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India 74 for two at lunch on first day


Perth : India, 74 for two at lunch, made a sedate start to the third Test against Australia here Wednesday after captain Anil Kumble won the toss at the Western Australian Cricket Association (WACA) ground.

At the break, Rahul Dravid was batting on two and Sachin Tendulkar on 13 while Australia conceded an unusually high 14 extras in the first session on the opening day of the Test.

Virender Sehwag, who came into the side in place of Yuvraj Singh, played a cameo while his opening partner Wasim Jaffer did only marginally better.

India scored at a reasonable rate of just over three runs per over while losing the openers in the two-hour session.

To the Indians’ relief, the WACA pitch did not have any demons as predicted in the media, especially after Australia opted for a four-pronged pace attack at Perth after 16 years.

Sehwag, wearing a bright red bandana under his new helmet, slashed outside the off stump time and again and missed the ball more often than he middled.

That, however, did not deter him from playing his strokes in much the same way he had scored the century against the Australian Capital Territory in Canberra last week.

Despite the fact that he was playing his first Test after a year, during which he missed nine Tests, Sehwag took the fight to the opposition camp, playing a couple of blazing strokes.

Jaffer, on the other hand, preferred to give his partner most of the strike. The Mumbai batsman himself survived a loud appeal for caught behind off Michael Clarke. But, as the television replays showed, the ball had hit the right-hander’s arm guard.

Sehwag was the first to be dismissed (29) after smashing six fours in his 58-ball knock. The Delhi batsman’s flirtation outside the off stump led to his downfall as he tried to cut a Mitchell Johnson delivery but only managed a fine edge to wicket-keeper Adam Gilchrist.

Sehwag and Jaffer put on 57-runs for the opening wicket. Soon, Jaffer (16) was also back in the dressing room, playing almost in the same fashion as Sehwag against pace spearhead Brett Lee. Gilchrist grabbed the edge.

Dravid, who opened the innings with Jaffer in the first two Tests, was back to his most productive No. 3 spot. He and Tendulkar ensured that there were no more casualties before lunch.


Third Test, Day 1, India vs. Australia, Western Australian Cricket Association (WACA) Ground, Perth

India (1st innings):
Wasim Jaffer c Gilchrist b Lee 16
Virender Sehwag c Gilchrist b Johnson 29
Rahul Dravid batting 2
Sachin Tendulkar batting 13
Extras: (leg byes 4, wides 5, no balls 5) 14
Total: (for 2 wickets in 24 overs) 74

Fall of wickets: 1-57 (Sehwag, 16.4 overs), 2-59 (Jaffer, 19.2)

Brett Lee 7 1 32 1 (4nb, 1w)
Mitchell Johnson 8 3 16 1
Stuart Clark 7 2 14 0
Shaun Tait 2 1 8 0

Umpires: Billy Bowden (New Zealand) and Asad Rauf (Pakistan)

Match Referee: Mike Procter (South Africa)