Australia crushed India by 122 runs in the opening Test, destroying their vaunted batting lineup with pace to claim a decisive victory inside four days at the MCG.
India, chasing a historically challenging 292 for victory, were never in the hunt after they crashed to 81 for six with the crucial loss of Sachin Tendulkar’s wicket late in the middle session. The tourists, yet to win a series in Australia in 64 years, were routed for 169 off 47.5 overs after Australia squeezed another 61 runs from their remaining two wickets.
James Pattinson led with four for 53, while Peter Siddle claimed the prized scalp of Tendulkar (32) to again keep his 100th international ton on hold.
‘Fantastic’ win for us’
“I wasn’t even born when Tendulkar started playing cricket, so to go out there and bowl against him and have some success against their batsmen is unbelievable,” said Pattinson who won his second man-of-the-match award in three Test. “And to get a win is even better.
“It’s fantastic to get a win against India, who we love beating. We were in trouble last night but credit goes to Ricky Ponting and Michael Hussey for getting us out of that.
“We’ve just got this never-say-die attitude sort of feeling in the camp at the moment and it’s a great feeling.”
In three Tests, the youngster from Victoria has captured 20 wickets and impressed with his batting at number nine.
It was a bowlers’ Test match with no batsman scoring a century; Hussey came the closest with 89 in the second-innings. Australia’s pace trio Pattinson, Ben Hilfenhaus and Siddle maintained a full line and length and never let up on the Indian batsmen, much to the disappointment of their captain MS Dhoni.
Need to score more: Dhoni
“We should’ve been able to chase 300 with the kind of batting we’ve got,” said Dhoni. “The bowlers did a good job and got us back into the game, but the batting needs to click.
“We need to score more runs. Otherwise, it would be difficult for us to win. We need to apply ourselves more. If we do that I have no doubt that we will come back strongly.”
India, 24 for one at lunch after losing Virender Sehwag for seven, unravelled in the second session with five wickets tumbling for 93 runs. Gautam Gambhir fell for 13, while Rahul Dravid was bowled for just 10 for the second time in the match.
VVS Laxman and Virat Kohli also failed to stick around and with Tendulkar’s disappointing dismissal, many Indian supporters started leaving the ground.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 30th, 2011.
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