Australia level Test series against India with 146-run victory
PERTH (Reuters) – Australia cleaned up India’s lower order through a barrage of hostile bowling before lunch on the fifth day to secure a series-levelling 146-run victory in the second Test on Tuesday.
Having set the tourists a daunting 287 runs to win on a menacing Perth Stadium pitch, Australia dismissed top-ranked India for 140 midway through the first session to win an engrossing, low-scoring contest.
The wickets were shared around with spinner Nathan Lyon (3-39) and quick Mitchell Starc (3-46) the pick of the bowlers.
Lyon claimed eight wickets for the test and has 16 overall in the series.
It was sweet revenge for Australia after a nail-biting 31-run defeat in the series-opener in Adelaide, and ensured captain Tim Paine’s first win as skipper.
India, who made 283 in the first innings, pinned their faint hopes on Hanuma Vihari and Rishabh Pant when they resumed on 112-5, but the flicker quickly evaporated when Vihari fell for 28 in the morning’s sixth over after inside-edging a short Starc delivery to square leg.
The aggressive Pant tried to chance his arm in a desperate search for runs, but miscued a slog off Lyon to be brilliant caught by a diving Peter Handscomb at mid-wicket for 30.
Umesh Yadav copped a barrage of short-pitched bowling from Starc and his ungainly stonewalling effort did not last long, spooning a bouncer back to the left-arm bowler for two.
Ishant Sharma fell for a duck handing Pat Cummins his first wicket and the scoreless Jasprit Bumrah was dismissed three balls later to spark scenes of jubilation from the Australian players.
Australia ended a run of eight tests without a victory, a big relief following a turbulent period marred by the damaging Newlands ball-tampering scandal.
The test was the first at the new 60,000-seat stadium located in Burswood after a 47-year run at the WACA but crowds were sluggish with fierce heat blighting the early part of the match.
The series shifts to the traditional Boxing Day Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground followed by the finale in Sydney, as India attempt their first series win in Australia.