Cricket: Australia beat India by 122 runs

Dec 29, 2011

Melbourne debacle: Australia beat India by 122 runs

Melbourne debacle: Australia beat India by 122 runs
The famed Indian batting line-up collapsed like a pack of cards as the visitors faced a big defeat on the fourth day of the first cricket Test against Australia in Melbourne on Thursday.

Chasing 292, India's top-order batsmen produced a toothless batting display to see the visitors reel at 117 for six during the final break of the day. In their quest for the highest fourth- innings chase at the MCG in 58 years, India lost half of their side inside the 100-run mark with skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni (14 batting) and Ravichandran Ashwin (30 batting) holding the fort for the visitors.

India, 24 for one at lunch, lost Gautam Gambhir (13), Rahul Dravid (10), VVS Laxman (1), Virat Kohli (0) and Sachin Tendulkar (32) in the afternoon session as the pace trio of James Pattinson (2/32), Ben Hilfenhaus (2/28) and Peter Siddle (2/40) wreaked havoc in the tourists' ranks.

Siddle started the rot when he had Gautam Gambhir caught by Ricky Ponting at second slip, fiddling at a bouncy delivery in the same manner as he had done in the first innings. Tendulkar, who once again entered the ground to a standing ovation, came and drove his first ball into covers for three runs to convey his intentions clear.

An on-drive, with virtually the full face of the bat, by Tendulkar brought up the 50 of Indian innings.
Dravid was sedate but solid at the other end, yet Pattinson was able to create a huge gap between his bat and pad to knock back his middle stump. The right-hander hit one four during his 29-ball stay.
Dravid's exit opened the floodgates for Australia.

VVS Laxman took his first run off the seventh ball he faced but then flicked Pattinson into the hands of Ed Cowan at square leg to make it four down for 68 runs.

Kohli fell off the first delivery he faced, LBW to Hilfenhaus. But the biggest blow came soon thereafter when Tendulkar drove a swinging delivery from Peter Siddle straight to Hussey at gully.
Tendulkar batted for 73 minutes and faced 46 balls. He hit four fours before disappearing into the MCG tunnel amidst a standing sendoff, possibly for the last time.

Dhoni chose attack as the best defence and decided to take matter into his hands by slamming Hilfenhaus over wide long on for a six.

Ashwin rode his luck well, inside and outside edging boundaries behind square but ended the session with a brilliant straight drive off Siddle. Earlier, Australia, resuming at the overnight score of 179 for eight, rode on mixture of luck and bold hitting to stretch their innings to 240 before being bowled out 42 minutes before the lunch break.