When it comes to rivalry in cricket, people talk about India Vs Pakistan matches and Australia Vs England matches. But India Vs Australia matches seem to surpass the traditional rivalries and the ongoing Border-Gavaskar Trophy between the two teams proves so.
India beat Australia to take 1-0 lead in the series. Australia was totally outplayed by India. It all worked for India from the moment Dhoni came out for the toss. India never looked ot of touch from the moment it won the toss. India registered a 320 run victory which is the biggest margin of victory by runs for India. Resuming at the overnight score of 141/5, Australia slipped to 144/8 when Zaheer Khan grabbed three quick wickets on the fifth day. Leg-Spinner Amit Mishra got the last two wickets and that made 7 wickets in his debut match. India's bowling performance throughout the match is superb. All the bowlers played their part prefectly and contributed to their victory. Dhoni was named Man of the Match for his aggressive batting and his captaincy.
Here's the progress of the match.
It was the day of records as Sachin broke Lara's record of most test runs. Ganguly crossed 7000 runs in tests. After a flying start from the openers Gambhir and Sehwag who added 70 runs to their first wicket, India lost 3 quick wickets. But Sachin and Ganguly ensured that the good start wasn't wasted. They added 142 runs between them. They became the sixth pair to score more than 4000 runs when batting together in tests. India were 311/5 at the end of the day with Ganguly batting on 54.
It was all Sachin's day.
Ganguly's elagant century, Dhoni's aggressive 92 took India to a massive total of 469. Dhoni played his natural game after a long time. Dhoni played agressively and carried the momentum set by Sachin Tendulkar. It was nice to see him playing this way. Ganguly makes his last test series a sweet one with his hundred in the first innings of the second test and a good performance in the first test. He was cool and confident throughout his innings and did not play a too many unnecessary shots. He constructed his innings with ease.
Zaheer Khan removed Hayden third time in a row in this series. After Harbhajan Vs Ponting, it is Zaheer Vs Hayden now. Ishant Sharma dismissed his favourite batsman, Ricky Ponting with a good length ball that nipped back into right hander after pitching. The bebutant Mishra joined the party by removing Katich and Clarke. Australia were 102/4 at the end of the day.
It was the day of Ganguly and Dhoni.
It was the spinner's day, especially the debutant Mishra's. His 5 for helped India to restrict Australia to 268 and take a first innings lead of 301 runs. Amit Mishra is the sixth Indian bowler to take five wickets in his debut. Ishant Sharma removed Hussey for a fantastic delivery. Shane Watson and Brad Haddin resisted Indian bowling for sometime before Harbhajan removed Haddin with a flighted delivery. Australia were all out for 268. Watson played well for his 78. He showed sense in the difficult situation. His 78 came in handy when his team needed a good innings.
Aggressive batting from the Indian openers Sehwag and Gambhir took India to 100/0 at the end of the day.
It was the day of Amit Mishra and Shane Watson.
Gambhir went on to score a magnificent century where as Sehwag fell for 90. The pair added 182 for the first wicket. Dhoni promoted himself up the order to score the runs quickly. He scored an unbeaten 68 to set Australia a mammoth target of 516.
Australian openers started their chase aggressively. But that did not help Australia as both the openers fell in one over looking to play for big shots. Harbhajan removed both the openers in an over before tea. He dismissed Hussey just after tea. It was Ishant Sharma then who carried the momentum. He bowled two top class deliveries to dismiss Ricky Ponting and Shane Watson. Both the balls were pitched just outside off and nipped back into right handers sharply. It was an excellent stuff from Ishant Sharma.
It was the day of Gambhir, Harbhajan and Ishant.
Starting the day with the overnight score of 141/5, Australia was slipped to 144/8 thanks to the excellent bowling from Zaheer Khan. He grabbed 3 wickets in a span of 4 balls.It was then Amit Mishra who took the last two wickets to end the match.
Here's my ratings of both the teams in this match.
Batting: 4.5 out of 5
Indian batsman made use of the batting conditions and scored well. They were amazing in their own conditions. Sehwag and Gambhir played aggressively from the start of the match. Both of them faced the Australian bowlers well. Tendulkar and Ganguly set a big partnership and they crossed some milestones. Dhoni too played aggressively to take his team to a big total. Dravid too played his part in the first innings. It was a bit disaponting for Laxman in the first innings. Dravid and Laxman did not get a chance in the second innings. It was a collective performance from all the batsman.
Bowling: 5 out of 5
This is the main difference between the two teams. On a pitch where Australians struggled to swing the ball, Ishant and Zaheer swung the ball very well and troubled the Australians throughout the match. Ishant's bowling was superb. His deliveries to Ponting and Watson in the second innings were top class. The two pacers claimed 8 wickets between them. Harbhajan bowled excellently in the second innings. He took 5 wickets in the match. The debutant Amit Mishra got 7 wickets in the match. His variations made the Australian batsman struggle. The spinners claimed 12 wickets between them. Full marks to India in the bowling department. Indian bowlers were on song throughout the match.
Fielding: 3.5 out of 5
Indian test side is full of senior players like Laxman, Dravid, Sachin and Ganguly. But it did not affect their fielding in this match. Sachin took a terrific catch off Simon Katich. It was a fine fielding from India though there were some minor mistakes.
Batting: 3 ot of 5
Except Hussey, Clarke and Watson to some extent none of the batsmen peformed well. Had Hayden, Ponting performed well, the reslt would be different. Hussey, Clarke and Watson faced the indian bowlers well. These batsman batted with focus and determination. They held the Austrlian innings together for sometime.
Bowling: 3 out of 5
Brett Lee was the major problem for Australia in this match. He was not upto the mark. He took just two wickets. Indian batsman were never troubled by Brett Lee in the match. Mitchell Johnson was the only Australian bowler to perform well. Peter Siddle, the debutant, was predictable. Shane Watson, Michael Clarke and Cameron White shared just two wickets among them. Australia definitely needs a quality bowler. On a pitch where Indian bowlers could find some assistance, Australian bowlers could find no assistance in the pitch and struggled to trouble the Indian batsmen. Indian batsman played them comfortably.
Fielding: 3 out of 5
Rarely we see the Australians misfield. Australia's fielding in this match is not upto their potential. Ponting misfielded a few times and they given away so many extras in the form of over throws, byes.
This is one of the finest moments of Indian test cricket.The important aspect of this test was indians played attacking and sensible cricket. Dhoni once again led from the front. Australia were outplayed in every department.
India will look to wrap up the series in the third test match starts at Delhi on October 29. The Australians will need to regroup after this crushing loss.