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Sehwag foils Australia fightback in Third Test

Part-time off-spinner Virender Sehwag picked three key wickets to thwart Australia’s grim fightback on the third day of the third Test here on Friday.

Sehwag, 30, denied centuries to captain Ricky Ponting (87) and Matthew Hayden (83) before dismissing Michael Hussey (53) as the tourists finished the day on 338-4 in reply to India’s imposing 613-7 declared.

They are still 275 runs behind with six wickets in hand and face the unenviable task of batting on a wearing fifth-day track at the Feroz Shah Kotla stadium.

The tourists, who trail the four-Test series 1-0 after a 320-run thrashing in Mohali, must avoid defeat here if they are to retain the Border-Gavaskar trophy, with one Test to go after this.

Michael Clarke was batting on 21 with Shane Watson on four at close after surviving some close chances against the spinners, who managed to extract good turn from the track.

Ponting hit 14 fours in his fine 163-ball knock and also shared a vital 82-run stand with the in-form Hussey.

The Australian skipper looked set for his 37th ton following his 123 in the drawn Bangalore opener but was bowled by Sehwag, who gave away just 66 runs off his impressive 22 overs.

Ponting is currently second behind India’s Sachin Tendulkar (39) in the highest Test century-makers’ list.

Hayden, 37, too looked in ominous form, belting 13 fours and a towering six in his 154-ball knock for his highest score in the series so far.

The left-handed Queenslander shared 123 runs for the opening wicket with Simon Katich (64) and another 79 with Ponting to lay the platform for Australia’s reply.

His fine innings ended when he was trapped leg-before with a ball that dipped in sharply.

The hosts meanwhile had an injury scare involving leg-spin veteran and captain Anil Kumble.

INDIA 1ST INNINGS: 613-7 decl. (G. Gambhir 206, V. Laxman 200 no; M. Johnson 3-142, S. Watson 2-66)
AUSTRALIA 1ST INNINGS (overnight 50-0):

M. Hayden lbw b Sehwag		83
S. Katich b Mishra		64
R. Ponting b Sehwag		87
M. Hussey b Sehwag		53
M. Clarke not out		21
S. Watson not out		 4

EXTRAS: (b16, lb3, nb6, w1)	26

TOTAL (for four wickets)	338

FALL OF WICKETS: 1-123 (Katich), 2-202 (Hayden), 3-284 (Ponting), 4-326 (Hussey).
BOWLING: Zaheer 16-4-57-0 (nb1), Sharma 19-5-46-0 (nb2, w1), Kumble 17-3-53-0 (nb1),
	 Mishra 30-7-95-1 (nb2), Sehwag 22-4-66-3, Tendulkar 1-0-2-0. 

Overs: 105

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