NAGPUR, India (AP) - Australia opener Simon Katich scored his third century since returning to the national team as the visitors clawed back India’s advantage Saturday on day three of the series-deciding fourth test.
Australia went to lunch at 231-3 following a subdued opening session, in reply to India’s 441.
Katich, who was dropped from the test team in 2005, was brought back in May and his 102 from 189 balls added to his fine record of 652 runs at an average of 59.27 over the past seven matches.
Michael Hussey and Katich combined in an unflustered 155-run stand that moved Australia into a position to challenge for the victory it needs here to square the series and retain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.
Katich’s fifth career century came with a four off Ishant Sharma to third man.
The pair added just 40 runs in the morning session before Katich, who was dropped at first slip by Rahul Dravid on 94, was lbw to Zaheer Khan to a ball swinging into the left-hander.
Hussey registered his half-century with an edge through the slips and by lunch was 64 not out from 177 deliveries, while Michael Clarke was unbeaten on 1.
Australia had eased to 189-2 at stumps on the second afternoon - with Katich on 92 and Hussey on 45 - but scoring was much more difficult on the third morning.
India, needing only a draw in this match to claim the series, employed defensive tactics for its pacemen, placing eight fielders on the off-side and bowling outside off stump to restrict the batsmen’s options.
Zaheer Khan (1-60) delivered 12 overs in the morning session for just 19 runs while Sharma went for 11 from nine overs.
India, 1st Innings 441
Australia, 1st Innings
M. Hayden run out 16
S. Katich lbw Khan 102
R. Ponting b Harbhajan 24
M. Hussey not out 64
M. Clarke not out 1
Extras: (12b, 3lb, 2nb, 2w, 5 pen) 24
Total: (for three wickets) 231
Fall of wicket: 1-32, 2-74, 3-229.
Still to bat: S. Watson, B. Haddin, C. White,
B. Lee, M. Johnson, J. Krejza.
Bowling: Khan 20-5-60-1, Singh 19-1-60-1, Sharma 17-7-36-0 (1nb, 2w), Mishra 9-1-31-0 (1nb), Sehwag 6-1-11-0, Tendulkar 2-0-13-0.
Umpires: A. Dar (Pak) B. Bowden (NZ)
TV umpire: S. Shastri (Ind)
Match Referee: C. Broad (Eng)
Toss: won by India
Series: India leads 1-0.