India smells Victory-Mohali Test!!!

In reply to India’s 515, Michael Clarke and Brad Haddin’s 83-run partnership took Australia’s score to 141/5 at stumps on Day 4 of Mohali.

With a mammoth total of 515 runs to chase, Australia would well have been on the mat after losing five wickets but for Michael Clarke and Brad Haddin’s partnership. 

MS Dhoni invited Australia to bat after Gautam Gambhir’s century and half-centuries by Virender Sehwag and the captain himself powered India to 314 runs in the second innings. With 201-run lead from the first innings, Dhoni asked Ponting’s men to chase 516 runs to take lead in the series.

After the declaration, Indian bowlers Harbhajan Singh and Ishant Sharma wreaked havoc in the Australian camp but Clarke (42*) and Haddin (37*) added 83 runs for the sixth wicket to take their score to 141/5 at the close of the fourth day’s play in Mohali. 

The Aussie pair played with the right technique and did not take unnecessary risks. But their other teammates failed to do so and lost their wickets. Harbhajan, in particular, troubled them more than others. He continues to be an unsolved muddle for the visitors from Down Under as he bamboozled Matthew Hayden, Simon Katich and Mike Hussey. Hayden and Katich opened the Australian innings and added 49 runs at a brisk rate before Bhajji scalped their wickets in the same over. First to go was Hayden who was trapped for 29 runs. Katich (27) fell to a superb catch from Sachin Tendulkar. Katich came on to a flighted delivery wide of the off-stump and struck it to find the Little Master lunging successfully at the short point region. Just after the tea, Harbhajan caught Mike Hussey plumb in front for two runs. A slow delivery from the spinner tossed in line but did not bounce as expected and struck Hussey’s back pad. 
In the next over, Ishant pitched it outside the off-stump and ball came back in to take the bails along and send Ricky Ponting back for 2 runs. All-rounder Shane Watson could not repeat his first innings heroics and was given LBW against the lanky pacer for 2 runs.

Earlier in their second innings, the hosts slaughtered Ponting’s bowlers. Openers Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir had a 182-run stand for the first wicket. While Sehwag, who turned 30 on Monday, missed out in his century after a flamboyant knock of 90, his partner Gambhir slammed his second Test hundred. 

Gambhir moved to his century with a boundary through mid-wicket off Cameron White shortly before lunch. He struck seven fours during his 136-ball stay, but left two deliveries later when he chipped one to mid-off.

Dhoni (68*) didn’t fall behind and struck his tenth Test fifty, second against Australia. After Sehwag’s exit, India surprised the Australians as Dhoni walked in to bat instead of regular number 3, Rahul Dravid. The first innings centurion Sourav Ganguly was also moved up the order and he came at number four in place of Sachin Tendulkar. He scored 27 runs and added 66 runs with the captain before Lee got him caught by Michael Clarke at cover.


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