Laxman holds fort after Lee strikes


Sydney : V.V.S. Laxman was in sublime form on his happy hunting ground as he took the attack to the Australians and guided the visitors to 101 for the loss of one wicket in reply to the hosts’ 463 on the second day of the second Test match at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) here Thursday.

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With two centuries in the past at the SCG, Laxman looked confident against the lethal Australian bowling attack and was batting on 73 while Rahul Dravid was on 18. The pair had added 93 runs for the second wicket by tea.

Laxman’s timing and footwork was impeccable. He took 19 runs from a Mitchell Johnson over. Dravid meanwhile was moving at a snail’s pace and was booed by the crowd.

Brett Lee, after scoring 59 in the first innings, gave Australia the first breakthrough as he rattled Wasim Jaffer’s (3) stumps with just eight runs on the board.

Earlier, Indian Skipper Anil Kumble took the last three wickets and ended Australia’s first innings for 463 just before lunch on the second day at the SCG. Andrew Symonds, however, remained unbeaten with 162.

Indian Openers Rahul Dravid and Wasim Jaffer quietly played out the three overs before the lunch break without scoring.

It was a tremendous recovery by Australia from a horrific 134 for six soon after lunch on the first day. Symonds played a pivotal role in rallying his side, sharing stands of 173 with Brad Hogg and 114 with Brett Lee.

Resuming at 376 for 7, Australia added 87 runs in 23 overs before their innings finally came to an end.

It was Symonds’ highest Test score and he hit 18 fours and two sixes, making full use of the reprieves he got from indifferent umpiring.

Lee was the first to go Thursday morning, trapped lbw for 59 in Kumble’s first over. Then Mitchell Johnson struck a quick-fire 28 off 30 before pulling Kumble to Ganguly at deep midwicket. The ninth-wicket stand of 40 took the Australians past 450 before Kumble dismissed the last man Stuart Clark leg before.

Kumble finished with figures of four for 106, his three wickets Thursday costing him 15 runs. R.P. Singh could not get a fiver and had to be satisfied with his four wickets Wednesday. Harbhajan Singh claimed two for 108.