India retain Border-Gavaskar Trophy after another three-day romp
NEW DELHI: India hammered Australia inside three days for the second time in a fortnight to retain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy on Sunday and are on the verge of qualifying for the World Test Championship (WTC) final in June.
Ravindra Jadeja, who claimed a career-best 7-42, and Ravichandran Ashwin bowled unchanged in the morning session, engineering a spectacular batting collapse that left India needing 115 runs to go 2-0 up in the four-test series.
India’s top order did wobble but the meagre target meant their victory, which came in the second session, was never in doubt.
Captain Rohit Sharma made 31 and Cheteshwar Pujara, playing his 100th Test, contributed the same number of runs, including the boundary that sealed victory.
Rohit, with his assured footwork and sweet timing, showed how to play spin on such tracks with a 20-ball cameo before being run out after a big mix-up with Pujara.
There was no sign of the impending mayhem when Australia resumed on 61-1 and Travis Head (43) slapped the third ball of the day from Ashwin to the boundary to signal his intention.
What followed was 90 minutes of madness in which Australia imploded and they were bowled out for 113 half an hour before lunch.
Only Head and Marnus Labuschagne (35) managed double digits as the Australian batters capitulated to the guile of India’s spinners.
Some, like Steve Smith and Alex Carey, tried to sweep their way out of the trouble only to fall lbw or bowled.
Ashwin (3-59) wrecked Australia’s top order before Jadeja ran through the bottom half for a match haul of 10 wickets to earn him his second successive Player-of-the-Match award.
Five of Jadeja’s victims were bowled. Once Jadeja bowled Labuschagne with a ball that kept low, the wheels came off Australia’s innings at the Arun Jaitley Stadium.
Their collapse on Sunday was reminiscent of their second innings meltdown in Nagpur where they were all out for 91 losing all 10 wickets in one session.
Australia had made a bold selection gamble picking a three-pronged spin attack and going with Cummins as the sole fast bowler.
Opener David Warner suffered concussion, and a fractured arm, and Matt Renshaw replaced him for the match.
While Australia continue to lead the standings, India would seal a place in the WTC final with victory in the third Test in Indore beginning on March 1.
AUSTRALIA (1st Innings) 263 (U. Khawaja 81, P. Handscomb 72 not out; M. Shami 4-60)
INDIA (1st Innings) 262 (V. Kohli 44, A. Patel 74; N. Lyon 5-67)
AUSTRALIA (2nd Innings, overnight 61-1)
U. Khawaja c Iyer b Jadeja 6
T. Head c Bharat b Ashwin 43
M. Labuschagne b Jadeja 35
S. Smith lbw b Ashwin 9
M. Renshaw lbw b Ashwin 2
P. Handscomb c Kohli b Jadeja 0
A. Carey b Jadeja 7
P. Cummins b Jadeja 0
N. Lyon b Jadeja 8
T. Murphy not out 3
M. Kuhnemann b Jadeja 0
TOTAL (all out, 31.1 overs) 113
FALL OF WICKETS: 1-23 (Khawaja), 2-65 (Head), 3-85 (Smith), 4-95 (Labuschagne), 5-95 (Renshaw), 6-95 (Handscomb), 7-95 (Cummins), 8-110 (Carey), 9-113 (Lyon)
BOWLING: Ashwin 16-3-59-3, Shami 2-0-10-0, Jadeja 12.1-1-42-7, Axar 1-0-2-0
INDIA (2nd Innings):
R. Sharma run out 31
KL Rahul c Carey b Lyon 1
C. Pujara not out 31
V. Kohli st Carey b Murphy 20
S. Iyer c Murphy b Lyon 12
S. Bharat not out 23
TOTAL (for four wickets, 26.4 overs) 118
DID NOT BAT: R. Jadeja, A. Patel, R. Ashwin, M. Siraj, M. Shami
FALL OF WICKETS: 1-6 (Rahul), 2-39 (Rohit), 3-69 (Kohli), 4-88 (Iyer)
BOWLING: Kuhnemann 7-0-38-0, Lyon 12-3-49-2, Murphy 6.4-2-22-1, Head 1-0-9-0
RESULT: India won by six wickets.
Published in Dawn, February 20th, 2023