Australia has defeated India and won the first test. In less than two sessions of play Australia, led by Victorian pace pair James Pattinson and Peter Siddle, humbled the Indian batting to win by 122 runs.
Nathan Lyon picked up the final wicket when David Warner beautifully caught Umesh Yadav on the boundary but it was the four wickets of James Pattinson and the important breakthoughs of Siddle – dismissing Sachin Tendulkar twice for the match – that were crucial to Australia’s win.
The Australian pace attack tore through the Indians taking regular wickets and using the available pace and bounce still alive in the fourth day MCG wicket. India’s run chase started poorly when first innings destroyer Ben Hilfenhaus had the dangerous Virender Sehwag caught in the gully for 7 and only deteriorated from there.
Where questions had been asked about the age of Australia’s batting line up heading into this test – at once inexperienced in the top order and too old in the middle order, it will be the age of the miss-firing Indian batting line-up that will be heavily questioned after this match.
Experienced pair Gautam Gambhir and V. V. S Laxman both failed for the second time in this match and veteran Rahul Dravid looked uncomfortable throughout in his innings and tellingly for a man whose solid defence has him dubbed ‘‘the Wall’’ he was bowled twice in the match. The young Virat Kohli also failed in both innings – out for a first ball duck in the second innings – and offered only brittleness to the middle order. Sachin Tendulkar as ever posed as the man to upset Australia’s hopes for victory, for as long as he was at the wicket Australia could never be comfortable, but Peter Siddle the man who dismissed the ‘‘Little Master’’ in the first innings repeated his performance in the second having him caught at gully by Michael Hussey.
The day belonged to Pattinson, who made 37 not out this morning in the last two partnerships to help push Australia’s second innings total out to 240 and so set India a target of 292 to win then followed up his work with the ball taking 4-53. Having taken two wickets in the first innings and making 18 not out it was an outstanding first Boxing Day Test for the local player and earnt him the Man of the Match award.
Having made the early breakthoughs Australia went to lunch with one opener removed and confident that as long as they did not allow one of the obstinate types such as Dravid or Laxman to settle into a partnership and give Tendulkar a pillar to work with they should be able to squeeze the visitors and deny them a chance of victory.
The wickets continued to fall and at 5-68 with Laxman, Dravid and Sehwag all gone it would have required a special performance from Tendulkar with someone such as M.S. Dhoni for the Indians to still mount a challenge. After tea they struck again quickly to move in on victory today and not force the match into its final day.
Siddle picked up spinner Ravi Ashwin caught at short leg from a ball that chased him then Pattinson struck twice with Zaheer Khan caught in the same position after a hard hitting cameo. Captain Dhoni fell next, bowled by Pattinson to leave India a wicket from defeat.
A crowd of 25,865 attended today for a total match attendance of 189,347 – a record for an India-Australia Test match.
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