Australia take control of first Test

Australia took a firm grip on the first Test after Stuart Clark and Brett Lee produced a sustained period of hostile and controlled pace bowling to bowl India out for 196 late on the second day on Thursday.

Clark, who finished with an outstanding 4-28 off 15 overs, captured the valuable wickets of Sachin Tendulkar (62) and Rahul Dravid (four) as India struggled against the pace attack.

India were dismissed 147 runs behind Australia’s first innings of 343.

Australia’s openers Phil Jaques (10) and first innings centurion Matthew Hayden (22) extended the lead to 179, reaching the close of play on 32 for no wicket.

Hayden was particularly aggressive, dispatching several bad deliveries from the Indians to the fence.

Short of a dramatic collapse, Australia look favourites to extend their successive Test winning streak to 15 later in the week as the pitch deteriorates.

The current Australia side are chasing the world record set by Steve Waugh’s side of 16 successive Test victories, which was ended by India in 2001.

Clark, who was the last man dismissed in Australia’s first innings early on the second day when he was caught hooking by Harbhajan Singh off Zaheer Khan, struck at crucial times during India’s innings.

He trapped a pensive looking Dravid in the final over before lunch, then dismissed Tendulkar just before tea.

Clark also dismissed Yuvraj Singh and Mahendra Dhoni, both for nought, either side of the tea break as he took three wickets for just one run within the space of 12 balls.

Lee, whose extreme pace snuck through the defences of Tendulkar and Harbhajan Singh, hitting both in the ribs, finished with 4-46 off 19.5 overs.

Saurav Ganguly, who combined with Tendulkar in a 65-run partnership as they attempted to rebuild India’s innings from 55-3, scored 43 before he was bowled by Brad Hogg.

India captain Anil Kumble, who took 5-84 in the first innings, also scored 27 valuable runs before he became Lee’s 250th Test wicket. — Reuters

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