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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

India complete 8wkt victory over Australia: T1 D5

India 572 & 2/50 (11.3 ov) def Australia 380 & 241(93 ov, Henriques 81*, Ashwin 5/95): T1D5 at Chennai. India lead series 1-0 with 3 Tests to play.
Man of the Match: MS Dhoni.

There were no real surprises today as India completed a convincing 8 wicket win. Nathan Lyon didn't last long , but he and, especially, Moises Henriques showed their team mates what grit and determination might achieve by adding a (sort of) facesaving 66 for the last wicket, taking the Test into the last day and making India bat again, albeit to chase only 50. Henriques was left not 81/148b (2x6, 6x4): surely he won't bat as low as no7 again.

The three Indian slow bowlers combined well, delivering 90 of the innings's 93 overs (a record?). Once again Ravi Ashwin led the way with 32-6-95-5, making 12/198 for the match.

Batting again, the Indian openers looked to keep out James Pattinson and see off Lyon, an understandable (for various reasons) if somewhat surprising choice to share the new ball.
Each of them took a wicket - Lyon was unlucky not to get two as wicketkeeper Matthew Wade missed what looked a fairly straightforward catch- but the deserved victory came soon enough.

MS Dhoni and Ashwin were the key, though not the only, factors in India's win. I'd previously written them down as respectively a short form specialist batter and a stock bowler lacking penetration, but they've proved me wrong in spades here.

At the post match ceremony Michael Clarke gave them their due while foreshadowing a tighter contest in T2, which begins in Hyderabad on Saturday. Whether this happens will depend to a large extent on the team's resilience and on the composition of the eleven. (You may read this as code for "heads must roll") Despite Jackson Bird's return home for treatment there are other bowlers available: it's unfortunate that there's no backup wicketkeeper. Wade is therefore Hobson's choice but he surely won't bat at no 6.

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