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India head towards heavy defeat in second Test

CALCUTTA, March 13 (AFP) - India's top order fell to the Australian attack for the second time in the match to leave the tourists in sight of victory in the second Test here on Tuesday.

The Indians, who were forced to follow on 274 runs behind Australia's 445, were 122-3 in their second knock at tea on the third day, still needing 153 more to avoid an innings defeat.

Among the victims was India's main hope, Sachin Tendulkar, who edged a drive off fast bowler Jason Gillespie to wicket-keeper Adam Gilchrist after making 10.

An angry spectator among the 40,000 at the Eden Gardens hurled a water pouch at Tendulkar as he walked back to the pavilion, missing the cricketer narrowly.

Police, however, moved in quickly to restore order and evicted the man from the stadium.

Venkatsai Laxman, promoted to number three after his defiant 59 in the first innings, was unbeaten on 31 at the break.

Captain Sourav Ganguly was on four, needing a big score to salvage his team's reputation on his home ground.

India's openers Shiv Das and Sadagopan Ramesh, who had made 45 in 12 overs before lunch, took the score to 52 when the Australians broke through.

Left-hander Ramesh did not add to his lunch score of 30 when he edged leg-spinner Shane Warne to the slip region where Mark Waugh dived to his right to pick up a low catch.

Das and Laxman appeared to have warded off the crisis by adding a brisk 45 for the second wicket when the tourists earned a lucky break.

Das, who looked composed making 39, played back to Gillespie and disturbed the bails with his right foot to be given out hit wicket.

Earlier, India added 43 runs to their overnight score of 128-8 before being dismissed for 171 in their first innings an hour after the start.

Laxman hit 33 of those runs before he was last man out after making his sixth half-century in 21 Tests.

The stylish Hyderabad batsman hit half of his 12 boundaries past the spread-out field, showing his senior colleagues in the dressing room how to play the bowlers.

Glenn McGrath, who trapped Venkatapathy Raju leg-before in the day's second over, finished with superb figures of 4-18 from 14 overs.

Venkatesh Prasad helped Laxman add 42 for the last wicket before Laxman was caught in the slips off Shane Warne.

Prasad remained unbeaten on seven.

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