x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Hard-working India revel in record victory

India's stand-in skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni surprised at Australia's lack of fight after hosts clinch a record 320-run win in second Test.

The India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, left, walks past Australia's Michael Clarke after defeating Australia on the fifth day of the second Test to take a 1-0 lead in the series.
The India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, left, walks past Australia's Michael Clarke after defeating Australia on the fifth day of the second Test to take a 1-0 lead in the series.

MOHALI // India yesterday turned the established cricket order on its head after securing a comprehensive, record-breaking victory over Australia, who have dominated the sport for the last 20 years. The 320-run margin at the PCA stadium in Punjab was India's largest runs victory in Test cricket history. It was the second greatest defeat inflicted on Australia in their Test history and, following their poor performance, many within cricket are now seriously asking whether their dominance of the game is coming to an end. As India's debutant Test spinner Amit Mishra took the last wicket with the team having only scored 195 runs, the cricketing world was left stunned at the manner of the defeat and Australia's inability to rise to the challenge, something that has become legendary over the years. India had set the tourists a mammoth target of 516 but at no stage did they come close, failing with bat and ball and leading to widespread criticism of Ricky Ponting's captaincy. His misery was compounded by an on-the-field row between himself and fast bowler Brett Lee over tactics. After the match, which sees India take a 1-0 lead in the four- match series, team captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni confessed he had never seen Australia so outplayed. The first match in Bangalore last week was a draw. He said: "I've never seen anything like that. At one time in the first innings, they were 22 from 13 overs. I said to Rahul Dravid 'look at the board, we won't see that again'. "All the players have worked very hard and it has been a brilliant performance from the team. Full credit to all of them." Dhoni, who was named man of the match for his prolific batting and overall tactics, warned a series win is not guaranteed. He said: "They are a strong side, it's just that we are doing our job in a brilliant way. "They have had a few bad games, but that doesn't mean they have lost it. They are still the No 1 team and still have the talent." The defeat was the heaviest inflicted on Australia under Ponting's captaincy. He said: "We weren't good enough in any aspect of this game - fast bowling, spin bowling, batting and, at times, our fielding was a bit sloppy - so we've been outplayed. "Sometimes as a captain and player you have to accept that and say they were better than us. We were better than them last week, but that's irrelevant and they're 1-0 going into the next Test." With New Delhi the venue for the next Test starting a week today, Ponting said that his team would have a break before then. He added: "What I want to do is get the boys away from cricket for a few days. "We want to clear our minds from what's happened here, think about what we did and didn't do, then when we get back have a good open discussion about what we want to achieve for the remainder of the series." For India, the match has proved to be five days of near perfect cricket. In addition to the win, the match also saw Sachin Tendulkar become the highest scorer in Test history. Spinner Mishra took seven wickets on his Test debut while paceman Zaheer Khan's put in one of the best performances of his career. vchaudhary@thenational.ae