Cricket: Prasad shows his frustration

Australia 332-5 v India
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ADAM GILCHRIST and Ricky Ponting hit half-centuries to put Australia in a commanding position in the Second Test against India yesterday before a thunderstorm washed out the second day.

Gilchrist scored 77 not out while Ponting made an unbeaten 59 as Australia reached 332 for 5 in their first innings at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. Play was abandoned two hours early at tea when the ground was flooded after a heavy downpour left pools of water on the playing surface.

The storm spoiled what had been a productive day for the Australians, who are chasing their sixth Test win on the trot after opening their three- match series against India with a 285-run win in Adelaide. Conscious of the threat of rain, Australia's batsmen wasted little time chasing runs after starting the second day at 138 for 3.

The Australian opener Michael Slater added 27 to his overnight score of 64 before departing for 91, pulling a long-hop from India's paceman Venkatesh Prasad straight to Javagal Srinath at fine leg. It was the eighth time in his Test career that Slater had fallen in the "nervous nineties" and the second time in six weeks.

Prasad rubbed salt into Slater's wounds by performing a crude jig in front of the departing batsman. It earned a caution from the umpire David Shepherd and an appointment with the match referee, Ranjan Madugalle, who found the bowler guilty of bringing the game into disrepute and issued him with a suspended penalty on condition that he does not offend again in the next four months. If Prasad is found guilty of bringing the game into disrepute during that period, he will be fined a third of his match fee, around pounds 600, and banned for one Test or two limited-overs internationals.

Waugh joined Slater in the pavilion shortly after when he edged Prasad behind for 32 with the total on 197 before Gilchrist and Ponting put together a 135-run partnership.

Second day; India won toss

AUSTRALIA - First Innings

(Overnight: 138-3)

M J Slater c Srinath b V Prasad 91

*S R Waugh c M Prasad b V Prasad 32

R T Ponting not out 59

A C Gilchrist not out 77

Extras (1b 8lb 1w 12nb) 22

Total (5 wickets, 93 overs) 332

Fall: 1-4 2-28 3-123 4-192 5-197

To bat: S K Warne, B Lee, D W Fleming, G D McGrath.

Bowling: Srinath 22-4-101-2; Agarkar 22- 6-64-1; Venkatesh Prasad 24- 6-88-2; Ganguly 2-0-10-0; Kumble 23-3-60-0.

Umpires: S J Davis and D R Shepherd (Eng).