|Symonds did not spurn his luck and put India's bowlers to the sword [GALLO/GETTY]|
Australian batsman Andrew Symonds profited from poor umpiring to smash an unbeaten century and see his side take control of the second test against India.
In a thrilling display of big-hitting Symonds put on a record seventh-wicket partnership with Brad Hogg in Sydney to steer Australia away from trouble after they had earlier been reduced to 134 for six.
Symonds ended Wednesday's first day on 137 not out and Hogg chipped in with a classy 79 as the Australians finished on 376 for seven at the close of play.
However the 32-year-old Queenslander had Steve Bucknor to thank after the umpire gave Symonds the benefit of the doubt when he appeared to edged a catch behind off Ishant Sharma when he was on 30.
He had another let-off on 48 when the third umpire, Bruce Oxenford, turned down a stumping appeal off Anil Kumble despite having the benefit of video replays.
Symonds did not need a third reprieve and took full advantage of his good luck by flaying the Indian attack to all corners of the SCG.
He smacked 17 boundaries and two massive sixes as he raced to his second test hundred, while Hogg clubbed 10 fours to post his highest test match score.
The 173 runs put on by the two set a new record for the highest seventh-wicket partnership at Sydney.
Hogg missed his chance for a maiden test century when he was caught by Rahul Dravid at slip off Indian skipper Anil Kumble in the final session.
India, who had vowed to improve after losing the first test heavily in Melbourne, earlier appeared to have the Australians in trouble when Rudra Pratap Singh (4-108) and Harbhajan Singh (2-88) ripped through the top-order in the first half of the day.
After the breathtaking display by Symonds and Hogg was broken up Brett Lee (31 not out) shared an unbroken stand of 69 with Symonds as Australia pressed ahead with their bid to equal their world record of 16 consecutive test wins.
RP Singh captured four early wickets with his deceptive left-arm seamers while Harbhajan bagged two with his wily off-spin and Sachin Tendulkar showed a safe pair of hands by holding three sharp catches at first slip.
|Poor umpiring and poor bowling turned India's |
good start into a struggle [GALLO/GETTY]
RP Singh dismissed openers Phil Jaques for a duck and Matthew Hayden for 13 in the first hour of play to reduce Australia to 27-2 after they had won toss and elected to bat.
The 22-year-old then snared Mike Hussey for 41 and Adam Gilchrist for seven in the middle session after Harbhajan picked up the prized wickets of Ricky Ponting for 55 and Michael Clarke for one, both lbw.
Ponting and Hussey added 92 for the third wicket but departed in the space of three balls after lunch as India captured 4-15 in five overs.
Ponting was unlucky to be given out after television replays showed he made contact with the ball before it struck his pads.
Symonds fared better and made the Indians pay by scoring 98 in the extended last session as Australia passed their first and second innings scores from last week's first test in Melbourne, which they won by 337 runs.
The all-rounder later admitted he should have been given out but said “that’s cricket.”
"I was very lucky. I was out when I was 30, given not out," he told a news conference after the close of play.
"That's cricket though. I can sit here and tell you about my bad decisions as well, but I won't. That's the game. It's just one of those things."
The officials had already been in the spotlight after English umpire Mark Benson incorrectly gave the Australian captain Ricky Ponting out for 55, leg before wicket to Harbhajan Singh, but Symonds was quick to defend the umpires.
"You've got to keep the human element in there. It creates a different feel," he said.
Meanwhile there was further bad news for India when it emerged fast bowler Zaheer Khan is to retrun home from the tour after suffering a heel injury.
Fast bowler Vikram Rajvir Singh will join the squad as a replacement.