M A I N   N E W S

Victory is the best revenge
India move on from Perth to Adelaide
Ashis Ray

Perth, January 19
The fact that the highest total of the Test — 340 — was recorded in the fourth innings showed that the pitch was still excellent for batting, but with a modicum of extra bounce in it and aerial assistance to boot. These were adequate for India’s bowlers, who shared the spoils, though Irfan Pathan emerged as the most successful (3-54), to register a remarkable victory over a side deemed to be invincible, especially at the WACA, where they hadn’t lost since the West Indies beat them in 1997.

For the statistically minded, India triumphed by 72 runs. And it brought to a juddering halt the Aussie juggernaut of 16 straight wins, just as the Indians had epically terminated the success of Steve Waugh’s side seven years ago at the Eden Gardens.

But to defeat the rampaging Australians after a thoroughly demoralising second Test was a fantastic demonstration of character. Few believed the Indians had it in them to shake off the trauma of the diabolical umpiring at Sydney and the shock of the disciplinary action against Harbhajan Singh. It is a fine commentary on Anil Kumble’s leadership skills that he converted the wounded tigers into man-eaters, who mauled the Aussies. Not even a 134-ball 81, with 10 fours, by Michael Clarke could salvage them.

On reflection, being bowled out for 212 in the first innings — full credit to the Indian quicker bowlers — cost Australia the match. This was preceded by a brilliant 139-run partnership between Rahul Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar on the first day, which boldly conveyed to the Australians that the Indian batsmen were not going to roll over easily. Then surfaced VVS Laxman’s classical defiance in the second essay, which paved the way for victory.

But it was Pathan, delectably swing the new ball and inexpensive with the old, not to mention his promising batting in both innings, that stole the thunder and the Man-of-the-Match award.

The slow demise of Australia began with a torrid spell in overcast conditions by young Ishant Sharma to overnight not-outs Ricky Ponting and Mike Hussey, on whom much depended if the home side were to win. The beanpole Delhiite rattled two of the leading batsmen in the world to not just keep them quiet, but to before long have the Aussie skipper edging to first slip.

Though this was the only setback for Australia before lunch and the third wicket welded 74 runs, the Australian batsmen were forced on to the defensive, scoring merely 77 runs in the session. It was clearly only a matter of time before the slide started. Indeed, another four wickets fell before tea to leave little doubt about the issue.

Hussey obdurately stuck around for 113 balls. He was the first to depart — struck on the backfoot by RP Singh, albeit above the knee roll. And Andrew Symonds, too, was unfortunate to be adjudged lbw off an apparent inside edge. He had hoisted Kumble to long-off for six in the previous delivery, but was surprised by a typically faster top-spinner next ball.

As the quickers bowlers tired, Kumble wisely introduced Virender Sehwag with his off-spin; and this immediately fetched results, as the dangerous Adam Gilchrist was bowled around his legs and Brett Lee spooned a catch to silly mid-off.

But Michael Clarke, who had batted spiritedly, was still there as the players adjourned for tea. His attacking instincts, however, got the better of him, as he stepped out to Kumble to present an easy stumping to Mahendra Dhoni. With the eighth wicket going down with this exit for 253, a pretty packed stadium, which had lustily cheered every run, prepared for an imminent conclusion. The most entertaining batting of the day, though, was still to unfold.

Mitchell Johnson and Stuart Clark, both broad-shouldered and tall, struck the ball long and hard. The first-mentioned, a left-hander, swung Kumble for two sixes to the onside in an over. The right-hander, then, hooked RP Singh — with the second new ball — for six. But the harder, shinier leather did the trick, as Pathan ended the carnage, but not before the ninth wicket had bolstered the Australian total by another 73 runs.

The curtains descended when Shaun Tait was clean up by RP Singh. It was a treat for the hundreds of flag-waving and slogan-shouting Indians who witnessed the match.


India (1st innings) 330

Australia (1st innings) 212

India (2nd innings) 294

Australia (2nd innings)

Rogers c Dhoni b Pathan 15

Jaques c Jaffer b Pathan 16

Ponting c Dravid b Ishant 45

Hussey lbw RP Singh 46

M Clarke st Dhoni b Kumble 81

Symonds lbw Kumble 12

Gilchrist b Sehwag 15

Lee c Laxman b Sehwag 0

Johnson not out 50

S Clark c Dhoni b Pathan 32

Tait b RP Singh 4

Extras (lb-6, nb-10, w-8) 24

Total (all out, 86.5 overs) 340

Fall of wickets: 1-21, 2-43, 3-117, 4-159, 5-177, 6-227, 7-229, 8-253, 9-326.

Bowling: RP Singh 21.5-4-95-2, Pathan 16-2-54-3, Ishant 17-0-63-1, Kumble 24-2-98-2, Sehwag 8-1-24-2.



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