Australia snatch victory in first Test against India
Thursday 29 December 2011
Australia's pace attack produced a bowling display reminiscent of the side's era of dominance as they swept India aside to secure a 122-run victory in the first Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
The performances of Ben Hilfenhaus, James Pattinson and Peter Siddle carried shades of Jason Gillespie, Brett Lee and Glenn McGrath in their pomp, as the tourists fell some way short of the 292 they had been set to win.
The quick trio bowled with tremendous accuracy throughout a devastating 47.5-over innings that spanned all three sessions on the fourth day, with Pattinson (four for 53) narrowly shading the honours,
But despite the 21-year-old rising star taking the most wickets, it was a collective effort that saw the Baggy Green across the finish line, with the three-pronged attack showing enough to suggest they can spearhead a bid to return to the top of the Test rankings - something that was taken for granted by Australians for almost a decade.
India had occupied that position until their whitewash in England earlier this summer and Mahendra Singh Dhoni's side again showed worrying signs overseas.
The tourists were always likely to be up against it chasing what was a fourth-highest MCG winning total, but their mindset could have been so different had they not allowed Pattinson and Hilfenhaus to take them on with the bat this morning.
When Mike Hussey, who should have been given out when he edged Umesh Yadav behind, was snared by Zaheer Khan for 88, the margin was 249 but, 10 overs of improvised batting from the bowlers later, it was 43 runs greater.
Hilfenhaus fell to Ishant Sharma for 14 and then delivered with the ball in a nine-over spell before lunch, getting one to climb on Virender Sehwag who could only find Hussey in the gully.
India returned after lunch on 24 for one, but by the time they were back in the pavilion for tea, the score was 117 for six as Australia dominated a stunning middle session.
First an out-of-form Gautam Ghambir was tied in knots by Siddle - surviving twice in one over - before diverting an almost unplayable delivery from the same bowler into the hands of Ricky Ponting at second slip.
That brought Sachin Tendulkar to the crease - the master batsman still chasing an elusive 100th international ton - and even he showed signs of pressure as he narrowly avoided a run out from the arm of David Warner.
He had another elder statesman, Rahul Dravid, for company, but that did not last long as 'The Wall' misread one from Patterson and lost his middle stump for 10.
The same bowler then got rid of VVS Laxman, who failed to spot Ed Cowan lurking at square leg when he flicked one off his legs and, when Hilfenhaus (two for 39) trapped Virat Kohli in front for a golden duck, India were sinking fast at 69 for five.
That quickly became 81 for six as Siddle, with the first ball of his second spell, got one to grow on Tendulkar who gave Hussey an easy catch in the gully.
Dhoni and R Ashwin then had a swinging session leading in to tea, but the latter fell just after it for 30, gloving a climber from Siddle (three for 42) to Cowan who had come in to short square leg.
Zaheer Khan decided to have some fun and clubbed Pattinson for six but paid with the very next ball, walking across his stumps to try and hit the 21-year-old out of the ground but only serving to fudge one to the ever-alert Cowan.
Dhoni (23) then lost his off stump to Pattinson as India fell apart at nine for 142 and, although Yadav had a late slog, he perished on 21 when he took on spinner Nathan Lyon and was caught out by a sprinting Warner on the boundary to wrap things up.
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