|Rediff India Abroad Home | All the sections|
India end Australia's winning run
January 19, 2008 10:40 IST
Last Updated: January 19, 2008 15:55 IST
India recorded one of their most amazing Test triumphs overseas when they beat Australia by 72 runs on the fourth day of the third Test, in Perth, on Saturday.
The victory snapped the world champions' record 16-match winning streak.
Set 413 to score a world record 17th successive Test victory, the Australians were dismissed for 340, enabling the spirited visitors to reduce the margin to 2-1 in the four-match series.
Before the start of the Test not many gave the Indians hope at the WACA, regarded as the fastest pitch in the world, but Anil Kumble [Images] and his men came out firing on all cylinders to not only pull off a sensational victory but raise hopes of levelling the series.
The Indians celebrated wildly and hugged each other after R P Singh castled last-man Shaun Tait, bringing to an end a dramatic Test that saw fortune fluctuate from one team to the other over four days.
It was a remarkable show of character by the Indians, who did not allow the acrimonious events of the Sydney Test affect them as they went about plotting Australia's demolition.
Michael Clarke [Images], who has struggled to touch peak form in the series, was the highest scorer for the Australians with 81 while Michael Hussey (46) and captain Ricky Ponting [Images] (45) were the other notable performers.
With the hosts reeling at 253 for eight, tail-enders Mitchell Johnson (50 not out) and Stuart Clark (32) used the long handle to good effect to give the Indians some anxious moments.
Lusty hitting by the Aussie tail-enders prompted captain Kumble to take the second new ball, but the Indians had to wait for a while before the moment of glory came.
The teams now travel to Adelaide for the fourth and final Test beginning, January 24, though the Australians are assured the Gavaskar-Border Trophy remaining with them after winning the first two Tests.
The last time India defeated Australia in a Test was in Mumbai, in 2004, when they beat them by 13 runs.
Resuming at the overnight score of 65 for two, the Australians set out to defy history, as only once had a bigger total been successfully chased down in the fourth innings of a Test -- when the West Indies [Images] scored 418 for seven against Australia in Antigua in 2003.
The previous best chase at the WACA was Australia's 342 for eight against India in 1977, in the first Test between the countries.
Australia were unbeaten since losing to England [Images] at Trent Bridge in August, 2005, and hadn't lost a home Test since going down to India in Adelaide in December 2003.
Interestingly, it was also India who broke Australia's previous record 16-Test winning streak when they notched a memorable victory in Kolkata in 2001.
For the Indians, man-of-the-match Irfan Pathan [Images] was the pick of the bowlers with figures of 3 for 54 while R P Singh, Anil Kumble and
Virender Sehwag [Images] chipped in with two wickets apiece.
Ponting's men began the day on 65 for 2 and kept losing wickets at regular intervals.
The ninth wicket pair of Johnson and Clark put on 73 runs and delayed the inevitable before Pathan broke through, having Clark caught behind by Dhoni [Images].
Spinners Kumble and Sehwag hogged the limelight on the final day but no less remarkable was the heart and intelligence the three-pronged medium-fast bowlers exhibited.
Pathan picked a single wicket during the day but his two victims on the third evening were the left-handed openers which straightaway put the world champions on the backfoot.
India were successful in taming Australia at a venue which has been their fortress since a long time; out of 34 matches only seven have ever resulted in defeat for them.
Australia lost just one wicket in the morning session but it was an inspiring spell of fast bowling by young Ishant Sharma which perked up the visitors in their quest.
Sharma bowled nine overs at a stretch and removed Ponting after troubling him endlessly in a remarkable spell of 9-0-31-1.
Australia took the lunch at 142 for three but the real damage was done in the middle session when the champions lost four wickets.
Hussey, after a fighting knock, fell leg before wicket to R P Singh and same was the fate of Andrew Symonds [Images] (12) though the latter appeared to have hit the ball with his bat first.
Australia still appeared to be in a recovery mode as Michael Clarke and Adam Gilchrist [Images] (15) put on 50 runs for the sixth wicket before Sehwag's golden arm did the trick.
Sehwag removed Gilchrist and Brett Lee [Images] (0) off successive overs which snuffed the fight out of the Aussies.
Gilchrist fell for his propensity to sweep spinners while Lee could not keep a forward push away from VVS Laxman at silly point.
Australia took the tea at 243 for seven which quickly worsened once Kumble dragged Clarke out of his crease and had him stumped by an alert Dhoni.
Clarke batted for 160 minutes and hit 10 fours from 134 balls during his fighting knock.