India beat Australia to level series
Bengaluru: Star off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin led the way with a six-wicket haul as India defeated Australia by 75 runs in the second cricket Test at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium here on Tuesday.
Chasing a target of 188 runs, Australia were all out for 112 in their second innings shortly after tea on the fourth day. India have now levelled the four-Test series at 1-1.
The Indians bowled superbly on a pitch which has developed quite a few cracks, making it difficult for batting.
Ashwin did the most damage with figures of 6/41. Fast bowler Umesh Yadav displayed excellent speed and swing to return 2/30 while fellow pacer Ishant Sharma and left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja bagged a wicket each.
The Australians found it difficult to score against Jadeja who gave away only three runs in his eight overs which included five maidens.
Ashwin now has the most number of wickets in the 2016-17 season with 89 wickets. He is the fastest ever to reach 25 five-wicket hauls, achieving the feat in 88 innings ahead of Sri Lankan great Mutthiah Muralithaaran (100) and legendary fast bowler Richard Hadlee (111).
The Chennai spinner is also the fastest Indian bowler to take 200 Test wickets in India.
“It was not coming out of the hand all right. I was trying to turn it too hard. One good thing I did was when wickets were not coming, I kept the runs down,” Ashwin said after the match.
“We just spoke inside the dressing room to bowl some short spells and keep changing over. That is why we were rotating so we could attack through such short balls.”
Indian opener Lokesh Rahul was declared the man of the match.
Having dismissed the hosts for 274 in their second innings, the visitors ran into trouble early in their second essay as young opener Matt Renshaw was caught behind off Ishant’s bowling.
Ashwin trapped the other opener David Warner leg before Umesh was rewarded for his excelelnt bowling with the wickets of Australian captain Steven Smith and Shaun Marsh.
That put the pressure on the visitors and Ashwin rammed home the advantage by sending back Mitchell Marsh and Matthew Wade in quick succession.
The Australian batting disintegrated quickly after tea, losing their remaining wickets in just under eight overs.
Earlier during the morning session, Josh Hazlewood clinched a six-wicket haul as India were dismissed for 274 runs in their second innings.
Hazlewood had figures of 6/74 while fellow pacer Mitchell Starc and spinner Steve O’Keefe took two wickets each.
For India, Cheteshwar Pujara top scored with 92.
Resuming at the overnight score of 213/4, Pujara and Ajinkaya Rahane batted steadily for the first half hour or so.
But the introduction of the second new ball saw a dramatic change in fortunes as Hazlewood and Starc produced a devastating spell which saw five wickets fall in 19 balls.
Rahane was the first to go, almost immediately after his half-century. The Mumbai batsman fell to an astute call by Australian skipper Steven Smith who decided to call for the review after the umpire had given a not out decision to a loud lbw appeal from Starc.
Smith stood vindicated as the third umpire reversed the on-field official’s decision and sent Rahane on his way.
Starc struck again with his very next ball, uprooting Karun Nair’s middle stump with a fast inswinger to send the batsman back to the pavilion with a golden duck.
Wriddhiman Saha walked in to deny Starc his hattrick with an inside edge on to his pads even as the Australians came up with another loud appeal for lbw.
There was more trouble in store for the hosts in the next over. Pujara fell in the 90s for the first time in his career when some extra bounce from a Hazlewwood delivery took the shoulder of his bat for a simple catch to Mitchell Marsh at gully.
Ravichandran Ashwin was dismissed only a couple of balls later when a Hazlewood delivery came in sharply after pitching outside the off stump and beat the outside edge of an attempted drive before crashing into the stumps.
Hazlewood completed his six-wicket haul in his next over when Umesh Yadav lofted one to David Warner at mid-off.
Saha and Ishant Sharma then came up with a late partnership to push the hosts’ lead to 187.