Australia v India, 2nd Test, Sydney, 4th day January 6, 2012

Hilfenhaus takes five in Australia's innings win


Australia 4 for 659 dec beat India 191 and 400 (Gambhir 83, Tendulkar 80, Laxman 66, Ashwin 62, Hilfenhaus 5-106) by an innings and 68 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

This was supposed to be India's best chance to win a Test series in Australia. It has taken only eight days of cricket for Michael Clarke's men to deny them that goal. On the fourth afternoon in Sydney, an attack led by Ben Hilfenhaus deconstructed India's formidable batting line-up, bit by bit, to secure an unbeatable 2-0 series lead with victory by an innings and 68 runs, Australia's first innings win over India in 12 years.

The last such result also came at the SCG, in 2000. Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman were all part of that side, as they were members of the outfit that lost this time around. It is unlikely they will have another chance to beat Australia at home. For now, India still hold the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, and should they win in Perth and Adelaide they will retain it. But their grip on it is as weak as Chris Martin's forward defence.

This was an Australian victory that will be remembered for Clarke's unbeaten 329. But on the fourth day, it was a second consecutive five-wicket haul from Hilfenhaus that was the highlight. Hilfenhaus completed the success with the final wicket when R Ashwin, who had made a fighting 62, skied a pull and was caught by Nathan Lyon running around from mid-on.

The Australians were overjoyed. Clarke especially was thrilled. His declaration on the third day, when he could have chased personal milestones like Brian Lara's world-record Test innings of 400, was designed to ensure Australia would win the match. They did so with three and a half sessions remaining. Clarke is not the kind of man to harbour any regrets. The win was everything.

He knew better than anyone that batting on the SCG surface was not particularly difficult, and as Tendulkar and Laxman put on a 103-run stand his mind might have flicked back eight years, to a 353-run partnership between the same men at the same ground. Fittingly, it was Clarke with his left-arm spin that ended the partnership, and India's hopes of saving the Test.

Tendulkar had reached 80 and seemed to be on track to register his long-awaited hundredth international hundred in the SCG's hundredth Test when Clarke changed the course of the day. He produced a delivery that was accurate enough to draw Tendulkar into a stroke and turned just enough to catch the edge, which ricocheted off Brad Haddin's gloves and was snaffled by Michael Hussey at slip.

When the new ball arrived, the other architect of that one threatening partnership, Laxman, on 66, fell to a near-perfect delivery from Hilfenhaus, who finished with 5 for 106. The ball angled in and then nipped away to beat the outside edge of Laxman's bat, clipping the edge of the top of off stump, and the batsman could scarcely believe his fate, confident as he appeared that he had covered his wicket.

From there, the wickets fell steadily. MS Dhoni (2) chipped a return catch to Hilfenhaus, who seemed to think it was a bump ball. But the umpire's decision to have the third official check on the shot revealed it had lobbed cleanly back to Hilfenhaus without touching the ground, surprising some of the Australians.

Virat Kohli was lbw to James Pattinson for 9, a fraction unlucky as the ball kept low, but there was no question over the decision. Peter Siddle joined in by removing Zaheer Khan, who had made an entertaining 35 when he slashed hard at a delivery outside off and was taken by Shaun Marsh running back from extra cover.

Briefly, Ishant Sharma and Ashwin staved off the Australians with a 42-run stand, but Ishant (11) was lbw to the offspin of Nathan Lyon. That was the only breakthrough of the match for Lyon, who also collected just one in Melbourne and has not removed a top-six batsman since the first Test of the summer, against New Zealand at the Gabba. Though usually loath to change a winning side, Australia might consider replacing him with Ryan Harris at the WACA.

There are far more questions for India. For a while it looked like they might take the match into the fifth day as they worked through the first session for the loss of only one wicket, that of Gautam Gambhir. He missed the chance for his first Test century in nearly two years when, on 83, he stood on the crease and reached his bat a long way forward to the bowling of Siddle, who found a leading edge that was snapped up by David Warner at point.

Tendulkar and Laxman continued to fight. Laxman played some of his trademark wristy flicks through the leg side, against the fast men and also the offspin of Lyon, and Tendulkar showed off some wonderful cover-drives early in the morning. Shortly before the lunch break, Tendulkar upper-cut a frustrated Pattinson over the sole slip for another boundary.

But it was all a big tease for the Indian fans. In a match where three Australians made tons, including one triple-hundred, India needed more than a handful of pretty half-centuries. There are questions over their batting and their bowling as the Perth Test approaches. They have a week to sort out their problems.

