Australia go 2-0 up with win at Sydney
Australia went 2-0 up in the 4 Test series against India with their Innings and 68 run win at Sydney on Thursday.
Coming on the back of a 122 run loss against Australia in the first Test at Melbourne, India now find themselves in a position where they have no choice but to win the two remaining Tests at Perth and Adelaide if they are to retain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.
Skipper MS Dhoni won the toss and chose to bat first on Day 1 at Sydney, expecting his openers to rough out a tricky first session and capitalize on the easing pitch later. Instead, his side collapsed to 191 within two sessions, Dhoni himself topscoring with 57*.
Zaheer Khan put India in the driver’s seat immediately, bowling smartly and aggressively to reduce Australia to 37/3. Zaheer and the rest of the bowling attack eased the pressure after that initial burst and paid dearly as Michael Clarke and Ricky Ponting played themselves in.
Ponting made 134, his first century in 2 years adding 288 runs with Clarke for the fourth wicket before his dismissal after Lunch on Day 2. The Michaels, Clarke and Hussey were clinical in their run making, hurrying the field and attacking decisively in their unbeaten 334 run partnership for the fifth wicket.
Clarke made 329*, the highest score at the Sydney Cricket Ground and Hussey made 150* as Australia declared at 659/4 on Day 3 in the session after lunch, a first innings lead of 468.
India lost Sehwag very early and Dravid after a slow partnership with Gambhir to end Day 3 on 114/2, trailing Australia by 354 runs.
Gambhir made 83, a much needed score after his very poor run in the past year before he was dismissed with India on 168. Tendulkar once again positively and it seemed his approach had rubbed off on Laxman as well. The duo added 103 runs for the fourth wicket before Tendulkar was dismissed by Clarke for 80, a fatal forward defence press taking the outside edge, deviating off Brad Haddin to be pouched by Hussey at first slip. India slid to 286/7 from 271/3, losing Laxman (66), Dhoni (2) and Kohli (9) in quick succession, unable to handle the unyielding line, length and pace from Hilfenhaus (5/106) and Siddle (2/88).
Biffing from Zaheer Khan (35) and Ravichandran Ashwin (62) carried India closer to avoid an innings defeat. India’s score first crossed 300, then Clarke’s 329, then 350, then finally reached 400 when the last wicket fell, closing the door on the match with India 68 runs short of Australia’s first innings lead.
The 2-0 margin now means that Indian batsmen Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman will never win a Test series in Australia considering how unlikely it is that the three will be a part of the Indian set up when the next tour happens in 2015-16.
Unless they win the two remaining Tests at Perth and Adelaide, they must also face the prospect of ending their careers with the Border-Gavaskar Trophy in Australian hands.