Hyderabad: Victory was very much on the cards, but not many would have expected India to pummel Australia in this fashion in the second Test, here, at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium.
India took just a session to complete the formalities, as Australia fell like nine pins on Day IV, adding just another 57 to their overnight total of 74 for two, with Ravichandran Ashwin (five for 63) and Ravindra Jadeja (three for 33) running through the visitors’ batting order.
The win by an innings and 135 runs, inside four days, will certainly be a huge morale-booster for Team India and especially for captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who was under the scanner since the disastrous 2011 England tour.
For the moment, though, Dhoni and his teammates will savour the occasion in the captain’s 22nd Test win — surpassing Sourav Ganguly’s 21 — pining down the Aussies so far in this four-Test series.
It’s also giving it back to visitors after the forgettable 2011-12 tour Down Under.
What makes it even more pleasing is the margin of the win. The last time they thumped Australia in a Test match was way back in 1998, at Eden Gardens, when the Mohammed Azharuddin-led side trounced Mark Taylor and his troops by an innings and 219 runs.
That Australian team, of course, was much stronger than the present one. But considering the tougher challenges lying ahead for this young Indian side, this success will certainly have a role in bolstering their self-belief.
On the other hand, the meek surrender from the Australians came as a stark contrast to their reputation of being tough customers. In the morning session, the ‘parade’ began just after three overs.
Ishant Sharma drifted one to Shane Watson’s pads, which on most occasions, would have been dispatched to the fence. But not being amongst runs lately seems to have hit Watson hard, as he played the ball too fine only for Dhoni to pouch a catch down the leg side. It’s Ishant’s first wicket in the series.
Again, Australia’s hopes relied on the one and only Michael Clarke, who started off on a positive note, launching Jadeja over long-off for a six. The left-armer, soon after, bowled a ripper that simply bamboozled the Australian captain. The ball pitched on the middle-stump and turned away sharply to beat Clarke’s defence and knock his off-stump over.
The visitors’ hopes of survival were as good as buried thereafter, as they fell like a pack of cards having no clue whatsoever to the turn and bounce extracted by Ashwin and Jadeja.
Jadeja struck in his very next over, with Ed Cowan (44) playing a poor shot after having spent 176 minutes at the crease. It seemed as if the Australians were in a hurry to finish the game off, as the remaining batsmen just arrived and departed in no time.
Jadeja was in action again, his direct-throw sending back Moises Henriques for 0. Ashwin, too, joined the party soon. He already took two on Monday and and on Tuesday the off-spinner accounted for Glenn Maxwell, trapping him lbw before removing Matthew Wade, who gave another catching practice to Virender Sehwag at slip.
With an unassailable 2-0 lead in the four-match series, India will certainly go for a clean sweep, which looks quite possible considering the Aussies’ present state of mind.
They had a long session at the nets at the end of the match, with former opener Matthew Hayden having a good close look at each of the players. Keeping Hayden’s presence aside, Australia first need to make sure they deliver when it matters. Else, it will just be a matter of time for India to inflict a whitewash.