Perth Test: Australia decimates India, levels series

India lost 5 for 28 on the final day of the second Test, losing it by 146 runs after winning the first Test at Adelaide Oval.

Australia's Nathan Lyon, who was the man-of-the-match, exults after scalping the wicket of Virat Kohli.   -  Getty Images

An hour and five minutes on Tuesday morning, was all that Australia needed to deliver its seal of dominance on the second Test.

Jasprit Bumrah, retreating deep into his crease and seemingly apprehensive about the bouncer, heaved high. The stroke was played more in hope than with any conviction. The ball soared, then gravity took over and as the red cherry descended, Pat Cummins ran back from his follow-through. He waited with bated breath near the non-striker’s stumps. The speedster caught well and then broke into a smile.

As it happened

Tim Paine and the rest of the squad raced towards Cummins and with that dismissal, India was bowled out for 140 in its second innings, while chasing a daunting 287 for a miraculous triumph.

Australia won by 146 runs and drew level at 1-1 in the four-match series while Melbourne (from December 26) and Sydney (from January 3) are set to host the next two Tests.

 

Seeking redemption from the trauma of the ball-tampering controversy that rightly derailed Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft after the Cape Town Test against South Africa, this March, Australia has been searching for a toehold under a new captain. It found one here at the Optus Stadium, though, the series still remains in the balance.

The fifth day’s brief morning session had an easy start as fans trickled in from the Perth Station while the regulars ate their sandwiches, sipped their coffee and watched the action from the Members Stand. The sky was a deep blue, the sun was bright and Nathan Lyon wheeled in the first over.

Resuming at 112 for five, India had to take it one session at a time. There was a forecast for rain later in the day and tenuous hopes were built upon such fickle environmental factors.

But for starters, Hanuma Vihari and Rishabh Pant had to resist and they tried doing that in their differing ways. Yet, Australia’s march towards victory could not be delayed. Mitchell Starc and Lyon were relentless, it was speed and menace at one end, spin and guile at the other, and a wicket seemed imminent.

Australia captain Tim Paine (left) and coach Justin Langer embrace after the win.   -  Getty Images

 

Vihari stretched forward to whip Starc, the ball brushed his bat, cannoned into his thigh pad and lobbed to Marcus Harris at mid-wicket. India was 119 for six and bereft of all dreams as its long tail trooped in and instantly retreated.

Pant struck Lyon for four and it was evident that he would keep swinging his bat. The off-spinner teased a touch wide around the off-stump, Pant could not resist. He leapt out, attempted a hoick, lost his balance but went through with the shot and a diving Peter Handscomb plucked a splendid catch at mid-wicket.

India suffered a freefall and the lower-order just keeled over. Umesh Yadav, flailing under a series of bouncers from Starc, was struck once on his upper torso. Umesh eventually popped one back to the left-arm fast bowler.

 

Next man Ishant Sharma moved away and tried to drill Cummins through the off-side but only managed an edge. Bumrah then walked in and looked distinctly uncomfortable against the short-pitched deliveries, and soon it was time for the Aussies to exult.  

The visitor lasted a mere 15 overs, scored 28 runs and lost its last five wickets. Virat Kohli’s decision to field four fast bowlers meant that India had a fragile tail to contend with. And once Australia gained the upper hand during the first-innings skirmish, the contest had inexorably swung towards Paine’s men.

Now Melbourne awaits with its Christmas fervour.

The scores

Australia – 1 innings: 326 in 108.3 overs.

India – 1 innings: 283 in 105.5 overs.

Australia – 2 innings: 243 in 93.2 overs.

India – 2 innings: K.L. Rahul b Starc 0 (4b), Murali Vijay b Lyon 20 (67b, 3x4), Cheteshwar Pujara c Paine b Hazlewood 4 (11b, 1x4), Virat Kohli c Khawaja b Lyon 17 (40b, 2x4), Ajinkya Rahane c Head b Hazlewood 30 (47b, 2x4, 1x6), Hanuma Vihari c Harris b Starc 28 (75b, 4x4), Rishabh Pant c Handscomb b Lyon 30 (61b, 2x4), Umesh Yadav c & b Starc 2 (23b), Ishant Sharma c Paine b Cummins 0 (5b), Mohammed Shami (not out) 0 (0b), Jasprit Bumrah c & b Cummins 0 (3b). Extras (b-6, w-3): 9. Total (all out in 56 overs): 140.

Fall of wickets: 1-0 (0.4 overs), 2-13 (Pujara, 3.5), 3-48 (Kohli, 19.1), 4-55 (Vijay, 21.5), 5-98 (Rahane, 34.5), 6-119 (Vihari, 46.6), 7-137 (Pant, 53.4), 8-139 (Umesh, 54.6), 9-140 (Ishant, 55.3).

Australia bowling: Mitchell Starc 17-3-46-3, Josh Hazlewood 11-3-24-2, Pat Cummins 9-0-25-2, Nathan Lyon 19-3-39-3.

Australia won by 146 runs.

Third Test at Melbourne from December 26.