Double tons put India in command

India 613 for 7 (declared) v Australia 50 for 0
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The Independent Online

Record breaking double centuries to Gautam Gambhir and V.V.S Laxman lifted India to a commanding 613 for seven and into control of the third cricket test against Australia.

Anil Kumble's declaration after Laxman reached his double hundred left Australia with 15 overs to survive until stumps on the second day of the match.

Simon Katich was 29 not out and Matthew Hayden was unbeaten on 16 as the openers cut the deficit by 50 runs.

Gambhir and Laxman's twin double centuries - the first time two Indian batsmen have scored double centuries in the same test innings - raised further questions over the depth of Australia's bowling.

Laxman, who finished unbeaten on 200, continued the onslaught against the wilting tourists in the wake of Gambhir's marathon 206.

The talented right-hander combined with Gambhir in a 278-run fourth-wicket partnership that significantly reduced Australia's chances of recording the victory it needs to square the four-match series after losing the second test by 320 runs last week.

Laxman resumed the second day on 54 and played some strong drives and worked the ball cleverly during his sixth century - and his second double - against Australia.

His 13th hundred, in his 99th test, came when he stroked Cameron White for four through cover, bringing up his 10th boundary from his 171st delivery.

Laxman continued to flay the visiting attack in the second session and he reached 200 by lofting Michael Clarke over mid-on for two. His innings lasted 301 balls and he hit 21 fours.

His highest score of 281 came against Australia in 2001, when India rallied to win the series after losing the first test and being forced to follow-on in the second.

Gambhir's innings, which lasted 550 minutes and 380 balls, finally came to an end when he inside-edged Shane Watson and was bowled in the second session.

The hosts resumed today at 296-3, with Gambhir going back to the crease knowing he would face a disciplinary hearing at the close of play after being charged by the match referee for his collision with Watson on day one.

But he showed no constraints, quickly posting his 150 in the second over of the morning and moving freely toward his maiden double-century, which came with a glance off Brett Lee.

He had a reprieve on 176 when his edge to legspinner White could not be taken by a diving Hayden at slip.

Gambhir's career-best score - including 26 fours and one six - helped India to 435-4 when he departed.

Sourav Ganguly fell nine runs later when he drove part-time spinner Katich to Ricky Ponting at short cover.

Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who hit two fours and a six from one Katich over, was removed for a quickfire 27 when he edged Watson to wicketkeeper Brad Haddin.

The Australians took only three wickets on the first day and the pacemen were flat again on the second.

Watson was the only quick bowler to break through until Mitchell Johnson trapped Kumble lbw for 45 shortly before the declaration. Johnson finished with 3-142 while Watson picked up 2-66 from 20 overs.

Another serious concern for the visitors is that the pitch is expected to produce uneven bounce and more turn from day three.