Yadav triple strike reduce Aus to 256/3 at lunch

Perth: Umesh Yadav scalped three wickets against the run of play to lift the sagging morale of the Indians on second day morning of the third cricket Test against Australia here today.

Yadav (3/80) claimed the wickets of Ed Cowan (74), Shaun Marsh (11) and Ricky Ponting (7) in a span of 28 runs to give the visitors something to cheer about after Australia resumed the day comfortably placed at 149 for no loss.

Australia, riding on opener David Warner`s blitzkrieg, were 256 for three at lunch, 95 runs ahead of India`s first innings total of 161.

Warner, overnight 104, kept himself firmly in sight of a double century as he went into the break unbeaten on 156 that came off 136 deliveries.

Warner, though, should consider himself lucky to be still there as Virat Kohli dropped a regulation catch at first slip off Zaheer Khan when the left-hander was at his personal score of 126.

But Yadav brought smiles on to the visitors` face with his three wicket burst during a fiery spell of 7-0-38-3.

Left-handed opener Ed Cowan (74) was Yadav`s first victim when he completely missed a delivery from the pacer that snaked past his defensive prod and hit the middle stump.

Shaun Marsh, after scores of 3,0 and 0 from three previous innings, became Yadav`s next scalp when he edged one to third slip, where VVS Laxman accepted a smart catch diving to his left.

Ricky Ponting was comfortable in his stay of six balls and seven runs before a full length delivery from Yadav breached his defence and hit the stumps.

Earlier, Cowan, unbeaten on 40 last night, began dangerously when he hit Zaheer dangerously between the slip cordon for four and then on-drove Ishant Sharma ever so sweetly to widish long on fence.

Warner, at the other end, continued to treat the Indian bowlers with utter disdain. He has so far hit 17 fours and as many as four sixes.

A thunderous pull by Cowan off Yadav raised the 200-run opening stand — only the first in three years by an Australian opening pair after Simon Katich and Phil Jacques` 223-run partnership in Kensington Oval Barbados in 2008-09.

Cowan though departed at the team score of 209 but not before registering his personal best score that came off 120 balls with the help of 10 fours.

Marsh began elegantly enough by a couple of smooth on-drives against Yadav but he was nearly bowled when the latter got a ball go under his bat which somehow missed the leg stump.

Marsh`s luck did not last long as he edged a delivery in the same over to a diving Laxman at the third slip.

Worried about the fatigue factor of his fast bowlers in hot and humid conditions, Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni gave the ball to part-time off-spinner Virender Sehwag after 11 overs this morning.

But Sehwag bowled just three overs before the medium-pacers were again pressed into service from both ends and it paid dividends.