Melbourne: The Indian batting crumbled against a lively pace attack as Australia won the first Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) by 122 runs here Thursday to take a 1-0 lead in their bid to regain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.
The Indian batting collapsed for the second time in the match. Chasing 292 to win, the visitors lost their top six batsmen for just 64 runs, before being bowled out for 169. Australia were bowled out for 240 in their second innings earlier in the day.
Opting to bat, Australia made 333 in the first innings and took a 51-run lead after bowling out India for 282 runs.
For India it was their fifth successive Test loss overseas, following their 0-4 whitewash during the summer in England.
India, however, had a good chance of winning the Test after the fine performance of the fast bowlers. They had more than five sessions to chase the target but started on a disastrous note, as they lost dashing opener Virender Sehwag (7) just before the lunch break. Sehwag was sharply caught at gully by Michael Hussey off Ben Hilfenhaus.
This triggered a collapse as India slumped from 17 for no loss to 81 for six in the post-lunch session.
All the three Australian quicks bowled beautifully to draw movement at genuine pace and were able to keep the momentum even after the break, taking wickets at regular intervals. James Pattinson picked up four for 53 and was adjudged as the Man of the Match with a Test haul of six for 108 runs.
Gautam Gambhir (13) was the first to fall after the resumption, caught at second slip by Ricky Ponting off Peter Siddle.
The dismissals of the openers brought world’s two top highest run scorers, Sachin Tendulkar (32) and Rahul Dravid (10), to the crease but they did too little as India’s hopes faded away.
Dravid (10) had his stump rattled and V.V.S. Laxman (1) was caught shortly after, both from the bowling of Pattinson. Hilfenhaus had Virat Kohli trapped on the crease LBW for a golden duck while Siddle picked up Sachin Tendulkar for the second time in the match, caught at gully by Hussey to leave India in desperate straits.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni (23) and Ravichandran Ashwin (30) made Australia wait with their 36-run stand, which was finally broken by Siddle, who got rid of Ashwin.
Dhoni and Zaheer Khan (13) added 24 runs for the eight wicket before Pattinson struck to remove them in the successive overs.
Earlier in the day, a crucial last-wicket stand of 43 runs between Pattinson (37 not out) and Hilfenhaus (14) took Australia to a comfortable 240 runs.
Overnight batsman Michael Hussey (89) had a difficult time with Zaheer Khan (3-53) and Umesh Yadav (4-70) bowling a great opening spell.
Hussey was finally dismissed caught behind off an unplayable Zaheer delivery. Pattinson, however, battled it out and together with Hilfenhaus added a valuable 31 runs for the last wicket.