Aus beat India by 146 runs to level series

Batsman Ishant Sharma walks back to the pavilion after his dismissal as Australian players celebrate during day five of the second Test cricket match between Australia and India in Perth on December 18, 2018. (Photo AFP)

It was just a matter of when rather than if, and it didn’t take Australia too long to wrap up a 146-run victory and level the four-Test series for the Border-Gavaskar Trophy 1-1, going into the third match in Melbourne.

India’s second innings, overnight 112/5, lasted just one hour and five minutes – 140 all out in 56 overs -- as Christmas celebrations began a little early for the hosts. It took about 20 minutes for Australia to dismiss overnight batsman Hanuma Vihari and almost as much time to remove Rishabh Pant. It was then just a formality as the long Indian tail folded shortly after.    

Micthell Starc (3/46) and Pat Cummins (3/39) claimed two each while Nathan Lyon added one more to his kitty (3/39) to hasten India’s end.

Vihari was out in an attempt to flick Starc while Pant’s heave off Lyon was brilliantly snapped up by a diving Peter Handscomb at mid-wicket to open up the tail. Umesh Yadav was out offering a return catch to Starc to become his third victim and for his match haul of five. Starc had copped heavy criticism for his performance in the Adelaide Test and the left-arm quick may just have silenced his critics. Ishant Sharma and Jasprit Bumrah fell without opening their accounts while Mohammad Shami remained unbeaten without facing a ball.

This was Australia’s first win since their victory in Durban against South Africa earlier this year and the first win for Tim Paine as the captain after he took over the reins following the Sandpaper-gate that consumed Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft. Australia would be mighty pleased with this win against a strong Indian team. Coming into the series with an undercooked bating line-up but a world-class attack, this could just be the beginning of their revival.      

If you thought India would be ruing their decision to go with an all-pace attack, Virat Kohli betrayed few signs of it. Instead, he strongly defended playing four quicks at the cost of a specialist spinner whose absence also resulted in a lengthy tail.

“You can think like that,” said the Indian skipper if going to four pacers weakened their batting. “You obviously have two situations that you can think of. When you pick another fast bowler, obviously Ashwin or (Ravindra) Jadeja have more ability with the bat, we all know that. It’s a very tricky decision to make, what kind of a bowling option you want to go with or you want to think that guy can contribute with the bat as well. So, eventually you come to one decision and we back that decision and went ahead with it. Whether it comes off or not, that’s a different thing but we were totally convinced in the team that that was our best combination to go with and the batsmen have to take responsibility. There are lots of variables that can happen during the course of a cricket match but before that, you need to have clarity as to what you want to do and as a side, we were totally clear that this was the combination we wanted to go with,” he offered.    

While India ignored Jadeja, Australia persisted with Lyon whose eight-wicket haul for the match fetched him the man of the match.

 

SCORE BOARD

AUSTRALIA (I Innings): 326 all out

INDIA (I Innings): 283 all out

AUSTRALIA (II Innings): 243 all out

INDIA (II Innings; O/n: 112/5):

Rahul b Starc 0

(4b)

Vijay b Lyon 20

(67b, 3x4)

Pujara c Paine b Hazlewood 4

(11b)

Kohli c Khawaja b Lyon 17

(40b, 2x4)

Rahane c Head b Hazlewood 30

(47b, 2x4)

Vihari c Harris b Starc 28

(75b, 4x4)

Pant c Handscomb b Lyon 30

(61b, 2x4)

Umesh c & b Starc 2

(23b)

Ishant c Paine b Cummins 0

(5b)

Shami (not out) 0

(0b)

Bumrah c & b Cummins 0

(3b)

Extras (B-6, W-3) 9

Total (all out, 56 overs) 140

Fall of wickets: 1-0 (Rahul), 2-13 (Pujara), 3-48 (Kohli), 4-55 (Vijay), 5-98 (Rahane), 6-119 (Vihari), 7-137 (Pant), 8-139 (Umesh), 9-140 (Ishant).

Bowling: Starc 17-3-46-3 (w-1), Hazlewood 11-3-24-2, Cummins 9-0-25-2 (w-2), Lyon 19-3-39-3.

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Aus beat India by 146 runs to level series

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