Australia defy Indian victory push

Adelaide, January 26:

Opener Matthew Hayden scored his 30th Test century as Australia dominated the third day of the fourth and final Test against India here on Saturday.

In reply to India’s 526, the hosts were 322-3 at stumps, with captain Ricky Ponting on 79 and Michael Clarke on 37. The pair had added 81, with the Australians still trailing by 204 and the match seemingly headed for a draw.

Hayden made 103, his 159-run opening partnership with Phil Jaques (60) a record for Australia against India at the Adelaide Oval, and laying the foundation for a big total.

However, just after reaching his century, Hayden was bowled by a superb ball from Ishant Sharma (1-47). Hayden struck 10 fours and one six.

Jaques was the first to go, clean bowled from Kumble. Mike Hussey made just 22, clean bowled by reverse swing from Pathan. India were hampered by the absence of opening bowler RP Singh, who left the field with a hamstring strain late on the second day. Harbhajan Singh struggled to have an impact and failed to take a wicket.

Ponting wasn’t at his prolific best with the bat in the first three Tests and again looked a little out of sorts for much of the day. However, he stuck at his task manfully and had been at the crease for 248 minutes, faced 150 balls and hit six boundaries.

The Indians were certain they had Clarke on 32, caught by Rahul Dravid at slip off spinner Virender Sehwag, but replays showed umpire Billy Bowden was correct to turn the appeal down, the ball coming off the batsman’s forearm.

India’s first innings total of 526 was based around a 153 by batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar and an 87 from Kumble. Australia are 2-1 up in the series and have already retained the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.