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25 Jan 2008 08:38
Anil Kumble and Harbhajan Singh completed half-centuries as India’s tailenders piled on the runs in the fourth and final against Australia on Friday.
Kumble crafted an unbeaten 86 over more than four hours while Harbhajan blasted a quick 63 as India reached 525 for nine in their first innings when tea was taken at the Adelaide Oval.
Australia briefly looked as though they might restrict India to a total of less than 400 when they dismissed Sachin Tendulkar and Mahendra Singh Dhoni in the first hour of play but struggled to polish off the last three wickets.
Dhoni departed for 16 while Tendulkar’s superb innings ended on 153 with the total on 359-7, but Australia’s joy was shortlived as Harbhajan and Kumble added 107 for the eighth wicket.
Rudra Pratap Singh was dismissed for a four-ball duck but Kumble and Ishant Sharma continued to frustrate the Australians with a defiant unbroken last-wicket stand of 57.
The Adelaide pitch was ideally suited for batting and offered little assistance to the bowlers but the Australians, who lead the series 2-1 after winning the first two Tests in Melbourne and Sydney, only had themselves to blame for dropping seven catches during the innings.
Harbhajan, who missed India’s victory in last week’s third test in Perth when the selectors opted for an extra paceman, was dropped by Phil Jaques at short leg off the first ball he faced and made the Australians pay dearly for their mistake.
He drove Andrew Symonds to the boundary to bring up his second 50 of the series from 87 balls and hit a total of seven fours before he was eventually out when he skied a catch to wicketkeeper Adam Gilchrist off the same bowler.
Gilchrist’s catch was his 413th Test dismissal, equalling the world record held by South African wicketkeeper Mark Boucher.
India started the day on 309-5 and added 216 runs for the loss of four wickets to put themselves in a position to press for victory and possibly square the series.
Dhoni was the first to depart, caught by Symonds at deep point off left-arm seamer Mitchell Johnson after adding 10 runs to his overnight score.
Tendulkar, who started the day on 124, followed soon after when he mistimed a short-pitched delivery from express paceman Brett Lee and pulled the ball straight down the throat of Brad Hogg at deep square leg.
Tendulkar left the ground to a standing ovation after batting over five-and-a-half hours in compiling his 39th Test hundred, facing 205 balls and hitting 13 boundaries and three sixes.
Kumble scored his maiden Test hundred against England last year and reached tea within sight of a second one after batting 254 minutes, facing 195 balls and striking nine fours. - Reuters
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