Aussies start well in Nagpur - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Aussies start well in Nagpur

By Will Swanton 26/10/2004 09:59:07 PM Comments (0)

Damien Martyn has gone where not even Matthew Hayden has gone before.

Martyn stroked his second straight century on Indian soil, a feat that eluded Hayden during his all-conquering efforts on the sub-continent three years ago, as Australia moved another step closer to the Border-Gavaskar Trophy by posting a competitive 7-362 on day one of the third Test at the VCA Ground.

In another engrossing day, Australia started well, India fought back. Australia took the upper hand again, India fought back again. Australia finished with their noses just in front partly because India dropped four catches and missed a stumping chance.

Coming off his 104 at Chennai, Martyn stroked another eye-pleasing 114 as the injured Darren Lehmann (70) and effervescent Michael Clarke (73no) offered valuable support to keep Australia on track to win a series in India for the first time since 1969.

Silencing a vocal crowd that had turned up hoping to see Sachin Tendulkar flay Australia's bowlers, they were treated instead to another Martyn pearl. He hit 16 fours - a selection of classical drives and cuts and flicks off his pads - and belted Anil Kumble for six just two balls before his departure.

As though the six had given him an uncontrollable rush of blood, Martyn tried another swipe only to loft a catch to Ajit Agarkar at mid-off.

Critics were calling for Martyn's head last Australian summer after a string of low scores following his return from a broken thumb suffered at the World Cup. At the height of his troubles, he was reprimanded by Cricket Australia for giving a television cameraman a one-finger salute after a training session, but he had both arms in the air in another moment of personal triumph when he reached three figures.

It was his ninth Test hundred.

Hayden's unforgettable 2001 series went 119, 28 not out, 97, 67, 203 and 35.

Australia was 3-68 before Martyn and Lehmann put on 148 runs. Lehmann suffered a torn right hamstring that could end his career and was dismissed almost straight away, bringing Clarke to the crease. Playing with controlled aggression, the 23-year-old continued his golden start to Test cricket in another cracking two-hour knock highlighted by 11 boundaries.

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