The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Kumble strikes back after Gillespie blows
- Hosts fall for a paltry 104 - Martyn stands tall amid ruins

Mumbai: India clawed back after a miserable batting display to restrict Australia's first innings lead to 99 runs and keep themselves afloat in the fourth and final cricket Test here on Thursday.

After being blown away for a paltry 104, Indian spinners led by Anil Kumble hit back on a viciously turning track at the Wankhede Stadium to dismiss the visitors for 203 in their first innings.

The seasoned Kumble hemmed in the Australians with his 27th five-wicket haul in Tests, while left-arm spinner Murali Kartik chipped in with four wickets on a dramatic day which saw as many as 18 wickets tumble.

India were five for no loss in their second innings at stumps on the second day with Virender Sehwag (4) and Gautam Gambhir (1) managing to stave off three fiery overs to reduce the lead to 94.

Barring the in-form Damien Martyn who once again rescued the tourists with a defiant 55, none of the other batsmen could come to terms with the unpredictable pitch.

Resuming at 22 for two, the clueless Indians were relieved of their misery for 104 in just 41.3 overs, their lowest-ever total against the Australians at home. The previous worst was 135 all out made in the first innings of the 1959-60 series in Delhi. The total also fell short of the 113, which India had managed against South Africa in the first of the two-Test series held in 1999-2000.

The butter-fingered Indians offered chances to Justin Langer, Adam Gilchrist, Michael Clarke and Martyn. Luckily for the home team, only Martyn made good use of it. Matthew Hayden made 35 with three huge sixes before perishing while trying to give the charge to Kartik, who also accounted for Martyn.

Kumble's five for 90 was his third five-wicket haul of the series. He also surpassed Kapil Dev as the highest wicket-taker at the Wankhede.

Kartik at the other end provided ample support to the leg spinner and returned with figures of four for 44.

Zaheer was immaculate once again in his opening spell as he dismissed Justin Langer for 12. Ponting, playing his first match of the series after an injury layoff, was adjudged leg before.

Earlier, Jason Gillespie decimated the Indian top order with a deadly opening spell of three for 16.

Michael Kasprowicz (2/11) and off-spinner Nathan Hauritz (3/16) then cut a swathe through the lower order.

The lone man to survive at the other end was stand-in captain Dravid, who remained unconquered on 31 after a vigil of 176 minutes.

Gillespie ripped the heart out of India's much-vaunted batting line-up in space of just 12 balls, during which he removed Sachin (5), Laxman (1) and Kaif (2). He finished with four for 29.

Later, speaking to the media, Gillespie termed the Wankhede track as 'a very interesting one'. 'I can't say more about the wicket than saying it's a very interesting track.'

India were in danger of being cleaned up for their lowest ever score at home. But Anil Kumble struck McGrath for three fours in quick succession, the first two in one over, to help India avoid the ignominy. Their lowest score at home was 75 against the West Indies in 1987-88.

Warne hopeful

Injured Australian leg spinner Shane Warne hopes to return for Australia's two-Test series against New Zealand starting from November 18, a report adds from Melbourne.

'I'd say I'm a 50-50 chance for the first test in Brisbane,' Warne said at the Melbourne airport on Thursday after returning home. 'It's broken in two places.' (AGENCIES)

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