India win Hyderabad Test by innings and 135 runs
Spinners R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja produced a mesmerising spell as India crushed a clueless Australia by an innings and 135 runs in less than three and half days to win the second cricket Test and take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the four-match series here today.
R Ashwin grabbed five for 63 while Ravindra Jadeja took three for 33 as Australia displayed surprising lack of fighting spirit to be skittled out for a meagre 131 in 67 overs in their second innings.
The match lasted only two hours on the fourth day as it was an abject surrender by the Australian batsmen who had no answer to the questions posed by Ashwin and Jadeja on a turning track at the Rajiv Gandhi International stadium.
The visitors needed 192 runs to avoid an innings defeat but they lost the final eight wickets in 35 overs with an addition of only 57 runs to their overnight total. When Ashwin dismissed Pattinson to get the final wickets, the 10,000-odd spectators erupted in joy but the celebration from the Indian camp was a muted one as they only engaged in handshakes.
Cheteshwar Pujara was deservingly awarded the man-of-the-match award for his double hundred. The teams now have an eight-day break before the third Test in Mohali but the way this series has panned out, there is unlikely to be any change of script in the third Test where the hosts would be aiming to wrap up the series. It's a well-documented fact that Australians can't play spin bowling which was endorsed by Pujara but what was sad to see was their inability to even put up a fight.
Such was the domination of the Indian spinners that Australia lost their last three wickets for an addition of only one run in 10 overs. The last Test played over here against New Zealand also ended inside four days but it was more to do with majority of the second day's play being washed out.
With this win, Mahendra Singh Dhoni became the most successful Indian captain, eclipsing Sourav Ganguly's record of 21 Test wins.
The technique and ability of the Aussies to counter the Indian spinners was nothing better when compared to the Kiwi batsmen. The day started with Ishant Sharma removing Shane Watson in the third over. The lanky pacer had bowled a lot of better deliveries in the series but never got close to getting a wicket. When he finally did get one, it was off a poor delivery.
The ball was drifting down leg-side and Watson, trying to glance it down fine leg, only managed to give Mahendra Singh Dhoni a catch. The imposing all-rounder managed only 9 and his form would be a massive headache for the Aussies as he is in the team only as a batsman. Australian captain Michael Clarke, who shoulders the bulk of scoring responsibility due to the team's brittle line-up, announced his arrival at the crease with a six off Ravindra Jadeja. He came down the track to lift the left-arm spinner over long-off.
However, Jadeja had the last laugh when he bowled a beauty to get rid of the rival skipper. He tossed the ball up on the leg-middle line and Clarke tried to play a forward defensive stroke but it turned a shade away to knock the off-stump back. Clarke made 16 and with his departure, any chance of a gritty fight looked over as the skipper has been Australia's best player of spin bowling.
Boosted by the prized scalp of Clarke, Jadeja was spitting fire and it was a matter of time before he disposed off the challenge of Ed Cowan (44). The left-handed opener had faced 150 deliveries but never looked like getting settled. Jadeja bowled a faster one and Cowan rocked on the backfoot trying to play the square-cut.
Cowan only managed to edge it and the ball hit Dhoni's pads before flying off to Sehwag at first slip. Jadeja's success with the ball also translated into a good show in the field as his direct throw found Moises Henriques (0) short of his ground.
Matthew Wade had pushed an Ashwin delivery towards cover and wanted a quick single. Jadeja was off in a flash as he picked up and successfully aimed at the stumps. From 111 for six, it soon became 123 for seven as Ashwin got his third wicket with a wrong 'un as debutant Glenn Maxwell tried to flick it and was caught plumb in-front. Peter Siddle was snapped up by Sehwag in the slips as India got their eighth wicket.
Wade became Ashwin's fourth victim and the ninth wicket to fall. The umpires then decided to extend the first session by 30 minutes as per norms to finish the proceedings. And it ended soon after when Ashwin trapped tailender James Pattinson, who had failed to get off the mark despite facing as many as 27 deliveries.
For India, the performance in the two Tests till now leaves little room for the selectors to experiment. The only worry will be Virender Sehwag's continuous poor form as they decide on the squad for the last two Test matches.