Clinical India halt Aussie Juggernaut

Published: Saturday, January 19, 2008, 14:52 [IST]
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India halt Aussie winning streak

Bangalore: India produced a clinical, all-round team effort to outplay the mighty Aussies and record a 72-run win in the third Test at WACA, Perth on Saturday.

The hosts, set a Himalayan 413-run target, stumbled 340 in the second innings. India pulled one back in the four Test series after the hosts won the first two Tests at MCG and SCG.

Kumble&Co foiled the hosts' bid for a world record 17th consecutive Test win.

Disciplined Indian attack swung the match in their favour striking it rich in the first two sessions. Pathan was the pick of Indian bowlers with 3/54 while Kumble, Sehwag and RP plucked two apiece.

Michael Pup Clarke top scored for Aussies with a strokeful 81 studded with 10 boundaries.

Tail-enders Johnson and Clark gave India some anxious moments with a brisk 73-run partnership but then it wasn't enough for the hosts chasing a mammoth total.

Resuming at overnight score of 65/2, Australia got off to a bright start courtesy of a pair of Ponting boundaries. Punter played some eye-catching punch shots of the back foot. The overnight batsmen added further 52 with ease to take their side past 100 in 12th over of the morning.

But Ishant's introduction in the fifth over of the morning put Australia firmly on the back foot.

Young pacer Ishant bowled a probing spell of ten overs. His jagging deliveries have caused Aussie batsmen all sorts of problems.

The right-arm paceman looked sharp early, finding the edge of Hussey while also getting a delivery to jag back into Ponting's stomach after the Aussie captain failed to offer a shot.

The 19-year-old Delhi pacer continued to probe Ponting, who survived two confident lbw appeals on 34 with Sharma gaining terrific movement off the day-four pitch.

However Ishant had a last laugh when he induced Ponting to edge into the safe hands of Dravid at first slip, ending the 74-run stand.

Hussey and Clarke guided Australia to 142/3 at lunch, but when RP Singh trapped Hussey in front for 46 shortly after the break, Australia was in trouble at 159/4.

Symonds (12) struck Anil Kumble down the ground for six to notch 1000 Test runs, but the Indian captain had the last laugh when the burly Queenslander was rapped on the backfoot for a straight forward lbw decision, reducing Australia to 177/5.

Clarke batted with elan playing some out-of-the-book straight drives, flicks, punchs off backfoot. He continued to battle on despite wickets tumbling at the other end and notched his half-century with his seventh boundary as he combined with Gilchrist for a 50-run stand.

But just as the pair was rebuilding Australia's innings, Kumble pulled a surprise move and called upon part-timer Sehwag to have a go.

And lo and behold, Viru struck in his third delivery, unleashing a sharp-turning off-spinner that bowled Gilchrist around his legs, sparking wild celebrations from the Indians.

But the 29-year-old didn't stop there. Lee was the next to fall when he edged Sehwag onto his pads and VVS Laxman took a simple catch at silly mid-off, leaving Australia at 229/7. And at the same score Australia lost set batsman Clarke. Pup's 134-ball vigil at the crease came to a grinding halt just after the tea when he came dancing down the wicket only to miss a rank turner off Kumble. Dhoni did the rest.

India would have sealed the match much before but for tail-end batsmen Clark and Johnson. The duo whacked Indians all-round the park. Clark played a flurry of fine pull and cut shots and one massive six off RP over mid-wicket while Johnson batted like a top-order batsman. Pathan provided the tourists much needed breakthro' dismissing Clark for a caught behind. RP then castled the last batsman Tait with an yorker.


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