Symonds, Gilchrist fight back after Pathan’s blows


Perth : In-form Andrew Symonds scored his third successive half-century to help Australia recover from a collapse and take them to 148 for five wickets at tea on the second day of the third Test against India here Thursday.

Support TwoCircles

Symonds was batting on 56 (53 balls, 6x4s, 1×6) and Adam Gilchrist was on 34 as Australia after being reduced to 61 for five by telling blows from pacers Irfan Pathan, Ishant Sharma and Rudra Pratap Singh.

Symonds and Gilchrist had added 88 for the sixth wicket by tea at the Western Australian Cricket Association (WACA) ground. At one stage in this second session, the two batsmen had scored 77 runs in 10 overs.

In the morning, India, resuming at their overnight 297 for six, lost their last four wickets for just 33 runs with Pathan and Mahendra Singh Dhoni, the overnight batsmen, making 28 and 19 respectively.

Left-armer Mitchell Johnson, part of the four-pronged pace attack, was Australia’s most successful bowler with four wickets while Brett Lee captured three.

Left-arm pacer Pathan rediscovered his rhythm to rock Australia at the start of their first innings. He snared debutant Chris Rogers and Phil Jaques in three balls. A few balls later Rudra Pratap Singh, also a potent left-arm pacer, dismissed Mike Hussey for nought as India reduce the hosts to 14 for three.

Australia must have had an uncomfortable lunch at 22 for three.

Pathan, opening the bowling attack after a long time in Test cricket, swung the ball appreciably at the WACA ground to justify captain Anil Kumble’s faith in him to share the new ball with R.P. Singh.

Pathan opened the floodgates by having Rogers (4, 9 balls, 1×4), picked in place of an injured Matthew Hayden, leg before wicket, two balls after the left-hander square drove for four – his first scoring stroke in Test cricket.

The ball that consumed left-handed Jaques was an outswinger. As he shaped to execute a cover drive, the ball took the edge to second slip where V.V.S. Laxman took an easy catch.

Barely had the excitement died down when Rudra Pratap Singh dismissed Mike Hussey for nought to reduce the home side to 14 for three.

Ricky Ponting (6) and Michael Clarke (4), however, ensured that no more wickets fell before the lunch break.

It was an eventful morning session with as many as seven wickets – including the last four of India – falling in 25 balls.

After lunch, though, Ponting and Clarke did not trouble the Indians much as Delhi pacer Ishant Sharma prised out both. Australia were now reeling at 61 for five.

Ponting failed to keep the ball down when it rose unexpectedly high and only managed to poke his bat at it. The resultant jab took the ball to the right of Rahul Dravid at the lone slip where he took a good diving catch. It was his 164th catch in Test cricket.

Symonds, when at three, was lucky to survive as Sachin Tendulkar, at first slip, dropped a high catch off Pathan as the batsman attempted a cut.

In the next over, Sharma forced Clarke to edge the ball to wicket-keeper Dhoni for an easy catch. Clarke’s dismissal brought Gilchrist to the crease and the wicket-keeper and Symonds remained together till the tea break.