India’s batting failed for the second time in the match as Australia’s quicks bowled their side to a 122-run victory on the fourth day in Melbourne. James Pattinson was the chief destroyer with four wickets to earn himself the man of the match award.
The day began with Australia on 179 for eight and James Pattinson at the crease with Mike Hussey. The duo had advanced the score by 18 when Hussey feathered the ball on its way through to MS Dhoni to fall for 89 to Zaheer Khan. The end should have come quickly thereafter for India, but Pattinson (37 not out) and Ben Hilfenhaus played some sumptuous strokes to add a further 43 for the tenth wicket and deflate the visitors ahead of what was always going to be a tricky run chase.
Hilfenhaus eventually fell for 14 to give Ishant Sharma his second wicket, but by then the damage had been done and India were left needing 292 for victory. Matters were not helped by the early loss of Virender Sehwag – who had confidently predicted that his side could chase anything under 300 at the close of play yesterday - for seven, and things only got worse when Gautam Gambhir completed his miserable match by angling a Peter Siddle delivery to Ricky Ponting at second slip just after lunch.
Rahul Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar looked for a while like they might carry on from where they left off in the first innings, with the former dropping anchor and the latter playing one or two delightful strokes. Pattinson, however, had other ideas and found a gap between Dravid’s bat and pad to locate the stumps, before benefiting from a loose stroke from VVS Laxman that found Ed Cowan at square-leg.
The end was not delayed for too much longer, as Virat Kohli was trapped in front first ball by Hilfenhaus, and Tendulkar edged a ball to Hussey in the gully to end his attractive innings of 32 and leave India tottering on 81 for six.
R Ashwin held things up for a while with a determined 30, while Umesh Yadav entertained briefly during his stay of 21, but Nathan Lyon finished things off for the hosts by having Yadav caught on the boundary as he attempted to hit another six. Pattinson ended with figures of four for 53 – including the vital wickets of Dravid and Laxman – from his 15 overs, while Hilfenhaus and Siddle shared five.
All of which means that Australia take a one-match lead in their quest to regain possession of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, while India will be left to reflect on their familiar failing against the full, seaming ball.
© Cricket World 2011
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