Batting collapse leads to India's 4-wkt loss against Australia

Batting collapse leads to India's 4-wkt loss against Australia

A listless India capitulated to a four-wicket defeat in the second cricket Test against Australia with an inept batting display by the top-order to give the hosts an invincible 2-0 lead in the four-match series here today.

Resuming at the overnight score of 71 for one, the visitors lost four wickets in quick succession with an addition of only 16 runs and were eventually bowled out for 224 in 64.3 overs.

Chasing a paltry victory target of 128, Australians lost as many as six wickets but were always in control as they knocked off the required runs with more than a day to spare in what turned out to be a miserable fourth day for the Indians at the Gabba.

Nothing seemed to go right for the visitors when play started this morning with regular opener and overnight unbeaten batsman Shikhar Dhawan (81) not coming out to bat.

Dhawan, apparently suffered an injury to his right wrist during the morning practice session which led to Virat Kohli (1) coming out with Cheteshwar Pujara (43).

Kohli's early departure virtually triggered off the collapse as Mitchell Johnson ripped through the top-order and finished with figures of four for 61 while Josh Hazlewood (2/74), Mitchell Starc (2/27) and Nathan Lyon (2/33) also chipped in.

Had it not been for 60-run eighth wicket partnership between Dhawan and Umesh Yadav (30), India wouldn't have been able to set a three-figure target.

Australian run-chase was marked by two early jolts with David Warner (6) and Shane Watson (0) and though they continued to lose wickets, the target was never beyond reach.

Mitchell Marsh's cover drive brought about the victory triggering off scenes of celebrations in the Australian camp as the players hugged each other.

The defeat also brought to the fore India's dismal record outside the sub-continent with their 15th defeat in the last three and half years.

Mahendra Singh Dhoni's poor track record as Test captain in overseas conditions continued as he lost his 14th Test match outside the sub-continent. Dhoni has now lost seven Tests in England, four in Australia, one in New Zealand, one in South Africa since 2011.

The two teams will now travel to Melbourne for the 'Boxing Day' Test with Australia needing a win or atleast a draw to regain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.

Even though there couldn't be excuse for abject surrender, India did suffer due to a few umpiring howlers with Rohit Sharma (0) and Ravichandran Ashwin (19) being adjudged out when the TV replays showed that there was no nick.

However one can't deny that Indian batsmen were done in by the extra bounce.
When Australia chased, Chris Rogers (55 runs, 57 balls, 10 fours) and Steve Smith (28 runs, 39 balls, 4 fours) added 63 runs for the third wicket to lay the platform which ensured that Australia reached home safely despite the fall of a few wickets.

Rogers brought up his seventh Test half-century off exactly 50 balls, playing the aggressor as the Australian batsmen scored at a good pace. Their 50-mark came up in the 13th over and only two overs later they celebrated their 50-run stand.

India suffered a blow to any hopes they had of winning the match when Smith, on nine, was dropped in the 14th over off Varun Aaron (0-38) by Virat Kohli at second slip. Then came the hiccups with Rogers the first to go, caught at third slip off Ishant Sharma (3-38).

Shaun Marsh (17) then added a quick-fire 29 runs for the 4th wicket with Smith, before being dismissed off Umesh Yadav (2-46) in the 21st over, caught behind as he tried to clip one to the leg-side.

Smith was run-out in the very next over, and when Brad Haddin (1) was caught at fine leg in the 23rd over, there was still some cricket left to play as Australia struggled to 122/6. But Mitchell Marsh (6 not out) and  Mitchell Johnson (2 not out) had none of it, taking their side home without any more fuss.

Just before tea, Ishant took two quick wickets to send back David Warner (6) and Shane Watson (0), reducing the hosts to 25/2 at the break and raising visions of a tough fight-back from the tourists.

Earlier, in the post-lunch session, Dhawan played on with an injured wrist and scored a brave 2nd Test half-century. He brought up the mark off 101 balls in the 49th over as India hoped he would bat long enough in the company of the tail and help put on a competitive total.

He did so well enough with Yadav (30 runs, 42 balls, 2 fours, 2 sixes) as the 8th wicket partnership yielded 60 runs.

They brought up their 50-partnership in the 57th over and two overs later then India crossed the 200-mark, a feat thought impossible halfway through the morning session.

Dhawan though was out in the next over itself, 60th over of the innings, trapped leg before by Nathan Lyon (2-33). He scored 81 runs, facing 145 balls, with 8 fours.

It signalled the end for the visitors' batting as Aaron (3) didn't last too long against the off-spinner and Yadav was later snapped up by Mitchell Johnson (4-61).

In the morning session, India had collapsed from their overnight score of 71/1 to 87/5 as the hosts took firm control of the match.

Dhawan did not come out to bat first thing in the morning because he had been hit on his right wrist while batting in the nets before play.

Virat Kohli (1) was also hit on the left forearm as well but he shook off that injury to come out to bat with Cheteshwar Pujara. But it didn't work out too well for the Indian team.

Johnson took three wickets for 10 runs in the space of 11 balls as he rocked the Indian batting order. Kohli was the first to go, in the 27th over, playing on to his stumps, an inside edge doing the job for the bowler.

Eight balls later, in the 29th over, he removed Ajinkya Rahane (10) with one that rose up and the batsman had no chance to fend it off and was caught at backward point.

Two balls later, Rohit Sharma (0) was gone edging the ball to keeper Brad Haddin as the Indian second innings lay in tatters.

Matters became worse when in the very next over, Josh Hazlewood (2-74) trapped skipper MS Dhoni (0) in front of the wickets and India had lost four wickets for just 16 runs in the morning's play.

Ravichandran Ashwin (19) then joined Pujara in the middle and the two batted for a little while, restoring some sanity to the proceedings. The duo added 30 runs for the 6th wicket and helped India take the lead as the 100-mark came up in the 34th over.

But Mitchell Starc (2-27) dismissed Ashwin, caught behind as well, in the 37th over as the morning continued to unravel for India. Dhawan came out to bat next, his wrists heavily strapped up and with pain-killing injections, and added another 26 runs with Pujara.

The latter went on to score 43 runs, almost oblivious of the carnage at the other end, facing 93 balls and hitting 7 fours. Hazlewood then returned to end his vigil at the crease just prior to the lunch break, and the batsman was caught at point to complete a ruinous morning's play for the visiting side.

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