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India vs Australia: The Turning Points

Last updated on: February 26, 2013 16:45 IST

India vs Australia: The Turning Points

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Bikash Mohapatra

After a depressing Test series against England, Team India began the four Test series against Australia on a winning note.

Bikash Mohapatra, who covered the first Test at the M A Chidambaram stadium in Chennai, identifies the turning points in the game.

  • The Scorecard
  • The Match Report

    To say the Aussies were simply overwhelmed in the Chennai Test would be an understatement.

    Let's take a look at the major turning points in the match, which swung the game in India's favour.

    The Dharamasena Factor

    Despite skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni losing the toss, India got off to a steady start.

    Off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin, who was a disappointment in the series against England, ran through the Australian top order and had a five-wicket haul, his sixth in Test cricket.

    If the local boy's opening spell figures (11-2-30-2) made for an impressive read, his second (9-2-19-3) was even better.

    Another Michael Clarke masterclass innings helped Australia avoid total collapse, the Australian captain remaining unbeaten on 103.

    It was Clarke's 23rd Test hundred, his sixth against India, and continued his recent run of good form as well as his impressive record against India.

    'Pup,' as Clarke is nicknamed, made his debut in Bangalore in 2004 with an impressive 151, and scored 600-plus runs when India toured Down Under the last time, including a triple hundred.

    But 'Pup' had a huge reprieve when he was on 39, when umpire Kumar Dharmasena ruled him not out though he had clearly hit the ball off Ashwin.

    Had the Sri Lankan former Test cricketer got it right, Australia would have looked disaster in the face.

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  • Image: Ravichandran Ashwin, centre, celebrates with teammates.
    Photographs: BCCI
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    Why was Pattinson under-bowled?

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    James Pattinson was the lone Australian bowler to impress in Chennai.

    The 22-year-old picked up six wickets in the Test including a fiver in the first innings.

    When India came out to bat on Day Two, Pattinson ensured Australia a good start with the ball, removing both Murali Vijay and Virender Sehwag early.

    The Victorian, bowling with great pace, picked up all three Indian wickets to fall in the day.

    To everyone's surprise, the quick bowled only two three-over spells during the day.

    India reached 182 for three at close, Sachin Tendulkar, Chetan Pujara and Virat Kohli having negotiated the other Australian bowlers fairly comfortably.

    Pattinson, who made an impressive debut against New Zealand in October 2011 -- taking 14 wickets in two Tests -- has featured in just eight Tests so far, sitting out an equal number of games because of recurring injuries.

    When India toured Down Under in 2011-2012, Pattinson picked up 11 wickets before injury ruled him out of the last two Tests.

    Michael Clarke, aware of his lead bowler's fragility, preferred to use him in short spells.

    The decision certainly didn't help the Australian cause.

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    Image: James Pattinson
    Photographs: BCCI
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    Dhoni swung it in India's favour

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    Mahendra Singh Dhoni was under increasing pressure coming into the Chennai Test.

    The captain took the blame for India suffering a rare home reverse against England, coming in the wake of 4-0 back-to-back drubbings against both England and Australia in those countries.

    As a batsman, he had not scored a Test hundred in 15 months. His poor form and the team's poor show led many to question Dhoni's place in the team.

    His knock was a triple milestone: It was his first double hundred; it was his first Test hundred since the 144 against West the Indies at the Wankhede stadium in November 2011; it was his first century against Australia, a team against which he had always struggled.

    Dhoni's knock helped India pulverise Australia. At stumps on Day 3, thanks to MS' unbeaten 206, there was no way his team was going to lose.

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    Image: Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who hit his first Test double century
    Photographs: BCCI
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    Clarke's dismissal ended Australian hopes

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    The turning point on Day 4 has got to be Michael Clarke's dismissal.

    Australia had conceded a large first innings lead (192 runs) and had gotten off to a poor start in the second innings.

    As long as Captain Clarke -- who had made a defiant 130 in the first innings -- was there, the Aussies knew they could save the Test.

    Clarke's strokes were fluent; he had hit 31, with four boundaries and a huge six off Ashwin, when the off-spinner turned one sharply in.

    It was the third ball of the final session. Clarke was plumb leg before.

    Triumph was sighted on the Indian horizon.

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    Image: A disappointed Michael Clarke walks off, trapped lbw by Ashwin.
    Photographs: BCCI
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    India won. What else?

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    Moises Henriques -- who made an impressive debut -- and Nathan Lyon delayed the inevitable.

    But Murali Vijay had another disapppointing outing as did Virender Sehwag.

    Day Five should have been a formality. There was no reason India needed to lose the openers chasing a very modest score.

    The way Vijay and Sehwag played could well mark a turning point in both men's careers as the selectors decide the team's composition for the second Test at Hyderabad.


    Image: Sachin Tendulkar is congratulated by coach Duncan Fletcher
    Photographs: BCCI
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