[QODLink]
Sport
Laxman leads India to thrilling win
Injured batsman scores 73 not out supported by tail-ender Ishant Sharma to beat Australia by one wicket in first Test.
Last Modified: 05 Oct 2010 14:04 GMT
Ojha runs to celebrate with Laxman after standing firm at the crease to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat [AFP]

VVS Laxman scored a brilliant unbeaten 73 as India clung on to win an incredible first Test against Australia by one wicket – while two dubious lbw decisions made all the difference in Mohali.

Tail-ender Ishant Sharma looked to have saved the match as he put on a ninth-wicket stand of 81 with Laxman but he was given out leg-before by a delivery that was swinging outside leg from Ben Hilfenhaus.

That left the hosts needing 11 runs to win with last man Pragyan Ojha at the crease with Laxman.

But with six to win, Mitchell Johnson caught Ojha plumb lbw only for the batsman to be given not-out by umpire Billy Bowden – and a poorly backed up shy at the wickets from Steven Smith gave India four overthrows.

Two leg byes knocked off the total and sent relief surging round the Punjab Cricket Association Stadium as Laxman finished unbeaten on 73.

It also put paid to the chance of only the third tied match in Test history.

'One of the best'

"It's one of best and most exciting Test matches I've played in," said Australia captain Ricky Ponting, who has never led the side to a Test victory in India.

Day five scorecard

Australia first innings 428
India first innings 405
Australia second innings: 192

India second innings: (o/n 55-4)

G Gambhir lbw b Hilfenhaus 0
V Sehwag c Hussey b Hilfenhaus 17
R Dravid c Paine b Bollinger 13
S Tendulkar c Hussey b Bollinger 38
S Raina c North b Hilfenhaus 0
Z Khan c Clarke b Hauritz 10
VVS Laxman not out 73
MS Dhoni run out 2
H Singh c Ponting b Bollinger 2
I Sharma lbw b Hilfenhaus 31
P Ojha not out 5
Extras: 25
Total (for 9; 58.4 overs) 216
FoW: 1-0 2-31 3-48 4-48 5-76 6-119 7-122 8-124 9-205. 

"Full credit to India for fighting out the win today. They outplayed us today, we weren't quite good enough."

Resuming on 55 for four wickets on Tuesday and chasing a victory target of 216, India appeared dead and buried in the last hour before Laxman and Sharma set up the opening win in a two-Test series.

India had lost a flurry of wickets to slip to 124-8 but Sharma contributed 31 crucial runs in his partnership with Laxman, who was batting with a runner due to a bad back.

Laxman, who averages more than 50 in Tests against Australia, continued to flourish against them and reached his half-century in style off just 48 balls, pulling paceman Hilfenhaus for a four.

His 79-ball knock contained eight fours.

Sharma grew in confidence as the match progressed, hitting five fours in his 92-ball knock.

Fast bowler Doug Bollinger earlier grabbed two wickets in the morning session to keep alive Australia's hopes of winning the match.

Bollinger dismissed Sachin Tendulkar, the world's leading run-scorer in both Tests and one-day internationals, in his second over for 38.

Spinner Nathan Hauritz earlier had nightwatchman Zaheer Khan caught by Michael Clarke at first slip.

Rattled

Hilfenhaus, who rattled India with three big wickets in the final session on Monday, beat the bat on a few occasions in his opening spell on a wearing track but failed to find the edge.

Pressure became the name of the game when skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni walked in to bat, with his team needing 97 to win with only four wickets in hand.

Dhoni did not last long, making only two runs before being caught short of the crease by a direct-hit at the striker's end from Hilfenhaus who ran in from mid-off to throw down the stumps.

Australia continued to maintain the pressure and soon dismissed tail-ender Harbhajan Singh, caught by skipper Ricky Ponting in the slips off Bollinger for two.

The second and final Test starts in Bangalore on October 9.

Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Featured on Al Jazeera
At least 25 tax collectors have been killed since 2012 in Mogadishu, a city awash in weapons and abject poverty.
Tokyo government claims its homeless population has hit a record low, but analysts - and the homeless - beg to differ.
3D printers can cheaply construct homes and could soon be deployed to help victims of catastrophe rebuild their lives.
Lack of child protection laws means abandoned and orphaned kids rely heavily on the care of strangers.
Featured
Booming global trade in 50-million-year-old amber stones is lucrative, controversial, and extremely dangerous.
Legendary Native-American High Bird was trained in ancient warrior traditions, which he employed in World War II.
Hounded opposition figure says he's hoping for the best at sodomy appeal but prepared to return to prison.
Fears of rising Islamophobia and racial profiling after two soldiers killed in separate incidents.
Group's culture of summary justice is back in Northern Ireland's spotlight after new sexual assault accusations.