own polished manner had moved on to 56 (100 balls, 9 fours).



INDIA STRIKE BACK DESPITE HAYDEN DOUBLE TON

This Australian tour of India is a heart-stopper in many ways. Every day provides a new angle, a new twist and indeed a new team in control. The second day of the final Test began with Australia being firmly in the driver's seat. Resuming on 326/3, the Australians were at the receiving end of the see-saw effect that once more swung into action. In the first session of play, Australia added 65 runs for the loss of 7 wickets. As in Kolkata, India had responded to a bad run of play by snaring seven wickets in a session.

Matthew Hayden continued in a rich vein of form, showing great composure and control. Once more, the sweep shot was the most effective stroke. Using the width and line of the ball well, Hayden motored along nicely while strange things happened around him. Steve Waugh (47 runs, 176 mins, 150 balls, 4 fours, 1 six) was rapped on the pad by a Harbhajan Singh off spinner. The loud shout for leg before wicket was turned down even as the ball looped up and headed for the stumps; in a momentary lapse of composure the Australian skipper knocked the ball away with his gloves. A renewed appeal for 'handled the ball' ensued and Steve Waugh was back in the pavilion.

A rather freak mode of dismissal, one that has happened only five times before got India its first breakthrough. (Russel Endean for South Africa v England, Cape Town, 1956-57, Andrew Hilditch for Australia v Pakistan, Perth, 1978-79, Mohsin Khan for Pakistan v Australia, Karachi, 1982-83, Desmond Haynes for West Indies v India, Mumbai, 1983-84, Graham Gooch for England v Australia, Manchester, 1993 are the previous occurrences of batsmen being dismissed 'handled ball')

Off the very next ball, Ricky Ponting's woeful run of form continued. Overbalancing completely to an offspinner from Harbhajan, Ponting (0) was well out of his crease when Sameer Dighe whipped the bails off to pick up his first dismissal in Test cricket.

Adam Gilchrist made a solitary run before being trapped plumb in front by the offspinner from Punjab. Harbhajan Singh, encouraged by the success on the second day began to give the ball a bit more air. Shane Warne, Jason Gillespie and Colin Miller all bagged ducks, the last two trying to hit Harbhajan Singh out of the ground. With Hayden in such good nick, all the tail needed to do was rotate the strike. Unfortunately for the visitors, common sense was left behind in hotel rooms and Australia were 385/9.

Hayden's effort though was one that deserves all credit. Stroking his way to a double hundred, Hayden showed that all the hard work he had done in the recent past had not gone to waste. The precision with which he played his strokes made it amply clear that this was no fluke either. When he reached his double hundred, the whole Australian team was outside the dressing room applauding. The crowd at Chennai, known over the years for its sporting nature, gave Hayden an ovation he will not forget in a hurry. An emotional moment for the Queensland southpaw ensued, with him taking his helmet off, waving the bat in acknowledgement to the crowd and then making the sign of the cross himself.

When Hayden lofted Harbhajan straight to Sourav Ganguly at long off, it was all over for Australia. A tremendous innings had come to an end. On the back of Hayden's innings of 203 (320b 15x4 6x6) Australia posted 391. After being 326/3 surely Steve Waugh will be a bit disappointed with the final total. Harbhajan Singh with 38.2-6-133-7 was once more the wrecker in chief.



AUSTRALIA CONSOLIDATE AS INDIA FAIL TO BREAK THROUGH

Resuming after tea on 248/3, Australia finished the first day's play at 326/3. Matthew Hayden is unbeaten on 147 (249balls, 12 fours, 5 sixes) and Steve Waugh is unbeaten on 43 (127 balls, 4 fours, 1 six). They added 78 runs in the session between tea and close of play to take their unfinished fourth wicket partnership to 109.

Saurav Ganguly was forced to bring on Sachin Tendulkar into the attack as his mainstream bowlers failed to make any impression on the two well set batsmen. Even though he could not get the much-needed wicket, Tendulkar slowed down the proceedings with some tight bowling (8-1-16-0).

Hayden, employing the sweep shot to good effect against the spinners, kept accumulating the runs. He and Steve Waugh look well set for a long stay in the middle. The pitch is taking sharp turn, even on the first day. Hayden, who has been using his feet to come down the track and smother the spin along with the seasoned pro Steve Waugh, made sure that the Indian spinners did not dominate in the crucial post tea session. A full report of the dayís play will be available shortly.



MATTHEW HAYDEN CRACKS AN UNBEATEN TON

Australia have been doing a consolidation job after the deluge of runs before the luncheon break. At tea the Aussies have moved to 248/3, Hayden and Steve Waugh unbeaten on 106 and 12 respectively.

