Ponting continues to be Harbhajan’s bunny

Sydney, Jan 2 (IANS) If Anil Kumble does not get Ricky Ponting, Harbhajan Singh will. And so it continued as Harbhajan dismissed the Australian skipper for the seventh time in his career on the first day of the second Test match here Wednesday. Kumble, too, has accounted for Ponting an equal number of times.

Only Darren Gough of England has a better record than the Indian spinning duo, having scalped Ponting eight times.

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But before Harbhajan dismissed Ponting Wednesday, the Australian skipper had scored his 39th fifty in Tests and his fifth against India. He also extended his record for most runs at SCG to 1,281 at an average of 80.06, including five centuries and five fifties in 13 Tests.

Following are the highlights of the first day’s play at Sydney:

* Rudra Pratap Singh (four for 108) produced his best bowling performance against Australia, bettering his one for 50 at Melbourne last week. It was the third time in his career, that R.P. Singh has claimed four wickets in an innings – the previous two instances being five for 59 vs. England at Lord’s in 2007 and four for 89 against Pakistan at Faisalabad in 2005-06.

* Adam Gilchrist emulated Rahul Dravid’s feat of appearing in most consecutive Tests (94) since making his debut. Gilchrist made his debut against Pakistan at Brisbane on Nov 5, 1999 and since then has played 94 games in a row.

* Gilchrist’s 94 since making his debut is a record by any player for one country, eclipsing Dravid’s 93 consecutive appearances for India. Dravid had played one Test for World XI at Sydney in 2005-06 during his sequence.

* Phil Jaques got his first duck in Test Cricket and in the process missed becoming the fourth player to record seven successive fifties, held jointly by Everton Weekes (WI), Andy Flower (Zim) and Shivnarine Chanderpaul (WI).

* Andrew Symonds (137 batting) posted his second Test century – his career best is 156 against England at MCG in 2006-07. It was also the first time he crossed 50 at SCG and was also his best against India – beating 44 in the Melbourne Test last week.

* Brad Hogg (79) posted his career best score – his maiden fifty, eclipsing his previous highest of 35 not out against India at Melbourne last week.

* Sachin Tendulkar, for the fourth time in his career, held three catches in an innings – the previous three instances being against Pakistan in Karachi in 2005-06, against West Indies in Bridgetown in 1996-97 and against New Zealand in Bangalore in 1995-96.

* The seventh wicket partnership of 173 between Andrew Symonds and Brad Hogg is an Australian record against India, eclipsing the 108 between Steve Waugh and Shane Warne at Adelaide in 1999-00. It is also a seventh wicket record at SCG, surpassing the 160 between Richie Benaud and Graham McKenzie for Australia against South Africa in 1963-64.

* Australia’s 376 for seven is the second highest score in a day’s play against India, second only to their 400 for five on the first day of the 2003-04 Adelaide Test. It is also the second highest score in a day’s play at SCG, next only to Australia’s 494 for six against South Africa on the first day of the 1910-11 Test.