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Australia falter in bid to win second Test against India

CALCUTTA, March 15 (AFP) - Australia, needing 384 to win the second cricket Test against India, survived a scare to move to 161-3 by tea on the fifth and final day on Thursday.

Openers Matthew Hayden and Michael Slater took the lunch score of 24-0 to 74 when India hit back with three quick wickets.

Off-spinner Harbhajan Singh removed Slater (43) and Justin Langer (28), while left-armer Venkatapathy Raju dismissed Mark Waugh for no score to make it 116-3.

Slater was caught by Sourav Ganguly, while Langer top-edged a sweep to Sadagopan Ramesh at fine-leg. Waugh was declared leg-before when he played back to a straight ball from Raju.

India should have gained another wicket soon after when Steve Waugh glanced Harbhajan to leg slip, but Ganguly spilled the catch after getting both hands to the ball.

Waugh, then on five, went to tea on 23. Hayden was unbeaten on 59.

With just one session left and a draw looming large, Australia are almost certain to end their record streak of 16 consecutive wins.

Earlier, India added 68 runs to the overnight score of 589-4 before declaring their second innings at 657-7 an hour after the start.

Venkatsai Laxman, who hit India's highest Test score of 275 not out on the fourth day, moved to 281 when he was caught at point off Glenn McGrath.

Rahul Dravid, 155 overnight, took his score to 180 before he was run out during a frenetic run hunt by the Indians.

Laxman and Dravid put on 376 for the fifth wicket after India, following on 274 runs behind, were struggling at 232-4 on Tuesday afternoon.

McGrath finished with 3-103, while Jason Gillespie took 2-115.

Left-hander Hayden was fortunate to survive till lunch, surviving two close calls.

Venkatesh Prasad spilled a catch at mid-off when Hayden drove Harbhajan uppishly.

Then, Indian umpire Shyam Bansal turned down Zaheer Khan's confident appeal for a catch at the wicket.

Television replays showed the ball took the inside edge of the bat before carrying to wicket-keeper Nayan Mongia.

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