Sydney : Andrew Symonds and Brad Hogg gave some stability to the Australian innings after good performances by Indian bowlers left the hosts reeling at 134 for six on the opening day of the second Test here Wednesday.
Symonds was batting on 39 and Hogg on 48. They did most of the repair work as Australia went into tea at 214 for six. Rudra Pratap Singh made most of the bouncy Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) track and picked up four wickets for 56 runs and Harbhajan Singh extracted some turn for his two for 55.
The Australians lost four wickets in a gap of just 15 runs and were looking down the barrel but the 80 runs partnership between Hogg and Symonmds steadied the ship.
After opting to bat, Australia lost two quick wickets and were struggling at 27 for two but Ricky Pointing (55) played a captain’s knock to bail them out of the precarious situation.
Winning the toss on a pitch, which had bounce and movement, Rudra Pratap Singh removed openers Phil Jaques, for his first Test duck, and Matthew Hayden unusually cheaply before Ponting and Mike Hussey (41) brought the contest to an even keel.
Jaques was the first to go without a run on the board as he attempted to swat at a short one to be caught by Dhoni. Singh struck again with a beauty, this time forcing Hayden to edge to be well caught at first slip by Sachin Tendulkar. Hayden made 13 and Australia were struggling at 27 for two.
Ponting was also lucky to survive a leg side stumping off his nemesis Harbhajan Singh before steadying the innings and, in the company of Hussey, added 92 runs for the third wicket. Harbhajan ultimately had the last laugh against Ponting when he trapped the Australian captain leg before the wicket.
Hussey, Michael Clarke (1) and Adam Gilchrist (7) departed in quick succession and left the Australians reeling before the resurrection act by Symonds and Hogg.
The Indians, as suspected, had to go in without paceman Zaheer Khan who could not pass a fitness test after a nagging heel injury and was replaced by Ishant Sharma.
Australia named an unchanged outfit from the side, which won the first Test in Melbourne by 337 runs.