CHENNAI (TIP): India clinched the first Test against Australia with a comfortable eight-wicket victory to take a 1-0 lead in the four-match series on Tuesday with their spinners taking all the 20 wickets for only the third time in their Test history. The Indians took about 25 minutes in the morning to finally bring an end to the stubborn last-wicket partnership between Moises Hendriques (81 not out) and Nathan Lyon (11) as Australia folded up for 241 in their second innings, leaving the hosts a small victory target of 50.
The hosts lost both their openers Murali Vijay (6) and Virender Sehwag (19) before overhauling the target with more than two full sessions to spare. Cheteshwar Pujara brought about the winning run off Nathan Lyon to trigger off scenes of celebrations in the galleries and the Indian dressing room as the players congratulated and hugged each other.
It was a commendable show by the Indians, who have been under pressure of late following a series of indifferent performances in recent times, as they dominated the game right through at the M A Chidambaram stadium where the conditions suited the home team. While captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni expectedly got the man-of-the-match award for his game-changing knock of 224, off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin scalped 12 wickets in the match to also play a stellar role. The margin of victory could have been bigger had the Indians managed to get rid of the last wicket pair on Day 4 itself and had they not lost both their openers despite chasing a small total.
The two teams will now travel to Hyderabad for the second Test be played at the Rajiv Gandhi International stadium from March 2 to 6. This was the third time that Indian spinners managed to take all the 20 wickets in a match.
The first time that Indian spinners bagged all the 20 wickets was at this same venue against England in 1972-73 while the second such instance was against New Zealand in Auckland in 1975-76. Resuming at the overnight score of 232/9, Australia could add just nine runs to their tally much to the relief of the Indians who had a frustrating time trying to dismiss the last-wicket pair.
It took the Indians just nine overs on Day 5 to put an end to Australia’s resistance when Ravindra Jadeja broke the agonisingly long last-wicket partnership between Henriques and Lyon. Lyon, who showed a lot of grit and temperament to hang on, was dismissed by left-arm spinner Jadeja, caught by Murali Vijay at short-leg.