Ashwin’s 6 for 41 helps India defend 188

Ashwin’s 6 for 41 helps India defend 188

Tea Australia 276 and 101 for 6 (Handscomb 19*, Ashwin 3-35) need another 87 runs to beat India 189 and 274 (Pujara 92, Rahane 52, Rahul 51, Hazlewood 6-67)

What a great Test. This comeback from India sets up the series nicely. The final day lived up to its expectations. The whole Test was great. We have people at the ground to report and analyse what happened and what the fallout of this is. Thanks for joining us here, and do come back to read and watch the fallout. Goodbye

“Great Test match,” says Steven Smith. “Certainly ebbed and floed throughout. I am proud of the way the boys played it. The partnership between Rahane and Pujara hurt us. They played really well. And we weren’t up for it today. It was quite hard to play. Bit up and down with the quicks throughout the match, and that rough outside off. Quite difficult but Test match cricket is not supposed to be easy. A wicket like that, always umpires have to make a lot of calls. Everyone makes mistakes. Not that I am saying they made any. Series is well and truly alive. Great two Tests. Plenty to play for when we go to Ranchi.”

“After losing the first Test the way we did,” says Virat Kohli. “We wanted to bounce back and not show anyone but ourselves what we are made of. They showed the intent and the belief that we can win from any position. It was about taking responsibility. The way they showed heart and character, along with the crowd, is unbelievable. The moment they did not score big in the second innings, we knew we had a chance. We knew if we got anything over 150, we had a chance. After conceding the lead, Pujara and Rahane had a champion partnership. Two best Test batsmen we have got, so much character and technique and heart. Wriddhi’s knock in the end, Ishant’s application, that was a bonus. We would have liked anything over 200, we thought from 225 there was only one winner. The moment we got 187, we knew we needed in-out fields, we needed to finish it today. Can’t wait for Ranchi. We need to push that momentum further. The team is not going to look back now.”

“There is no better place for to perform like I did,” says KL Rahul, the Man of the Match. “After that first loss, to come here and do what we did is really really special. we have achieved a lot but this win for a young team will be really really special. I have played all my cricket here. I told them if we get 150 lead we will win by 30. We knew the third day was the best day to bat on, and the approach from us was brilliant. There was a time they said when I get past 20 I get a hundred. That was a problem. Now if we get just fifty, that is a problem. On a serious note, I was disappointed. Openers need to get big runs. This was a disappointment but now that we have won, that disappointment is gone. My shouldr gets quite sore, I can’t dive, and I have to restrict a couple of shots. It is not such a bad thing. I can bat within myself. I am enjoying batting with the problem”

Happy Indian team, and happy quotes from them all. We have heard from Ashwin, Yadav, Pujara and Rahane. We are yet to hear from Smith, Kohli and most probably KL Rahul, who should be the Man of the Match

“It was not coming out of the hand all right,” says R Ashwin. “I was trying to turn it too hard. One good thing I did was when wickets were not coming, I kept the runs down. We just spoke inside the dressing room to bowl some short spells and keep changing over. That is why we were rotating so we could attack through such short balls.”

“We were just trying to hit the deck hard,” says Umesh Yadav. “We knew from where the ball was keeping up and down. Every time we were trying to hit the wickets. Always a pleasure playing with Ishant. He gives me ideas on how to bowl.”

“We were not thinking too far ahead,” says Ajinkya Rahane. “We knew 200 would be tough to get on this pitch. We wanted to unsettle the spinners. We wanted to dominate, not through boundaries, but through singles.”

“It is a great feeling to beat Australia,” says Cheteshwar Pujara. “The way we were so far behind, it is a great satisfaction. We just wanted a partnership. The balls were staying low. The way Nathan Lyon bowled in the first innings, we needed a Plan B, and we had it. Anything over 200 was almost impossible here. Once we crossed 150, we were confident. When I went in to bat, I never thought about the runs. I just had a positive intent. Now probably we will have the psychological advantage the way we have played.”

Ashwin and Kohli, as usual, share the spotlight, but the team makes it a point to thank Jadeja. They must also thank Rahul, Pujara and Rahane. Rahul for keeping them alive with his twin fifties, and Pujara and Rahane for that wicketless session yesterday to put India ahead. This is India’s ninth win this season, but might taste the sweetest after the crisis they found themselves in

Meanwhile, in another country, another sport, but the one and only Nagraj Gollapudi. He makes his debut as a badminton correspondent on our sister site ESPN.in and he’s covering the All England Open, which starts later today. Saina, Sindhu, Lin Dan, the Great Danes, all in action over the next few days.

