Australia floored by Gambhir

Opening batsman helps himself to second century in a row

By Graeme Mair.   Last Updated: 30/10/08 11:31am

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Gambhir celebrates his century

Gambhir celebrates his century

Sky Bet

Gautam Gambhir batted throughout the first day to put India in control of the third Test against Australia.

The opening batsman shared century stands with Sachin Tendulkar and VVS Laxman as the hosts piled up 296-3.

Gambhir finished with 149 not out, his second hundred in a row having made 104 in the second innings of the second Test.

India lead the four-match series 1-0 and can clinch the Border-Gavaskar Trophy with victory at Delhi's Feroz Shah Kotla, a venue they have not lost a Test at since 1987.

Australia welcomed back fit-again seamer Stuart Clark at Peter Siddle's expense in the only change to the starting XI that lost the second Test by 320 runs.

Kumble fit

Anil Kumble returned to lead India after missing the Mohali win due to a shoulder injury and made an immediate impact by calling correctly at the toss and opting to bat first on a dry surface.

Kumble's fellow leg-spinner Amit Mishra - who took seven wickets on debut - retained his place at the expense of injured off-spinner Harbhajan Singh.

Brett Lee and Mitchell Johnson both claimed a scalp with the new ball to reduce India to 27-2.

Lee trapped Virender Sehwag lbw for one in the third over of the innings and Johnson - who replaced Lee (1-70) after a fiery opening burst - struck in his first over when Dravid (11) edged a loose drive to first slip.

But Gambhir and Tendulkar saw India to lunch at 67-2 and then launched an afternoon counter-attack.

Leg-spinner Cameron White was belted for 27 runs in a four-over spell as both batsmen completed half-centuries.

Tendulkar falls

The third-wicket stand was worth 130 when Tendulkar edged behind for 68 off Johnson (2-69) just before the tea interval.

But any hopes of an Australian fight back were firmly erased by Gambhir and Laxman, who batted throughout the final session to compile an unbroken 139-run partnership.

Gambhir brought up his personal three figures in style, lifting medium pacer Shane Watson (0-41) over long-on for the first six of his 190-ball knock.

The left-hander also hit 20 fours on the way to reaching the close unbeaten on 149 - the best of his three Test centuries - and was well supported by the unobtrusive Laxman (54no).

Australia's growing frustration threatened to boil over late in the day when part-time spinner Simon Katich (0-17) became embroiled in a verbal joust with Gambhir, prompting umpire Billy Bowden to intervene. Gambhir had earlier upset Watson by nudging him with his elbow while completing a single.

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