Australia keep hopes alive
Top order set the tone in survival battle
Last Updated: November 1, 2008 11:35am
Ponting: fell 13 short of century
Third Test Match
India 613-7 dec (G Gambhir 206, V V S Laxman 200 no, S R Tendulkar 68) v Australia 338-4 (R T Ponting 87, M L Hayden 83, S M Katich 64, M E K Hussey 53)
Australia's batsmen kept their side in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy series with a solid effort on day three against India in Delhi.
The tourists trail 1-0 in the four-match series and resumed on Friday morning in a deep hole at 50-0 in reply to India's mammoth 613-7 declared.
But half-centuries from the top four - Matthew Hayden, Simon Katich, Ricky Ponting and Michael Hussey - led Australia to 338-4, still 275 behind.
And with the pitch at the traditionally spin-friendly Feroz Shah Kotla holding together better than expected, Ponting's men have a chance to salvage a draw and take the series down to the wire.
Hayden and Simon Katich extended their opening stand to 123 during the morning session.
Their alliance was ended when Katich was bowled for 64 attempting to work leg-spinner Amit Mishra (1-95) into the leg-side.
Hayden, who had survived a testing early spell from his nemisis Zaheer Khan (0-57), was joined by captain Ponting in a 79-run partnership either side of lunch.
The Queensland left-hander hit 13 fours and a six from 154 balls before being trapped plumb in front for 83 by part-time spinner Virender Sehwag.
India skipper Anil Kumble had been forced to leave the field and go to hospital to have stitches put in his finger after dropping a ferocious drive from Hayden - who was on 70 at the time - at midwicket.
The leg-spinner had delivered a barren 17-over spell up to that point and has now sent down 68 overs in the series without taking a wicket.
Ponting and Hussey continued to edge Australia towards to follow-on target of 414, although both fell to the impressive Sehwag (3-66) during the final session.
The off-spinner bowled Ponting (87) between bat and pad as he looked to drive, denying the Tasmanian a 37th Test hundred.
And with less then four overs left stumps Hussey (53) followed his captain back to the pavilion, bowled by a delivery that turned past his forward prod and hit off-stump.
Michael Clarke (21no) and Shane Watson (4no) saw Australia safely to the close.