Dravid puts India in contention

Australia 556 v India 477-7
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The Independent Online

Rahul Dravid ended the third day on an unbeaten 199 as India played their way back into the second Test against Australia in Adelaide.

The hosts racked up 556 all out on Saturday, leaving India with an uphill struggle to avoid the follow-on. But Sourav Ganguly's men were up for the fight and, after resuming on 180 for four, batted well on a flat pitch to reach 477 for seven at stumps. Dravid was the star but VVS Laxman also played his part, cracking 148, as the pair put on 303 for the fifth wicket.

India put on 28 runs from the first 17 overs before the pair broke free with some wonderful shots. The two Indians inspired one of the game's great comebacks with their 376-run stand against Australia in Calcutta two years ago, and they did it again with Dravid making 199 not out and Laxman 148 in a fifth-wicket stand of 303.

"We've batted a lot together over the years so that helps and we knew we'd done it once earlier," Dravid said.

While their stand of two years ago swung the series India's way, this match is still wide open after the tourists finished just 79 runs behind Australia's total.

Dravid was strong on the front foot, looking to drive through the covers at every opportunity, while Laxman preferred to exploit the on-side.

Australia eventually made the breakthrough in the last over before tea as Laxman flashed at a wide ball from Andy Bichel but Dravid remained and, in tandem with Anil Kumble, saw India through to stumps.

(Third day of five; Australia won the toss)

AUSTRALIA - First innings 556 (R T Ponting 242, S M Katich 75, J L Langer 58; A Kumble 5-154).

INDIA - First innings Overnight 180 for 4:
R Dravid not out 199
V V S Laxman c Gilchrist b Bichel 148
P A Patel c Ponting b Katich 31
A B Agarkar c MacGill b Katich 11
A Kumble not out 1
Extras b4 lb2 w2 nb2 10
Total (for 7, 143 overs) 477

Fall: 1-66 2-81 3-83 4-85 5-388 6-447 7-469

To Bat: I K Pathan, A Nehra.

Bowling: Gillespie 34-12-87-0; Williams 23-7-72-0; Bichel 26-3-114-4; MacGill 35-7-121-0; Katich 15-3-58-2; Waugh 9-2-15-0; Ponting 1-0-4-0

Umpires: R E Koertzen and D R Shepherd.