Mark Waugh (70) became Sairaj Bahatule's first Test scalp, caught by the substitute fielder Hemang Badani, running back in the covers. Waugh going for a big one over long-on, mistimed the stroke, the ball took the bottom edge and flew high to the covers. Waugh who looked good for a big knock, struck seven boundaries and a six in his stay at the crease. Mark Waugh and Matthew Hayden put together a partnership of 150 runs for the third wicket.

The story of the day so far has been Hayden's century. Hayden who was dismissed on 97 at Kolkata, made sure that the Aussies held on to the firm grip they have on this match. He swept the Indian spinners away in the post lunch session to get to his second century of the series. Hayden has completely dominated the Indian bowling, decorating his awesome knock with nine strokes past the ropes and five over it. Aussies have scored 108 runs off the 31 overs in the post lunch session.

Steve Waugh came into the middle at the fall of Mark Waugh's wicket at 217 and quickly took command against the Indian spinners. He looks to be in great touch as he played his favourite stroke, the heave-ho (sweep-pull) over mid-wicket for a huge six off Harbhajan Singh.



MATTHEW HAYDEN PULVERIZES INDIAN BOWLING

Australia are 140/2 at lunch on the first day of the third Test match at Chennai's MA Chidambaram Stadium. Matthew Hayden took the attack to Harbhajan Singh, the man who destroyed the Aussie batting in Kolkata, smashing him high and handsome over the fence for sixes in an amazing display of power hitting. At lunch, Hayden is unbeaten on 55 off just 83 balls (4 sixes, 4 fours). He got to his half century by hitting Nilesh Kulkarni for a massive six over long off.

Hayden was distinctly lucky to be out there in the middle; Sameer Dighe messed up a chance to run him out when the batsman had only made 21. Hayden seized the opportunity with both hands, playing an explosive innings to set the tone for this crucial Test match.

Dighe's poor show behind the stumps did not end with that, he gave the elegant Mark Waugh an early reprieve by missing out on a stumping chance. Waugh was on nine at that stage. Waugh who has not contributed to the Aussie cause in this Test series with his bat, started his innings with a beautiful lofted on drive that crashed into the mid-wicket fence. He too is making the Indian pay for giving him a life, lofting Kulkarni for a huge six. At lunch Waugh is unbeaten on 25 with the help of a six and three sweetly timed boundaries. Waugh and Hayden have so far added 73 runs for the unbroken third wicket partnership.

Earlier in the morning Michael Slater (4) was caught by VVS Laxman off the bowling of Zaheer Khan. Justin Langer played an attractive 35 off 35 balls before being caught by Rahul Dravid at first slip off the bowling of Singh. Langer was looking good in the middle as he lofted Singh for a six over mid-wicket.



AUSTRALIA WINS THE TOSS AND ELECT TO BAT FIRST

MA Chidambaram stadium, Chepauk, Chennai, is the venue for the final encounter in the "Final Frontier" for the Australians. Steve Waugh has won the toss and elected to bat first on a pitch that might start taking spin as early on the third day.

Indians are riding high after their remarkable victory in the second Test match in Kolkata. It is a warm day in Chennai and the humidity is in the nineties. Australians have made one change to their team that played at the Eden Gardens, Kolkata; off spinner Colin Miller coming in to replace Michael Kasprowicz.

Indians have made three changes to their line-up, Sameer Dighe coming in for Nayan Mongia who is nursing a broken nose, leg spinner Sairaj Bahatule and left-arm spinner Nilesh Kulkarni replacing Venkatesh Prasad and Venkatapathy Raju.

The pitch is bound to give some assistance to the seamers in the morning. Australia have their task cut out, having elected to bat first, they will have to post a huge first innings score on the board. The tickets for the match have been sold out and already the stadium is full. Both teams have to gain everything out of this match; hence it promises to be a cracker of a Test match.

The teams:

India: SS Das, S Ramesh, VVS Laxman, SR Tendulkar, *SC Ganguly, R Dravid, NM Kulkarni, Z Khan, Harbhajan Singh, SV Bahutule, +SS Dighe.

Australia: ML Hayden, MJ Slater, JL Langer, ME Waugh, RT Ponting, *SR Waugh, +AC Gilchrist, CR Miller, JN Gillespie, GD McGrath, SK Warne.

Umpires: AV Jayaprakash, Rudi Koertzen Third Umpire: CR Vijayaraghavan Match Referee: Cammie Smith

© CricInfo


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