Sport Cricket Cricket: Australia wins by 146 runs to level the series

Cricket: Australia wins by 146 runs to level the series

It was a big day for Australia in Perth. Photo: Getty
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Australia v India,  Second Test, Perth

Aus – 326       243

India – 283      140

Australia won by 146 runs        Player of the match – Nathan Lyon

Australia has beaten India by 145 runs on the morning of the fifth-day of the second Test in Perth.

The Australian bowlers made short work of India’s tail, taking the last five wickets for just 27 runs to tie the series 1-1 as both teams head to Melbourne for the Boxing Day Test.

This was a Test match between two fiercely competitive teams each armed with a battery of intimidating fast bowlers and a clutch of determined batsmen who had to contend with a lively and challenging wicket.

Virat Kohli’s first innings century was the standout innings of the game, Mohammed Shami’s blistering spell on the afternoon of day four that netted his career-best figures of 6-56 was fast bowling at its finest.

Yet Australia walks away winners due to a more even contribution across the board and the ability of their class off-spinner and player of the match Nathan Lyon to take big wickets when it matters most.

India started the day requiring 175 runs to win with five wickets in hand.

Any Indian aspiration for a famous victory would turn on the ability of batsmen Rishabh Pant (30)  and Hanuma Vihari (28) to grind their way through the first session without losing a wicket.

With Lyon at the peak of his powers, it would take a herculean application of concentration and technique for the Indian pair to navigate the session unscathed.

It was always a tough ask for Vihari and the end came quickly.

Mitchell Starc was able to extract pace and bounce early on the final day and he produced a delivery that Vihari tried to clip off his pads, only  to lob a simple catch to Marcus Harris at square leg.

Pant, realising India has a longer tail than a red kangaroo, decided it was time to hit it or quit it.

The diminutive keeper/batsman began to open his shoulders and swing hard at anything that offered him a little width.

It was a high roller’s strategy and as he swung across the line of a Nathan Lyon delivery he could only watch as Peter Handscomb tumbled to his left to take a fine catch.

The dismissal was Lyon’s 48th for the calendar year making him the equal highest alongside Sri Lanka’s Dilruwan Perera.

With Pant departing India’s hopes of saving the game went with him.

Yadev Umesh (2) survived 22 deliveries including a harrowing barrage from Starc, one ball crashing into his shoulder at a lightning pace.

Umesh was under fire and he eventually cracked, turning away from another Starc rocket and paddling a simple return catch to the Australian paceman.

Ishant Sharma (0) was no better equipped to cope with Australia’s pace salvo.

The big Indian fast bowler was clearly intimidated by the vicious bounce Pat Cummins was extracting from the fifth-day wicket and, backing away to square leg, nicked a chance to Tim Paine to be the next to fall.

Japrit Bumrah (0) has been a mighty force for India with the ball in this series so it was somewhat cruel that his inadequacy with the bat would be the final undoing for Virat Kohli’s team. Bumrah skied a simple chance back to Cummins to end the match and give Australia the victory.

It was Tim Paine’s first win as captain and Australia’s first since they beat South Africa in Durban in March before things spiralled out of control on that ill-tempered tour.

It had been Australia’s longest winless streak since 2013.