Jaffer's 92 puts India on top

Virender Sehwag and Yuvraj Singh both fell cheaply as India returned to action after fears they would quit their crisis-hit tour of Australia.

updated: January 14, 2008 18:14 IST
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India's cricket team was back on the playing field on Thursday in a low-key match, ending three days of controversy after suspending its tour while it protested a ban imposed on spinner Harbjahan Singh and the quality of umpiring.

India declared its first innings closed at 325-9 at Manuka Oval and an Australian Capital Territory invitational side was 10 for no loss in reply at stumps on the first day after India's stand-in captain Mahendra Dhoni won the toss and elected to bat first.

The visitors rested regular skipper Anil Kumble and star batsmen Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly ahead of the third Test beginning January 16 in Perth.

India, which trails 2-0 in the four-Test series, suspended its tour following umpiring and racial abuse controversies in the second Test in Sydney, which ended in a 122-run win by Australia.

The team refused to leave its Sydney hotel after Singh was suspended for three Tests for racially abusing Australian all-rounder Andrew Symonds - he allegedly called Symonds a monkey.

Harbhajan is free to play in Perth pending an appeal. A date for the appeal hearing has not been announced by the game's governing body, the International Cricket Council.

India's cricket board, the BCCI, allowed the team to continue with the tour following the ICC's announcement that West Indian umpire Steve Bucknor had been removed from the list of officials for the Perth Test.

The start of Thursday's tour match came as Australia captain Ricky Ponting said his parents had received abusive phone calls following the second Test win.

''There were a few people who rang in the past few days, having a dig,'' Ponting told News Ltd. newspapers on Thursday. ''It was disappointing for them to have to go through that.''

The 33-year-old Ponting, who played the first of his 114 Test matches at age 20, said his parents were forced to change their phone number following the anonymous calls criticizing the Australian captain and his team.

Kumble accused the Australians of not playing in ''the spirit of the game.''

Ponting said there were elements of the second Test that ''in hindsight you might do a little differently.''

''Everyone likes to see a tough, uncompromising brand of cricket,'' he said. ''But if there are areas in our game to improve on then obviously we need to address that.''