Australia level series against India with 146-run victory
PERTH (Reuters) – Australia cleaned up India’s lower order through a barrage of hostile bowling before lunch on the fifth day to secure a series-levelling 146-run victory in the second test on Tuesday.
Having set the tourists a daunting 287 to win on a menacing Perth Stadium pitch, Australia dismissed top-ranked India for 140 midway through the first session to win an engrossing, low-scoring contest.
The wickets were shared around with Man of the Match Nathan Lyon (3-39) and quick Mitchell Starc (3-46) the pick of the bowlers.
It was sweet revenge for Australia after a nail-biting 31-run defeat in the series-opener in Adelaide, and ensured Tim Paine’s first win in five test matches as skipper.
“It’s a relief more than anything,” said Paine. “It’s taken a while with everything that’s happened. It was a difficult test (and) I’m really proud of the way the boys went about it.
“It’s been a classic couple of test matches and we’re ready for another one.”
India, who made 283 in the first innings, pinned their faint hopes on Hanuma Vihari and Rishabh Pant when they resumed on 112-5, but the flicker quickly evaporated when Vihari fell for 28 in the morning’s sixth over after inside-edging a short Starc delivery to square leg.
The aggressive Pant tried to chance his arm in a desperate search for runs, but miscued a slog off Lyon to be brilliant caught by a diving Peter Handscomb at mid-wicket for 30.
Umesh Yadav copped a barrage of short-pitched bowling from Starc and his ungainly stonewalling effort did not last long, spooning a bouncer back to the left-arm bowler for two.
Ishant Sharma fell for a duck handing Pat Cummins his first wicket and the scoreless Jasprit Bumrah was dismissed three balls later to spark scenes of jubilation from the Australian players.
“They played better cricket than us and they deserved to win,” said India captain Virat Kohli.
“It was always going to be challenging, we obviously had the belief we could do it, but they were relentless and pitched the ball in the right areas to put us into trouble.”
Lyon, who took 8-106 over the match and has 16 wickets in the series, was able to perform his duties in leading Australia’s victory song for the first time since March 5 in Durban – before the damaging Newlands ball-tampering scandal.
“It’s amazing to play a role in a team victory,” the off-spinner said. “Can’t wait to sing the song.”
The test was the first at the new 60,000-seat stadium located in Burswood after a 47-year run at the WACA but crowds were sluggish with fierce heat blighting the early part of the match.
The series shifts to the traditional Boxing Day test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground followed by the finale in Sydney, as India attempt their first series win in Australia.
(Editing by Amlan Chakraborty)