Mishra gives India the breakthrough with Katich’s wicket

By Avishek Roy, IANS,

New Delhi : Leg-spinner Amit Mishra provided India the breakthrough after Australian openers survived a probing spell from the fast bowlers on the third day of the third cricket Test at Feroz Shah Kotla here Friday.

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At lunch, Australia were 151 for one in reply to India’s massive first innings total of 613 for seven. Hayden (59) and skipper Ricky Ponting (14) were at the crease.

Mishra (1-41) crashed through the defence of Simon Katich (64) with a sharp leg-break when the opener came down the track to launch him for a big hit.

It ended the 123-run resistance of Katich and Hayden, who played with caution and also showed a fair bit of aggression in tackling the inspired Indian fast bowling attack of Zaheer Khan and Ishant Sharma. Hayden hit 10 fours in his 112-ball and 182 minutes stay.

With a nippy wind blowing across and a thin layer of fog hanging over Kotla, the stage was set for the fast bowlers to operate. Zaheer and Ishant used the conditions well.

The day started on an exciting note for India as Zaheer’s well-directed bouncer crashed into Hayden’s helmet twice in the first over of the day.

Zaheer, who has enjoyed an upper hand against Hayden in the series so far, had his plan chalked out for the left-hander, testing him with short-pitched deliveries. Hayden, who before the Test talked about Zaheer’s mental vulnerability, put away few of those but his innings was scratchy.

Hayden and Katich were certainly not in control but managed well to defy Indians an early breakthrough.

Signs of flat Kotla wicket helping the spinners had come late Thursday evening when Mishra and Anil Kumble got encouraging turn and bounce. Both the leggies, troubled the batsmen with a clever mix though in process were occasionally hit for fours.

Kumble, who opened the bowling with Zaheer, was accurate and a tentative Katich found it difficult to judge the length of the ball, pushing and nudging his way.

Mishra, who made a sensational debut in Mohali with a match haul of seven wickets, enticed the batsmen with a good trajectory and flight, and it finally paid off when Katich in a rush of blood stepped out only to be foxed by the spinner.