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Wow. 2 Test matches, 2 cracking games. Australia stretched India to the limit in Adelaide and here, except the final innings where the Indian batting caved in, both teams were neck-and-neck and small moments made the difference. We now have a week's break as everyone gets busy in their Christmas festivities. Then, comes Boxing Day which will be Australia's biggest game of the year at the MCG. Do join us for that as the third Test begins on Wednesday, December 26, 2018 at 10.30 am local (2330 GMT, previous night). Hopefully, it is another cracker. ADIOS! TAKE CARE!
Who is the Man Of The Match? NATHAN LYON! Surprised? Probably not. He has been the difference between the two sides. Is amazed to have played a role in a win as Australia have not tasted victory for a while. Thanks all the support from the supporters and for believing in the team and cannot wait to sing the team's winning song which was passed on to him by Michael Hussey. Credits the entire team for batting well and then bowling with fire. On his own bowling, Lyon says that he did not have to do much as majority of the Indian batsmen came running at him and that aided his bowling. Also, admits that the footholes created by the fast bowlers helped. On having Kohli's number, Lyon says that it feels great to get the number 1 batsman dismissed consistently and the entire team looks forward to try and get him out quickly. On his banter with Pant, Lyon says that it is exciting to watch him play as he is confident to clear the fence with 5 fielders at the boundary, which means that the bowlers are in with a chance regularly.
Now comes the victorious Australian captain Tim Paine. Cheekily admits that this win is more of a relief for him. Is proud of his staff and his boys for working hard and is happy that finally some reward has been earned. Agrees that both Tests have been tough and competitive and both teams have not given an inch. On the patience required when a wicket was not falling, Paine says that after the first hour on Day 1, the pitch seemed to flatten out but given that it was behaving up and down, the team was confident that it was a matter of time when wickets started to fall. Says further that the wicket in general was good to bat. On Khawaja's second innings performance, he says that Usman is in a really good space, very calm at the crease and predicts that a big knock is around the corner. On Lyon, he says that he can give the ball at any time to him and he can give you wickets against any opposition in any part of the world. On the MCG Test, Tim says that it is a great honour to lead the Aussie side in that Test and says that the entire team management is looking forward to that game.
Indian skipper Virat Kohli is up for a chat first with Isa Guha. Kohli says that as a team they played well in patches and admits that Australia played much better than India with the bat and feels 330 in the first innings was a bit too much and they deserved to win. On being asked for the target, Virat says that in the middle, no one thinks that any target is impossible to chase but when one is in the dressing room, all such thoughts come into the minds. Stresses that India tried hard and were confident but Australia stuck into their task and kept coming hard at the Indians. Praises the Indian bowling attack in the second innings and their relentlessness as if they do not pick up wickets, they do not give runs either. On the Jadeja selection conundrum, VK says that at the toss, he would not have picked Jadeja due to the grass. But praises Lyon for the way he bowled as per the conditions. But stresses that looking at the grass on the first day, four fast bowlers would have been enough was the thought. On this own batting, Kohli says that he is just focussed in contributing to the team's winning cause. On his controversial catch by Handscomb, Virat does not look too much into it and says that the decision stays on the field. Is looking forward to the Boxing Day Test amidst a full house at the MCG.
You don't see this much often but read this - Indian bowlers were better than their counterparts, that too, in the latter's backyard. But Australia's batsmen outplayed the Indian batters. It will be interesting to see who is awarded the Player Of The Match. Stay tuned for the presentation...
Spare a thought for the Indian bowlers. Before this year started, every Indian fan must have been complaining - 'Our batting is terrific. But our bowling is toothless overseas.' Under Virat Kohli, the bowlers look fired up but sadly for him, the batting is not stepping up. It is a collective failure and even though, one might argue that the management misread the conditions by selecting the wrong playing XI, at some point of time, if the batting does not fire collectively, the team is going to pay for it.
In true manner, Australia have 'bounced back' in this series. The pacers actually bounced out the Indians this morning and it was really ruthless, finishing the game off pretty quickly. Starc has responded to Shane Warne's criticism pretty well, strutting his fitness with 5 wickets and quality bowling. Hazlewood and Cummins did their bit and the biggest difference in this match - NATHAN LYON - 53.5-10-106-8 - bit the Indians hard. Their ploy of not going in with a specialist spinner backfired. Without a doubt, Ravindra Jadeja or Kuldeep Yadav could have influenced the outcome of this match.
If you just look at this match alone, we can compare it with India's batting performances in England. Kohli stands out, without a doubt. But cricket is a team game. This bloke has been scoring around 50-60 percent of the team's totals since 2018 in Tests and eventually, when the opposition attack is better, the rest of the batting line-up gets exposed. The Indians needed a good start to make a fist of this run chase and probably, the game was sealed in the 20th over, when the captain edged one to slip.
Was this a match where a win at the toss meant a win at that time itself? Perhaps. Have a look at the innings run-rates. The hosts played at around 3 an over. India replied with 2.67. Then it was only 2.6 for the Kangaroos in their second dig. And in the final innings, it came down to 2.5. Clearly, the pitch got more and more difficult to bat as the game progressed and eventually, a target of 287 was way too many for India.
Bumrah and Shami have to wait a while to shake hands. The Aussies take a moment for themselves. They have not got an opportunity to do this for so many months. Every player is hugging one another and just crushing each other's hair. Finally, they disperse and the players shake hands. Well played, Australia.
'Series is on, boys and girls!' says an excited Michael Clarke on air. Sensational win for Australia. First win since March 2018. 5 losses and 1 draw have preceded this match. First win for Tim Paine as captain. First win for Justin Langer as coach. Boy, aren't they delighted!
