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Monday, October 20, 2008

India set Australia 516 for second test victory

By N.Ananthanarayanan

MOHALI (Reuters) - India set Australia a massive 516-run target for victory in the second test after the hosts declared their second innings closed midway through the fourth afternoon on Monday.

Led by opener Gautam Gambhir's 104, India raced to 314 for three before stand-in skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni opted to end the innings one hour after lunch.

Indian bowlers, who helped forge a 201-run first innings lead after dismissing Australia for 268, have four-and-a-half sessions to try and seize a 1-0 lead in the four-match series.

The visitors, meanwhile, will probably be content to just hold on for a draw.

Dhoni, who shuffled the batting order to keep the scoreboard moving, scored a breezy 68 not out after making 92 in the first innings.

Australia's bowlers toiled with little success on a dry and slow Mohali pitch where India scored 130 runs from 26 overs in the first session.

Left-hander Gambhir, who made his second test century, and fellow Delhi batsman Virender Sehwag piled on 182 runs for the opening wicket after India had resumed on their overnight 100-0.

Sehwag was dismissed for 90, edging paceman Peter Siddle to wicketkeeper Brad Haddin to miss out on a 16th test hundred on his 30th birthday. The aggressive opener, who survived a caught behind appeal on 88, hit eight fours from 122 balls in three hours.

Gambhir hit seven fours and one six facing 138 balls as both openers fell before lunch chasing quick runs.

Australian skipper Ricky Ponting spread out the field but could not really stem the flow of runs.

Brett Lee, who has been below his best in the series and needed two stitches on an injury to his right hand, removed Saurav Ganguly for 27 in his only spell of the second innings.

On Sunday, all rounder Shane Watson (78) and Mike Hussey (54) helped Australia score 268 as leg spinner Amit Mishra claimed 5-71 on debut to help India take a 201-run first innings lead.

The first test in Bangalore ended in a draw.

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