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Das and Ramesh give India sound start in final Test

MADRAS, India, March 19 (AFP) - India made a confident start in reply to Australia's 391 in the third and decisive Test on Monday, going to tea on the second day at 107 without loss.

Openers Shiv Das and Sadagopan Ramesh played out the Australian pace attack and then launched into spinners Shane Warne and Colin Miller in the afternoon session.

Das was unbeaten at tea on 56, having reached his half-century by sweeping Warne for his eighth boundary.

Left-handed Ramesh was on 48, matching his partner in elegant strokeplay all round the wicket.

Warne and Miller gave away 33 runs each, while fast bowler Jason Gillespie went for 18 in his first spell of five overs.

Earlier, Australia lost their last seven wickets for 51 runs after resuming at the overnight score of 326-3.

The tourists were bowled out just before lunch, the collapse triggered by the unusual dismissal of captain Steve Waugh who was given out handling the ball.

Off-spinner Harbhajan Singh had a hand in all seven dismissals in the morning session, finishing with figures of 7-133.

It was the third successive major haul for the 20-year-old, who took 13 wickets in the Calcutta Test which helped India level the series 1-1.

Opener Matthew Hayden, who made 147 on the first day, took his score to 203 before he was last man out, holing out in the deep against Harbhajan.

The left-hander hit 15 boundaries and six sixes during his eight-hour vigil at the crease.

Waugh was dismissed in the day's sixth over when he palmed off the ball with his right hand as it appeared to be going towards the stumps following an attempted sweep off Harbhajan.

Indian umpire Avi Jayaprakash, who had rejected the Indian appeal for leg-before, raised his finger soon as the incident occured.

Unfortunately for Harbhajan, the laws of the game do not credit such a dismissal to the bowler.

It was only the sixth instance in Test cricket, and the first since Graham Gooch was dismissed against Australia at Old Trafford in 1993, that a batsman was given out handling the ball.

Waugh's unusual dismissal for 47 saw three wickets fall in the space of 12 deliveries to reduce Australia to 344-6.

Ricky Ponting, who was padded up during Waugh's fourth-wicket stand of 123 with Hayden, was stumped by wicket-keeper Sameer Dighe off Harbhajan's first ball.

The off-spinner then trapped Adam Gilchrist leg-before for one in his next over.

Gilchrist, who bagged a king pair at Calcutta -- out first ball in both innings trying to sweep -- fell to the same stroke for the third time.

Warne also went without scoring, snapped up at short-leg by a diving Das off Harbhajan.

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