India feel the Paine
Tim Paine fell eight runs short of his maiden Test century as Australia posted 428 on the second day against India in Mohali.
By Joe Drabble
Last Updated: 03/10/10 12:12pm
Wicketkeeper Tim Paine fell eight runs short of his maiden Test century as Australia posted 428 on the second day of the opening Test against India in Mohali.
The right-handed gloveman helped the tourists reach a competitive first-innings total after Shane Watson (126) had earlier foiled India's bid to stage a comeback.
Paine, playing in only his third Test match, played a mature innings, finding the boundary 12 times to register his highest score.
Zaheer Khan and Harbhajan Singh (3-114) eventually wrapped up the innings, the former finishing with figures of 5-94 from 30 overs.
India made a solid start in their reply, openers Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir adding 81 for the first wicket before both fell to Mitchell Johnson in the final session.
Gambhir was trapped lbw for 25 and Sehwag, who had sped to 59 off 54 balls, miscued to Michael Clarke in the penultimate over of the day to leave India on 110-2 at the close.
Australia, resuming the second day on 224-5, made a cautious start to proceedings as Watson and Paine carried on their watchful approach from the previous day.
The right-handed duo expertly negated the threat posed by Zaheer's reverse swing before Harbhajan finally ended the 53-run partnership late in the morning session when Watson offered a bat-pad catch to Gambhir.
Paine brought up his maiden Test half-century soon after lunch with a quick single off Harbhajan and he and Johnson calmly set about pushing the tourists past 300.
With the bowlers appearing to tire, Paine and Johnson scored at a rate of four per over, with the left-hander hitting a boundary and a six off Pragyan Ojha's successive deliveries as Australia cruised past 350-run mark.
However, the drinks interval did do the trick for India as Zaheer, still using the old ball after 133 overs, found the edge of Johnson's bat through to Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
Johnson's quickfire 47-off 66 balls, which included five boundaries and three sixes, and his 82-run stand with Paine - the second best on the card after Watson and Ricky Ponting's 141-run partnership - propped up the Australia total at a crucial stage of the game.
New batsman Nathan Hauritz had lasted only 21 balls and scored just nine before he was caught sharply at short-leg by Gambhir off a turning Harbhajan delivery.
Paine, in company with Ben Hilfenhaus, saw Australia through until tea, however India polished off the innings swifly after the interval.
Tasmanian Paine missed out on a century when he was caught at second slip by VVS Laxman off Zaheer, who claimed his fifth wicket of the innings.
Ojha, who had been bowling impressively without much luck, finally got his name on the wickets column, when Doug Bollinger holed out at long on.
Hilfenhaus remained unbeaten on 20, but he had been part of a useful 54-run partnership for the ninth wicket with Paine.
That gave India a tricky 21-over spell to negotiate before the close. Sehwag and Gambhir were unflustered though, the pair finding the rope at regular intervals to leave touring skipper Ponting scratching his head.
Sehwag cracked nine fours en route to a 38-ball half-century - his 23rd in Test cricket - only for opening partner Gambhir to fall to Johnson the following over.
Rahul Dravid (21no) then marked his arrival in the middle with a couple of crisp drives through the covers, however the match swung in Australia's favour late on when Sehwag looped up an attempted flick off his hip to Clarke at extra cover.