55.7PatCummins to JBumrah
OUT! It is all over! India are bowled out for 140. AUSTRALIA WIN BY 146 RUNS AND THE SERIES IS BACK LEVEL AT 1-1. The ball is on a good length and Bumrah looks to go for a slog but manages to get just a top edge. The ball goes high in the air but Pat Cummins takes a smart catch while sitting down right in front of the stumps at the non-striker's end. What a morning, 5 wickets within an hour and it wouldn't be far-fetched to say that this was on the cards too. It was just a matter of one wicket in the morning. The Aussies are elated and there are massive celebrations, hasn't taken them long to nip this off.
55.6PatCummins to JBumrah
Another swipe at this one outside off and it is missed completely by the tailender.
55.5PatCummins to JBumrah
Outside off, and Bumrah is beaten as he goes for a cut on the off side.
Jasprit Bumrah is the last batsman to the crease.
55.4PatCummins to ISharma
OUT! Number 9 is gone now. And it was pretty expected as well. Short delivery outside off, Ishant backs away and tries to hit it through the off side but gets a thick outside edge straight into the gloves of Tim Paine. Australia need just 1 more wicket level the series.
55.3PatCummins to ISharma
Goes short again on off, Ishant tries to slash hard but misses.
55.2PatCummins to ISharma
Short delivery again on middle, Sharma defends it off the back foot and onto the ground.
55.1PatCummins to ISharma
Starts off with a short delivery. Ishant nicely ducks underneath it.
Mohammed Shami is in at number 10. Meanwhile, Drinks have also been called for. Pat Cummins to bowl now.
54.6MStarc to UYadav
OUT! Brutal is the word. Starc gives the Indians a taste of their own medicine. Yesterday, Shami and Bumrah were aiming at the batsman's head. Today, it is Starc's turn to give it back. Yadav backs away to hit this away but the bowler follows him and the ball is aimed at Umesh's head. The bouncer is too good for the tailender and all he can do is just hang his bat out in front of his face. The ball goes off the top of the handle and pops up back to Starc for what probably could be one of the easiest catches of his career. Australia just 2 away now!
54.5MStarc to UYadav
Kept out, from outside the off stump.
54.4MStarc to UYadav
Yadav manages to get bat on this and push it away to square leg for a couple.
54.3MStarc to UYadav
Quick, real quick! 150.9 kph. The ball goes off the inside edge and gets hit on the pads. The ball just drops on the off side.
54.2MStarc to UYadav
Yadav wanted to hit that to Melbourne it seems! Getting hit maybe initiated this. Makes room to another bouncer and goes for a huge swipe and misses completely.
54.1MStarc to UYadav
Ouch! That would be nasty. Starc comes around the wicket and the ball is a nasty bouncer aimed at the head. Yadav takes his eyes off the ball and is hit on the left shoulder.
53.6NLyon to ISharma
The batsman shows the full face of the bat and defends the ball off the back foot.
53.5NLyon to ISharma
Woah! Turn and bounce and almost had Ishant off the first ball. Well outside off, Ishant wants to feel the ball but misses. Paine goes up in an appeal almost instantly and then the others follow suit. The umpire wants nothing to do with it though.
Ishant Sharma is in at number 9.
53.4NLyon to RPant
OUT! What a stunning catch from Handscomb. Pant departs. It was nicely tossed up by Lyon on middle, Pant charges down the track and tries to whack it over mid-wicket but hits his inside half of the bat and the ball flies towards Handscomb at short mid-wicket who goes to his left and takes a brilliant catch. That must surely be curtains for India now. Australia need 3 wickets more to level the series.
53.3NLyon to RPant
Outside off, Pant lets it go.
53.2NLyon to RPant
Flatter on middle, Pant defends it from within the crease.
53.1NLyon to RPant
FOUR! Lyon drags it short outside off, Pant cuts it through backward point and the ball races away to the boundary. Good short form the left-hander.
52.6MStarc to UYadav
Outside off and defended back down the ground. Yadav survives the four balls!
52.5MStarc to UYadav
A loud appeal but the umpire is unmoved! The ball is short of a length and seems to have landed in line. It keeps low and Umesh who is jumping thinking that the ball will bounce, is rapped on the pads. But the impact seems to be outside off and the ball seems to be missing off. Probably what made the decision go in favor of the batsman. That was quick, 142.6 kph to be precise.
52.4MStarc to UYadav
Another bouncer! This time Yadav gets out of the line and goes for the wild swipe but yet again, he makes no connection. Also, tumbles while attempting the shot.
52.3MStarc to UYadav
Some chin music first up! Umesh does what a tailender would do. Takes his eyes off and goes for the swing but connects with only air.
52.2MStarc to RPant
A short of a length ball on middle and leg, the ball is pushed towards mid-wicket. Pant runs the first one very hard but there is only one available there and Umesh has four balls to face from Mitchell Starc now.
52.1MStarc to RPant
Another bouncer on middle, Pant gets his bat high and plays the ball out on the leg side. The run isn't taken though.
51.6NLyon to UYadav
Gives it a bit of air on off, Yadav comes forward and tries to defend it but it flies off the inside edge of the bat. Luckily for Yadav he did not fall in the hands of the short leg fielder.
51.5NLyon to UYadav
Flighted delivery on off, UY watchfully blocks it.
51.4NLyon to UYadav
A tad full on off, Yadav defends it with a straight bat.
51.3NLyon to UYadav
Loopy delivery on middle, UY defends it by presenting the full face of the bat.
51.2NLyon to UYadav
On middle, Yadav defends it off the front foot and onto the ground.
51.1NLyon to RPant
Tossed up delivery on off, Pant dances down the track and smashes it towards long off for a run.