Tendulkar Helps India Finish Off Australia In Style
India 572 (Dhoni 224, Kohli 107) & 50-2 beat
Australia 380 (Clarke 130) & 241 by 8 wickets
First Test, Chennai
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Report by Chetan Narula in Chennai
India wasted little time in wrapping up an eight-wicket victory over Australia on the final day of the first Test in Chennai, Sachin Tendulkar applying a flourish at the finish with a couple of big sixes shortly before the winning runs were hit.
Australia were only able to add nine runs to their overnight score before they were bowled out for 241 in their second innings, and India reached 50 for the loss of two wickets to go 1-0 up in the four-match series.
Moises Henriques was left stranded on 81 not out when Nathan Lyon was caught by Murali Vijay off Ravindra Jadeja for 11.
India then lost Virender Sehwag for 19 and Vijay for six but eased to their target with Tendulkar unbeaten on 13 in 10 balls and Cheteshwar Pujara on eight.
The visitors had done well to stretch the game into the fifth day, with a fighting partnership between Henriques and Lyon; the pair had added 57 runs in the final hour of play on day four, but they could only get nine more on the final morning.
The hosts took just 25 minutes to take the final wicket when Jadeja ended Lyon's doughty resistance. He made 11 runs off 77 balls, with one four. It meant that Henriques was left stranded, on 81, after a superb rear-guard second fifty in the match. He faced 148 balls and batted 159 minutes, hitting six fours and two sixes.
Australia’s innings ended at 241, with a lead of 49 runs. Ravichandran Ashwin finished with 5-95, that gave him a match haul of 12-198, his second best Test figures. Jadeja took 3-72, while Harbhajan Singh returned 3-55 as the Indian spinners accounted for all 20 Australian wickets in the match.
India’s opening pair wobbled in pursuit of the minor target. Murali Vijay (6) was out playing another loose shot, again to James Pattinson (1-13), while Virender Sehwag hung around a tad longer to score 19 runs. He was out to Lyon (1-29), pushing forth a defensive prod, and India were reduced to 36 for two.
That brought out Tendulkar, perhaps for the final time at Chennai, and he smacked the first two balls he faced, off Lyon, for consecutive sixes.
Victory came two overs later, when Pujara’s edge wasn’t caught by wicket-keeper Matthew Wade.
The second Test begins in Hyderabad on Saturday (2nd March).
Michael Clarke: "I am not sure we picked the right bowling combination, although we wanted to go in with our strength. But we will got Hyderabad and assess the conditions there before taking a final call on our team combination.
"I am not sure whether changes in the batting order will help things. You have to score runs wherever you bat, at five or seven. We were outplayed by India, we need to bat and bowl better.
"The pitch was good for Test cricket. The match lasted five days and gave us a result, that is what I look for in the five-day game.
"I am delighted for Moises Henriques, he was very comfortable playing Test cricket. He has been playing domestic cricket for some time and making waves there. It is great to see him come up through the system."
Mahendra Singh Dhoni: "I am very happy with this win, especially with the way our spinners bowled. The pitch seemed worse than it actually was and the turn was very slow.
"Ashwin bowled superbly, he was a lot more consistent than the England series. He has a lot of variations but needs to pitch the ball at a consistent line and length. Harbhajan Singh was a little nervy in the first innings but settled down well in the second and supported Ashwin.
"Vijay needs to be given a little more time and he needs to be made comfortable in the side. Playing Jadeja works for us in the short term, as we need to play to our strengths. But he has to improve his batting.
"As long as Jadeja plays, I will continue to bat at number six. The onus of scoring runs is on the top six batsmen, but it has not brought me any more added responsibility. It hasn’t changed my thinking at all. We batted for more than four sessions, which was extremely good.
"Virat’s hundred was superb and even though Pujara and Sachin did not get big scores, their partnership was very vital."
© Cricket World 2013
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