Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
Australia left-arm pace bowler Mitchell Johnson took four wickets and opener Chris Rogers scored 55 to not only beat India by four wickets on the fourth day of the second Test in Brisbane, but also hand their side a 2-0 lead in the series.
However, India batsman Shikhar Dhawan deserves some credit for his valiant knock of 81.
Since Dhawan was injured before the start of play, Virat Kohli took his place alongside Cheteshwar Pujara at the crease.
However, Kohli only made one run before he was clean bowled by Johnson.
Ajinkya Rahane scored 10 runs before he was caught by Nathan Lyon at backward point off the bowling of Johnson.
Johnson struck again just two balls later when Rohit Sharma was caught behind for a duck.
India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni failed to trouble the scorers as well as he was given out lbw off the bowling of Josh Hazlewood for a duck.
Ravichandran Ashwin mustered 19 runs before he was caught behind off the bowling of Mitchell Starc.
Pujara managed to make 43 runs before he was caught by Lyon at point off the bowling of Hazlewood.
Dhawan, who returned after Ashwin got out, and Umesh Yadav somewhat stemmed the bleeding with a 60-run partnership, during which Dhawan brought up his half-century, before he was given out lbw off the bowling of Lyon.
Dhawan’s excellent knock of 81 came off 145 balls and included eight boundaries.
Varun Aaron made three runs before he was caught by Hazlewood at backward point off the bowling of Lyon.
India were bowled out for 224, which set Australia a target of 128 to win, when Umesh Yadav was caught behind off the bowling of Johnson for 30.
Johnson was the pick of the bowlers with four wickets, while Hazlewood, Starc and Lyon chipped in with two wickets apiece.
Chasing 128 to win, Australia got off to a horrible start as opening batsman David Warner was caught behind off the bowling of Ishant Sharma for six runs.
Shane Watson did not make any runs as he was also caught behind off the bowling of Sharma.
Rogers and Australia stand-in captain Steven Smith stabilised the innings with a 63-run partnership, during which Rogers registered his half-century, before he was caught by Dhawan at third slip off the bowling of Sharma.
Rogers’ brilliant knock of 55 came off 57 balls and included 10 boundaries.
Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
Shaun Marsh made 17 runs before he was caught behind off the bowling of Yadav.
Smith went on to score 28 runs before he was run out by Dhoni.
Brad Haddin only made one run before he was caught by Kohli at deep backward square leg off the bowling of Yadav.
Johnson and Mitchell Marsh mopped up the remaining runs with no problems whatsoever to lead Australia to a four-wicket win.
Sharma was the most successful bowler with three wickets, while Yadav claimed two.
Dhoni was disappointed with his side’s performance, and said: “It’s not about how near you are, it’s about what actually happened. The first session today was a big debacle for us. There was a lack of communication in our dressing room over whether Shikhar will go in to bat or Virat. We did not handle that situation well. We were having a bat at the nets, the wickets were not very good and he got hit. He didn’t react too badly so we thought he was fine to bat. By the time he came in he was in a lot of pain and unable to bat. We were only able to give Virat 5-7 minutes to prepare. That created some unrest in the dressing room.
“I think Mitchell batted really well. Once you get close to the new ball, the ball goes soft and the bowlers get tired. He played his shots and he was a little lucky too. Nothing went to the fielders and he was able to score. I’m pretty happy with how we have played. We have shortcomings but I’m happy how the bowlers have shaped up. We have tried both five bowlers and an extra batsman, but neither has really grabbed the opportunity. They are a talented side and they have self-belief. For a few of them, they are coming here for the first time and they haven’t really succumbed to the pace factor. It’s a pleasure playing in front of a big crowd in Melbourne. It’s a special day as well (Boxing Day) and hopefully it will be good for us.”
Smith, who was named Man of the Match, was ecstatic to have led Australia to victory on his debut as captain, and said: “Extremely satisfying. The boys played some very good cricket over the last four days and it’s very satisfying to come out with a win. First day was very tough, the boys were dropping like flies. Credit to how they came out and bowled on the second morning. First innings runs are crucial here and getting a lead of 90 was handy. Josh Hazlewood is an outstanding bowler and he’s started extremely well for Australia. Mitchell Johnson, Mr. Reliable, as always. I don’t think it was advisable [winding up Johnson], and that partnership really set the game up for us. It’s always tough playing against India, they’ve played some extremely good cricket and we just won the important moments. It’s been an amazing thrill over the last week to captain this side, the boys have been outstanding and backed me up nicely.”