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India vs Australia: India Retain Border-Gavaskar Trophy With Clinical Win in Melbourne

Cricketnext Staff | Updated: December 31, 2018, 12:36 AM IST
India vs Australia: India Retain Border-Gavaskar Trophy With Clinical Win in Melbourne

India celebrate after winning the Melbourne Test. (AP Photo)

There was rain, there were thunderstorms, the clouds played hide & seek but in the end all India needed were two good deliveries on the final day and it took them all of 4.3 overs to produce them and wrap up proceedings at Melbourne Cricket Ground to take an unassailable 2-1 lead in the four-match Test series on Sunday.

Persistent rain meant the morning session was completely washed out with play starting only after lunch - which was taken early. Resuming on 258/8, Pat Cummins and Nathan Lyon had a mountain to climb with the odds stacked firmly against them. Jasprit Bumrah - who was also named man-of-the-match - wasted no time in getting his length and with just his eighth ball of the day induced an outside edge off Cummins' blade for with Cheteshwar Pujara completing a simple chance at first slip. Cummins, the highest scorer for the hosts fell for 63, which included five fours and a six.

The very next over - 90th of the innings - Ishant Sharma picked up the final wicket getting rid of Lyon who top-edged a short ball straight into the hands of Rishabh Pant to end the Test. Chasing an improbable target, Australia were bowled out for 261 in 89.3 overs, handing India a comfortable 137 run win.

The victory also ensured India retain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy irrespective of the result in the final game.

The writing was very much on the wall for the hosts on the fourth day itself with all of the Indian bowlers finding their spots to have the hosts eight down. It only took a dogged effort from Cummins with the bat that saw the game going into day five but with the new ball being just five overs old, it was always going to be an uphill task.

It was more or less a perfect Test for India. Cheteshwar Pujara continued his excellent run of form with his second century of the series and was ably backed up by Kohli, who scored 82 as the visitors declared on 443/7. Jasprit Bumrah then wreaked havoc with the ball, registering figures of 6/33 in first innings to bundle out Australia for 151. While India did falter in the second dig with the bat, a cushion of 292 runs was enough to set the hosts a daunting 399-run target.

The bowlers then produced yet another clinical effort pushing the Australians on the back foot early. Bumrah once again was the star, finishing with 3/53. Ravindra Jadeja also returned with excellent figures of 3/82 while Ishant and Mohammed Shami chipped in with two wickets each.

For Australia, Pat Cummins was the lone bright spark as he produced a valiant effort with both bat and ball but sadly found little support from the others. He first did his primary job, that of bowling with esteemed precision to return a match haul of 9/99 and then also registered his highest Test score. However, it proved insufficient in the end.

The third and final Test will be staged at Sydney Cricket Ground from January 3.
First Published: December 30, 2018, 8:23 AM IST

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