Aus on top at Stumps on Day 3 at Melbourne
Australia’s bowlers took 8 Indian wickets for just 68 runs before Michael Hussey and Ricky Ponting rescued them from a top order collapse to put Australia on top with a 230 run lead at Stumps on Day 3 of the first Test at Melbourne.
Ben Hilfenhaus ran through India’s batting line up which resumed play on 214/3, taking Dravid with the second ball of the day, a straight ball which crashed into the batsman’s off stump.
Peter Siddle removed the perennial Australian tormentor, VVS Laxman for only 2 after which Hifenhaus proceeded to dismantle the Indian batting. He removed Kohli, Dhoni and the plucky nightwatchman Ishant Sharma with full length deliveries which moved away from the batsmen very late to finish with 5/75.
Pattinson chipped in by bowling Zaheer Khan who had exposed all stumps to play a blind heave.
Siddle returned to dismiss R Ashwin who provided resistance with his 31 as India slid to 282 all out at Lunch from being 214/2 in the last over before Stumps on the previous evening.
Umesh Yadav gave India hope, bowling David Warner and Shaun Marsh and taking out Ed Cowan LBW to reduce Australia to 24/3. Ishant Sharma raised his pace to bowl Michael Clarke with a 150 kmph straightening delivery to make Aus’s score 27/4. Ricky Ponting and Michael Hussey, both consistently under pressure to secure their place in the team put together a 115 run partnership for the fifth wicket. The duo was decisive in their stroke play and milked the field without missing an opportunity, scoring runs at a good pace to add to the pressure on India.
They brought up their 50s within moments of each other and were pressing on when Zaheer Khan provided India a breakthrough, slanting one across Ponting which the batsman drove straight into the hands of Virender Sehwag at gully. He had Brad Haddin caught by Laxman in his next over as Aus were further reduced to 148/6, the lead only 199.
Rahul Dravid dropped Michael Hussey off Ashwin when the batsman was on 69 and Hussey ended the day on 79*. The bowlers kept chipping away at the other end, Yadav removing Siddle and Ashwin removing Lyon as Australia reached 179/8 at Stumps with a lead of 230.
India will want to bowl Australia as early as possible tomorrow, hoping to keep their target to less than 275, keeping in mind their collapse from the morning.