Australia's old nemesis returned in the form of India to end its dream of registering a historic 17th consecutive win in the 3rd test played out in January 2008, seven years after a Steve Waugh led team met the same fate at the hand of Indians. India played its heart out to seal a historic 72-run test victory against Australia with a day to spare in the 3rd test at WACA Stadium in Perth, considered to be an almost unbreachable cricketing fortress of Australia. India dominated the game form the very first day, setting up a chaseable nonetheless imposing target of 330 runs in the first innings which kangaroos could never match upto, followed by yet another brave display of batting and a few inspired spells of bowling which were enough to drown the Kangaroo brigade in abysmal depths of defeat.
1st Day: India chose to bat after winning the toss, which turned out to be as good a decision as could have been made. Getting off to a flyer, the Indian opening pair set up a half-century stand before Sehwag succumbed yet again to the 20s-30s jinx and departed after an unusually slow 29 from his standards. Soon, however, Jaffer followed suit when Lee left him dumbstruck with his lethal pace and suddenly India's scorecard read 59 runs for 2 wickets, seeming like a bad omen for the future. Indian stalwart duo of Tendulkar and Dravid, however, took stock of the situation and built up a monumental 139-run partnership, which essentially laid the foundation for an Indian victory. Slicing, cutting and driving everything short pitched or loose of length, these two players successfully blunted the most fierce bowling attack in the world before Lee struck the little Maestro plumb in front of the wicket at the personal score of 71 runs. Dravid, on the other hand, carried on with his excellent form and developed another 80-run partnership with Laxman after Ganguly departed without making much of an impact. The game swiftly changed complexion later in the day, however, when Dravid and Laxman bowed out to the Australian pace and swing and India ended the day at the cricket score of 297 runs for 6 wickets in 84 overs.
2nd Day: Dhoni and Pathan seemed to be working it out well among themselves on the 2nd day, looking to build up a strong partnership to give India a better edge against Australia, when Kangaroos made a strong comeback to claim the last 4 wickets in quick succession. India suddenly found itself bundled out for 330 runs in the first innings, which left the game open with every chance of Australia coming back in the game backed by a few boisterous batting efforts. To everyone's surprise, however, the fears of a strong Kangaroo retaliation proved to be unfounded when Australia floundered away its chances with as dismal a display of batting as it could manage. India struck gold when Pathan barged in to claim the wickets of both the openers for single digit contributions followed by an excellent effort by RP Singh to make Hussey return to the pavilion for nought. The wide-eyed Australians found themselves blinking in disbelief as the young and aggressive Ishant claimed the scalps of Ponting and Clarke to put Kangaroos in deep trouble. Symonds and Gilchrist, however, quickly realized the importance of staying at the crease to get Australia some chance at coming back in the game. They worked to set up a crucial 102 run-partnership on the board which helped Australia make some sense of the proceedings. It was not long, however, before Symonds and Gilchrist gave in to the Indian pace and swing, which did not let the Kagaroo tail wag much either. The unthinkable had happened, mighty Australians were bundled out by India for merely 212 runs in the first innings. Gleefully, Indian batsmen made their way to the field and received an initial jolt in the form of Jaffer's wicket and collected a few crucial runs to increase the Indian lead. India ended the day at the cricket score of 52 runs for 1 wicket in 11 overs.
3rd Day: Beginning the day on a positive note, Sehwag seemed to be relishing the Australian attack as he cut and drove everything he could almost nonchalantly. But soon the happy hours ended as Clark bowled him in at 43 followed by the prized scalp of Dravid, claimed by none other than Lee himself. India was in for a lean period with batsmen departing at regular intervals, the worse ones being of Tendulkar and Ganguly, none of whom could make a meaningful contribution to the side. By the time Pathan departed just before completing his half century, India were already teetering at 160 runs for merely 6 wickets. Metaphorically, a Laxman rekha drawn by Laxman seemed to have kept the disaster at bay as he kept his cool with wickets falling all around him. Only Dhoni and RP Singh could make some make some useful contributions later in the innings before India lost all of the wickets at 294 runs. Australia was only too happy to start off late in the day, chasing an imposing lead of 413 runs which seemed like more or less of an improbable task. To further worsen its chances, Kangaroos lost both of its openers in the closing overs of the day to end up at 65 runs for 2 wickets.
4th Day: Making a confident start, Ponting and Hussey strutted ahead to achieve an unlikely goal of victory when Ponting suddenly found a young Ishant too hot to handle to further the matters. Surviving a few close appeals and a few edgy moments, Ponting would have hoped for something better in store for him when suddenly Ishant claimed his scalp, which ominously looked like a sign of things to come for the Kangaroos. Soon, RP Singh struck to make Hussey find his way back to the pavilion. Symonds followed suit next, which seemed like a nightmare come true for Australia with things delicately poised for both the sides with Australian scorecard reading 177 runs for 5 wickets. Clarke and Gilchrist took their chances to develop an excellent half-century partnership, which started frustrating Indian bowling options. Realizing the importance of breaking this partnership, Indian skipper put on his thinking cap and took a few calculated chances by bringing in an unlikely swing bowler in Sehwag. As the saying goes, fortune favors the brave and Kumble did not need to regret his choice as Sehwag afforded India the crucial breakthrough by bowling Gilchrist in with his deceptive swing. Rejoicing in the glory of a famous wicket, Sehwag soon struck another victim in the form of Lee. Sudeenly, Australia started looking out and down with 229 runs for 7 wickets lost while chasing a target of no less than 413 runs. Soon, sturdy Clarke also gave in to a lightning quick stumping effort by Dhoni, which made the writing on the wall all to clear to read. However, Australia found an unlikely hero in tailender Johnson who carved a niche innings in the midst of chaos for personal and national glory of a different kind. Johnson helped build up a stubborn 73 run partnership for the 9th wicket to keep the chances of Australia alive. However, lacking in good support except for a cameo by Clark, he could only achieve a personal landmark of remaining unbeaten at 50 when India scripted history by claiming the last wicket at the score 340 runs to register an unusually dramatic win by 72 runs. On a larger plane, this test match turned out to be an unlikely milestone to have been achieved by India in the midst of such a tumultous period which saw unseemly developments taking place in the wake of the last test but perhaps this is the way India preferred to answer all the criticisms. To all purposes, however, the win should be considered as only the beginning, not for deciding who will win this series but of the competition to don the mantle of future world champions.
Last Updated on 24 August 2012