Match report: Aus vs Ind – 2nd Test, Day 4
Sydney, Jan 6: Riding high on a commanding lead built largely thanks to Michael Clarke’s triple-ton, Australia finished off India’s second innings with the visitors still trailing by 68 runs to take a 2-0 lead in the four-match series.
After the Australian pacers dismissed them for just 191 on Day 1, their skipper delivered the knockout blow with his bat from which India never quite recovered. Bowled out for 400 on Day 4, the visitors even lost out on a chance to see Sachin Tendulkar score that elusive hundredth ton as the batsman was dismissed by Clarke on 80.
After seeing the day through yesterday, Gautam Gambhir and Tendulkar renewed their innings on a positive note. Having bided his time in the last session of Day 3, Tendulkar scored at a quicker pace today, cutting and driving the ball masterfully. Gambhir too struck the ball well and looked in good nick until he found David Warner at point on 83.
However, the wicket of Gambhir was the only thing that went Australia's way in the first session; the departure of Gambhir brought ‘second-innings hero’ VVS Laxman to the crease. Laxman, who was involved in a record-breaking 353-run partnership with Tendulkar at this venue in the drawn Test in 2004, joined his old partner to milk runs off the Australian bowlers. The wristy player awed spectators with flicks in his trademark style.
By the end of the morning session, the Indians had scored 129 runs and had lost just the one wicket but still had a long distance to cover if they were to salvage the Test.
Laxman reached his half-century with a punch off the back-foot soon after lunch and the duo continued to chip away at the bowlers. But things were about to take a bad turn for the visitors. Tendulkar, who looked in sublime form, fell to a Michael Clarke delivery that eluded keeper Brad Haddin but found Micael Hussey in the slips. With the end of the 103-run partnership between Tendulkar and Laxman, wickets fell in quick succession.
Armed with the new ball, the Australian pacers ran through the lower middle-order with ease. Ben Hilfenhaus pitched the new ball up to Laxman to dislodge his bails and in his next over claimed Indian skipper MS Dhoni. India's nemesis in the first innings, James Pattinson, who was without a wicket so far in the innings, dismissed Virat Kohli in the next over to expose the Indian tail.
With the score on 286, Ravichandran Ashwin and Zaheer Khan came together to take India past the 300-run mark which has been hard to come by in recent times. Refusing to give up without a fight, the tailenders then stretched India’s innings into the last session of the day. R Ashwin, who takes pride in his batting, once again displayed his skill. After swinging his bat around for a quickfire 35 that included a six and five boundaries, Zaheer was sent back by Siddle.
Trapped lbw by Nathan Lyon, Ishant Sharma was the first to walk back to the pavilion in the final session. Ashwin, who delayed India’s defeat with a well-made 62, was the last wicket to fall, caught at midwicket off Hilfenhaus. The bowler finished with a five-for in conditions that did little to aid the fast bowlers.
In the end, it was the batting failure on Day 1 that came back to haunt the Indians even as Australia gained strength almost session by session. The two teams now head to the WACA at Perth for the third Test of the series beginning January 13.
Man-of-the-Match: Michael Clarke for his incredible, unbeaten innings of 329 that demoralised an already subdued Indian unit
At end of Day 4: India 2nd innings 400 all-out in 110.5 overs (G Gambhir 83, SR Tendulkar 80, Ben Hilfenhaus
At end of Day 3: Australia 1st Innings 659/4 decl. in 163 overs (M Clarke 329*, M Hussey 150*), India 2nd innings 114/2 in 41 overs (G Gambhir 68*, SR Tendulkar 8*, B Hilfenhaus 2/37 )
At end of Day 2: Australia 1st Innings 482/4 in 116 overs (M Clarke 251*, R Ponting 134, M Hussey 54* )
At end of Day 1: India 1st innings 191 all-out in 59.3 overs (MS Dhoni 57*, SR Tendulkar 41, J Pattinson 4/43, B Hilfenhaus 3/51, P Siddle 3/55), Australia 1st Innings 116/3 in 26 overs (M Clarke 47*, R Ponting 44*, Z Khan 3/26)