 

At tea on the fourth day in Bengaluru, only one thing was certain: this Test would not be a draw. But a trophy-securing win for Australia? A series-levelling victory for India? A tie? Any of those outcomes seemed plausible. A session full of tension finished with Australia needing 87 runs to retain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, and their brisk run-rate gave them a chance. But India required only four wickets, and on this pitch, such strikes could come quickly.

Set 188 to win on a dry, cracking surface offering variable bounce, the Australians went to tea on 101 for 6, having just lost Mitchell Marsh and Matthew Wade shortly before the break. Those strikes made India the favourites, though Australia would not have been unhappy at the tea break halting India’s momentum. The key man for Australia was Peter Handscomb, the last remaining member of the top six, who had used his feet well and went to tea on 19.

It was a session in which every ball felt like a possible wicket, and in which every run was cheered by the Australians. It was also a session in which Australia’s use of the DRS cost them. David Warner was given out early in the session, lbw trying to sweep R Ashwin on 17, and his review was struck down when umpire’s call was shown for impact and off stump. The loss of that review almost certainly prevented Shaun Marsh using one five overs later.

Marsh had shouldered arms to Umesh Yadav, who was coming around the wicket, and was given out by umpire Nigel Llong when struck on the pad. Unsure whether he should ask for a review, Marsh consulted his partner, Steven Smith, and the end result was that Marsh walked off. A review would have saved him: it was a poor decision from Llong, the ball clearly going to miss off stump by some distance.

The review system was again in the spotlight soon afterwards when Smith was struck by a grubber from Umesh, and seemed to signal to the Australian dressing room for advice on whether to have the call reviewed. Llong stepped in to prevent the communication, Virat Kohli also objected, and Smith walked off for 28. A review would have been futile: he couldn’t have been plumber if he’d been wearing a Super Mario costume.

Mitchell Marsh struck three quick boundaries before he was caught in close off Ashwin for 13, and Wade could not survive until tea, out for a fifth-ball duck when his inside edge lobbed off his pad and up for Wriddhiman Saha to take a diving catch. It left Australia six down, after the session had began with Matt Renshaw edging behind an excellent seamer from Ishant Sharma.

Lunch had marked the innings break after Josh Hazlewood led an excellent bowling display from the visitors and picked up 6 for 67. Hazlewood and Mitchell Starc were both devastating during a new-ball spell that earned Australia five wickets in 19 deliveries, before a last-wicket partnership between Wriddhiman Saha and Ishant Sharma nudged India’s lead to 187.

Hazlewood’s figures were the best by an Australia fast bowler in a Test innings in India for 37 years, since Geoff Dymock claimed 7 for 67 at Kanpur in October 1979. India started the morning at 213 for 4 and hoped to extend their lead past 200, but the work of Australia’s fast bowlers made that a difficult ask, and India were bowled out for 274, having added 61 to their overnight total for the loss of their last six wickets.

Starc started the carnage by swinging the new ball in to Ajinkya Rahane, who on 52 was rapped on the pad and given not out by umpire Llong. However, Smith opted for a review and it was a good one for Australia as the decision was overturned. Next ball, Karun Nair failed to handle Starc’s pace and swing and tickled an inside edge onto his stumps, and such was the ferocity of the delivery that the leg stump shattered on impact.

Starc’s hat-trick delivery was negotiated by Saha, if not concvincingly then at least effectively, but in the next over Hazlewood picked up an even more important wicket. Cheteshwar Pujara looked set for a century, having resumed on 79, but on 92 he failed to handle a shortish Hazlewood ball that was fended to gully, where Mitchell Marsh took the catch. Three balls later, R Ashwin was bowled by one that stayed low, and Hazlewood had two in the over.

In Hazlewood’s next over he accounted for Umesh, who swung hard and was caught at mid-off, and it looked as tough Australia might run through the tail quickly. But Ishant and Saha hung in for a 16-run tenth-wicket stand that could yet prove crucial, and which ended when Ishant drove a catch to cover off the spin of Steve O’Keefe.

 

 

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @brydoncoverdale

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