Ton-up Hayden and Mark Waugh hammer India in third Test
MADRAS, India, March 18 (AFP) - Matthew Hayden and Mark Waugh smashed 150 runs in 153 minutes for the third wicket to lift Australia to 248-3 by tea on the opening day of the third and decisive Test against India here on Sunday.
Left-handed Hayden was unbeaten at the break on 106, following his 119 in the first Test at Bombay and 97 in the second at Calcutta.
Mark Waugh hit seven fours and a six in his fluent 70 before he holed out in the deep to give debutant leg-spinner Sairaj Bahutule his first Test wicket.
Captain Steve Waugh was the other batsman at the crease on 12, which included a six off Harbhajan Singh.
The Aussies, who hit 140 runs in the morning session after electing to bat first, continued their assault on the Indian attack by adding 108 in the two hours after lunch.
Hayden has so far hit nine boundaries and five sixes in the first two sessions of play.
The new-look Indian spin attack toiled in vain in good batting conditions, their job made harder by the oppressive heat and humidity.
Off-spinner Harbhajan, whose 13-wicket haul helped India win the second Test at Calcutta and level the series, was hammered for 87 runs in 19 overs.
Bahutule went for 36 in 10, while left-armer Nilesh Kulkarni conceded 53 from his 18 overs.
Australia lost Michael Slater off the third ball of the match when he edged left-arm seamer Zaheer Khan to Venkatsai Laxman at first slip.
Despite the early loss, Hayden and Justin Langer hit the bowlers around the ground to rattle up 67 in the first 40 minutes.
Langer, who made a run-a-ball 35, hit six boundaries and a six before Harbhajan beat him in the air and forced an easy catch to Rahul Dravid at first slip.
India would have been in a better position had debutant wicket-keeper Sameer Dighe, replacing the injured Nayan Mongia, run out Hayden and then stumped Mark Waugh when he was on nine.
Hayden hit two sixes each off Harbhajan and Kulkarni before lunch, bringing up his half-century with one that sailed into the crowd at long-on.
Leg-spinner Shane Warne was, meanwhile, retained in the Australian team despite coach John Buchanan's reservations. Off-spinner Colin Miller replaced fast bowler Michael Kasprowicz.