India inflicted a massive innings and 135-run defeat on Australia in the second Test on the fourth day at Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium on Tuesday. The victory bugle was sounded at 11.33 am when off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin (5 for 63) snared the last wicket of James Pattinson. Australia were bundled out for 131.
It was Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s 22nd Test victory in 45 matches as captain. In the process, he bettered Sourav Ganguly’s record of 21 wins in 49 Tests and become India’s most successful captain.
For Michael Clarke it was ‘unacceptable and disappointing’ to trail 0-2 in the four-Test series. With third Test at Mohali, eight days away, it was back to the basics for Australia as they immediately went back to nets to bat at the same wicket where they suffered one of the worst defeats against India.
India needed just 35 overs to wrap up the remaining eight wickets. Resuming at 74 for 2 in their second innings, Australian batsmen could not come to terms with the Indian spin attack, spearheaded by Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja (3 for 33). The wicket continued to help the spinners but the Aussies neither had the patience nor showed the application to deal with the Indian bowlers. Aussies, who were trailing by 266 runs, collapsed like nine pins. It was India’s second biggest win over Australia after Mohammad Azharuddin’s team had scored an innings and 219 runs win at Kolkata in 1998.
Ashwin and Jadeja had the Aussies hopping for cover. Dhoni and his men came out with a plan and strangled the Aussies straightaway. Pace bowler Ishant Sharma, who has been more of a spectator in the two Tests so far, finally had a wicket to his name. It was a big one. A length ball moved away from off to leg stump and en-route took the edge of Shane Watson’s bat to Dhoni behind the stumps. It was the third over of the day. The rough on the good length spots had been a spot of bother for the Aussies.
Jadeja, who took six wickets for Saurashtra against Hyderabad in the Ranji last year, knew the wicket well. He made the ball to turn and bounce. The left-arm spinner bamboozled Clarke with a beauty that turned and disturbed the off-stump. It was a huge wicket and India had won half the battle. Clarke was the only Aussie batsman who showed the technique and skill to stand up to the Indian spinners. His exit spelt doom for Australia.
Left-handed opener Ed Cowan (44), who batted for 176 minutes but was not comfortable, was to become Jadeja’s second victim. A ball from Jadeja turned and took a healthy edge. It hit Dhoni’s pads before flying to slip where Virender Sehwag pouched the catch.
Ashwin and Jadeja began to spin a web around Australia. Bowling at the right areas, the spinners had a few deliveries to pop up to catch the Australians off guard. Moises Henriques was out to a smart pick up and the throw from covers by Jadeja on his second attempt. After left-hander Matthew Wade had played Ashwin to covers, the batsman ran for a risky single but Henriques was done in by Jadeja’s throw.
Ashwin scalped his third wicket with a ‘carromball’ that trapped Glenn Maxwell in front. Peter Siddle had no answer to a ball from Ashwin that flew to Virat
Kohli, who took a left-handed catch at short leg. Wade fell to the Sehwag (slip) and Jadeja combination. The dismissal of Wade saw the game being extended for 30 minutes but it required only three more minutes to send back Pattinson and complete victory in less than four days.
It was yet another five-wicket haul from Ashwin. Dhoni praised curator YL Chandrasekhar and his team for preparing a good wicket.