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Geoffrey on January 9, 2012, 23:59 GMT

    @g.narsimha- your comments are laughable. Firstly it was Gilchrist who captained Australia to the last win in India, Steve Waugh had retired. Secondly your comments about the "early" days when everybody used to lose in India are false- plenty of touring teams since the last war succumbed to spinning wickets and dodgy umpiring. My point is that India have only won 5 matches in Australia since 1948. So statistically that is one test match win per decade for India in Australia. Can't compare the two teams really, Australia is light years ahead.

  • narsimha on January 9, 2012, 14:17 GMT

    SFGOLDENGAT in the last decade our team won 23 away matches & third in overall away wins after AUS, SA, at this period we were fifth in home victories so UR claim that india only won in india during KRISTENS period is devoid of facts , similarly ur assertion that our top batsman doesnt have the technic in playing out side INDIA , than just check their stats on this site ,they scored hugely in aus, sa,eng wi , sachins over seas ave is higher than home,as at present even they are failing collectivly in 2 series u cant brand them as only home track bullies , see thier indivisua lstats in these countries HAMMAND i never claimed that ur team didnt win series in IND , majority of those wins were in erlier stages when ind used to lose so aften to every visiting team, during last decade ur teams performance was not convincing in ind baring one series win by steave waugh, after that nothing, my piont is if these matches are played in ind the result would have been same2-0-INDIA

  • Sathish on January 9, 2012, 10:08 GMT

    India all out for 42, Friend i think it would be in your dream on some day LoL!

  • Syed Tanveer on January 9, 2012, 8:47 GMT

    I personally think we should call the news of the world to revealed what happed to India. I have doughts that India is more capable of threat Australia according to the team they have . I am very disappointed to see that there was no sprit of cricket in India's team by throwing their wickets like an armature team. I think to save the India team we need to wake up and have a big heart to allow other youngster by keeping max two senior player in side. So that youngster can learn more on the field with seniors expirences. A country who has talent in millions is seem to have none because most of the current player sleeping on their past best performance and believe that's it. No one remember yesterday when you have a war today.

  • Dummy4 on January 9, 2012, 8:41 GMT

    IND showned their class and they are really Tiger at home and Rabbit in overseas. They are so pathetic. At the moments there are 3 top teams ENG,SA and AUS. Middle teams are PAK,SL,NZ and minnows are BAN,ZIM,IND and WIN. This is the reality. Actually this is the weakest AUS team in recent history. No proper opening pair,Spinner is pathetic,New past bowlers.

  • Geoffrey on January 9, 2012, 8:00 GMT

    @g.narsimha- Australia have actually won 4 TEST SERIES in India. India have won 5 TEST MATCHES in Australia. You work the mathematics out.

  • Andrew on January 9, 2012, 5:13 GMT

    @topeleven - quite laughable to suggest that Captaincy was the reason why India lost. Not trying to take wickets & not scoring enough runs were the main reasons. If Oz got 4/600 odd, surely the famed Indian batting line up should of matched that & hence drawn the game????? @g.narsimha - true, I don't bag Indian batsmen for being flat track bullies, its demeaning to great cricketers. Indian batsmen have adapted well to local conditions with LOW bounce & adjust well to turn. These are valid skills in cricket. The only problem is - that it renders your batsmen EXTREMELY vulnerable outside Asia. India need to have more FC & Test pitches with Bounce & Seam, (not all but some at least)!

  • Dummy4 on January 9, 2012, 2:35 GMT

    @ SFGoldenGate spot on mate .couldn't have put it any better. cheers

  • Gaurav on January 8, 2012, 21:45 GMT

    JG2704-There is no question of taking personally as what you mentioned in your post is truth and bitter reality.Unfortunate thing is BCCI and many of my fellow Indian fans dont understand a simple fact that there is hell lot of difference between limited overs cricket and test cricket.Much more skill, quality, practice and patience is needed in test cricket and for that you have to prioritize test cricket just like England(well deserved no1 team) has done.Dhoni who is a poor test cricketer himself has very little idea about this format ,and he gives chance to cricketers on the basis of their ODI performances.Like you pointed out correctly, India has big problems as far as test cricket is concerned, and big changes have to be made if they want to compete outside subcontinent against quality test teams.

  • aslam on January 8, 2012, 19:10 GMT

    @Ajay Devan, You have selected conditions/performances for India. What should be conditions for Australia. 1) only hussy ponting clarke warner cowan haddin can bowl. No other is allowed to bowl.............................

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