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Australia hit back with Tendulkar’s wicket


New Delhi : Just when Sachin Tendulkar looked good for his 40th Test hundred, having put on a century-stand with opener Gautam Gambhir, he fell in the last over before tea as India went into the break at 158 for three on the opening day of the third cricket Test against Australia here at Feroz Shah Kotla Wednesday.

Tendulkar, the leading scorer in Tests, batted fluently in making 68 when Mitchell Johnson (2-44) got him caught behind by wicket-keeper Brad Haddin

The Aussies, trailing 0-1 in in the four-match series, after the Mohali mauling, showed signs of a fightback when they had India struggling at 27 for two, Virender Sehwag (1) and Rahul Dravid (11) falling early, after skipper Anil Kumble chose to bat on return to lead the side.

But Gambhir (67 batting) and Tendulkar stitched 130 runs for the third wicket to frustrate the visitors. After the early sting in the wicket died down, the duo made the Australian attack look pedesterian as runs flowed in with ease.

Tendulkar was in his element right from the start. He picked Johnson for two successive boundaries before lunch and swiftly reached his 50 off 79 balls with eight well-struck fours.

The duo mixed caution with aggression as the Australian pacers generally bowled a good line and length.

Cameron White came in for some pounding from Tendulkar, who came down the track to hit him through covers and then swung him over midwicket. The leg-spinner gave 27 runs in his first spell of four overs before skipper Ricky Ponting removed him.

Gambhir was involved in a skirmish with Shane Watson when the fast bowler tried to block his way and the opener pushed him with his elbow while going for the second run.

Earlier, Australia got rid of dangerous Sehwag off Brett Lee and Dravid was enticed yet again by Johnson into an indiscreet drive to be caught at second slip by Matthew Hayden.

Lee and Stuart Clark, back after missing the second Test, bowled at a lively pace and on a good line in the first hour. Clark, who replaced Peter Siddle, was particularly impressive giving away just five runs in his first spell of seven overs.

Both sides made on change from their Mohali Test sides. India retained Amit Mishra as off-spinner Harbhajan Singh pulled out with a toe injury, while the Australians brought back Stuart Clark in place of Mohali debutant Peter Siddle.