The Australian pace trio led by James Pattinson, well supported by Ben Hilfenhaus and Peter Siddle destroyed Indian batting in the second innings and won the first Test against India convincingly by 122 runs.
The Kangaroos smashed 333 runs in their first innings, India fell short of 51 runs and scored 282 runs. The home side was dismissed on 240 runs in their second innings and a target of 292 runs was set for the visitors to win the match but they were crippled to 169.
The young gun of Australia, Pattinson was declared ‘Player of the match’ because of his match winning all round performance.
The match was played at Melbourne Cricket Ground, which ended on December 29, 2011, one day earlier than the scheduled itinerary.
Earlier Australia was fighting at 179 for the loss of eight wickets at the close of the third day’s play in their second innings. The experienced Michael Hussey and Pattinson were unbeaten on 79 and three runs respectively. They added 18 runs on the fourth day when Hussey committed himself with an outstanding delivery from Zaheer Khan and was caught smartly by MS Dhoni behind the wickets at 89 runs.
The ninth wicket fell at 197 runs when Pattinson demonstrated his skills against the variety of pace cum spin attack of India which was well supported by Hilfenhaus at the other end. He got a life at 15 runs but continued with his positive batting until his partner was removed on 14 not before they added useful 43 runs for the last wicket. Pattinson remained unbeaten on 37 runs when the home side scored 240 runs in 76.3 overs and gained an overall substantial lead of 291 runs.
Umesh Yadav was the main wicket taker with four, Zaheer held two, Ishant Sharma claimed two as Ravichandran Ashwin chipped in with one wicket.
The Indians made a watchful start of their second innings and managed 15 runs in the first five overs. They felt the first shock of the day when Virender Sehwag was caught in the gully by Hussey off Hilfenhaus on seven runs at the total of 17. Gautam Ghambhir and Rahul Dravid added 22 runs for the second wicket as Siddle struck for Australia and got rid of Ghambhir after he had scored 13 runs.
The Aussie quickies were in an aggressive mood and the India batsmen found it hard to negotiate with their pace and bounce. The lack of aptitude against the fierce fast bowling was once against obvious after their dismal tour of England last summer. They found themselves stranded at 69 runs after losing their five top order batsmen. The important wickets of their star performers Dravid and VVS Laxman were clinched by the young thrilling bowler Pattinson.
All eyes were set on Sachin Tendulkar for his 100th hundred but he was unable to go past 32 runs when Siddle showed him the way to the pavilion once the little master was caught smartly by Hussey at gully.
The sixth wicket was gone at 81 runs and that was the end of the hopes for the visitors though some fight was shown by couple of late order batsmen. Ashwin contributed 30 runs when he was caught by Ed Cowan off Siddle and Dhoni was bowled by Pattinson at 23 runs. The whole team was bowled out at 169 runs in mere 47.5 overs and they had no answer to the deadly fast bowling of the Kangaroos.
Pattinson was the chief wrecker with four wickets, Siddle held three victims, Hilfenhaus added two wickets to his tally and the off spinner Nathan Lyon claimed one wicket.
Australia was an exuberant side after winning the first Test by a handful margin of 122 runs and they are leading the four Test series 1-0. Michael Clarke must be a pleased Captain as his dreams and prayers on Christmas were fulfilled when he said,
”All I want for Christmas is to beat India in this first Test match.”