India on top against Australia

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The Independent Online

India ended day four of the second Test against Australia on top as their bowlers shone to leave the visitors on 202 for seven at stumps in Bangalore.

Spinners Pragyan Ojha and Harbhajan Singh claimed three and two scalps respectively over both post-lunch sessions, while pacemen Zaheer Khan and Shantha Sreesanth picked up key wickets in the latter stages.

On a day when Sachin Tendulkar notched up his sixth double hundred in Tests, Ricky Ponting emerged as the visitors' saving grace, his 72 off 117 balls boosting Australia's hopes of levelling the two-match series on the final day tomorrow as the lead reached 185.

Shane Watson and Simon Katich gave Australia a solid start, putting on a 58-run stand at nearly five an over, but spin soon brought India back.

First Ojha trapped Watson lbw for 32, umpire Ian Gould taking his time but raising the finger eventually, and then just three deliveries later, Harbhajan's flighted delivery found Katich's outside edge and he was caught behind for 24.

Ojha then sent back Michael Clarke (three), stumped by wicketkeeper Mahendra Singh Dhoni but Ponting steadied the ship, taking charge of proceedings either side of tea and building a 61-run fourth-wicket partnership with Mike Hussey.

Hussey ended up being Ojha's third victim of the day, trapped leg before for 20, and new man Marcus North did not last long, bowled by a teasing Harbhajan delivery for just three.

Ponting remained largely unperturbed, going past his 55th half-century with two successive boundaries off Harbhajan and, with wicketkeeper Tim Paine, frustrated the home side despite a barrage of appeals.

However, the Australia skipper's innings was brought to a halt by Zaheer, trapping Ponting leg-before, and just a few overs before stumps, Sreesanth got rid of Paine, who had worked his way to a patient 23.

Nathan Hauritz (eight) and Mitchell Johnson (seven) remained at the crease at stumps.

Earlier, Tendulkar started day four on 191 - with India resuming on 435 for five - and the 'little master' showed his class against a refreshed bowling attack to add to his stellar list of innings.

However, Peter George ensured a memorable debut, making Tendulkar (214) his first Test victim and triggering a spate of wickets which saw India bowled out for 495, a lead of just 17.

Following Tendulkar's departure, the last four wickets - Harbhajan (four), Zaheer (one), Dhoni (30) and Sreesanth (zero) - falling for just nine runs.