Australia could add just 57 runs to their overnight total of 74 for two in the morning of Day Four of the second Test as they were bowled out by India for 131. India won the match by an innings and 135 runs, which is their sixth-biggest margin of victory ever, and took an unassailable 2-0 lead in the four-match series.
The win also gave MS Dhoni the distinction of being the most successful Indian captain in Tests. This was Dhoni’s 22nd Test victory as skipper, surpassing Sourav Ganguly at 21, and the 31-year-old attributed it to the entire team in the post-match presentation.
“I think I have got a very good side,” Dhoni said. “Yes, we have gone through a period [where] we haven’t won many games. Credit goes to the team and the support staff. And winning most matches as captain is a collective effort, and credit goes to each and everyone.”
Australia, meanwhile, got the dubious distinction of becoming the first team ever to lose a Test match by an innings after declaring their first innings. Skipper Michael Clarke laid into his team for their fifth consecutive defeat on Indian soil. A livid Clarke said, “India deserve a lot of credit. They outplayed us in every facet of the game. There is no doubt we have a lot of work to do — in all facets of the game. There will certainly be no stone left unturned. The batsmen haven’t put enough runs on, and there is no excuse for that.
“There will be no break between the Test matches. There will be a lot of hard work, I can assure you. You don’t get better sitting on the couch. We have had guys get in and out without making big scores. That’s unacceptable.”
Ishant Sharma (one for five), who started proceedings on Day Four, got the vital wicket of Shane Watson (9) within the first 15 minutes of play. It was the lanky pacer’s first wicket of the series on a ball that probably did not deserve it. Ishant’s delivery strayed down the leg side, Watson tried to flick it to fine leg, found the edge and Dhoni took a diving catch to his left. Watson could’ve done better.
Ravindra Jadeja (three for 33) then handed Australia a triple blow to make it 111 for six as he dismissed the in-form Michael Clarke (16), the set Ed Cowan (44) and the promising all-rounder Moises Henriques (0) in quick succession.
First, Jadeja bowled through the gates of the Australian captain to further dampen Australia’s fading hopes. Bowling around the wicket, Jadeja got his usual flighted delivery to pitch on middle as Clarke moved forward to defend. However, the ball took a sharp turn, went a few inches wide of Clarke’s blade and took off-stump.
Then, in his next over, Jadeja bowled over the wicket to Cowan. His ball kept lower than normal as Cowan tried to cut, but bottom-edged onto Dhoni’s pads and deflected to Virender Sehwag af first slip.
In the very next over, bowled by Ravichandran Ashwin, Jadeja, the fielder, came into play as he ran in from cover and threw directly on the stumps in swift motion to send Henriques back without scoring, and without facing a ball.
Ashwin then got into the act as he trapped debutant Glenn Maxwell (8) in front to a top-spinner, to make it 125 for seven. Dhoni’s pads came into play again as Jadeja got his third wicket in Peter Siddle (4). The latter’s flat delivery outside off-stump turned away, took the edge, hit Dhoni’s glove and pad, and ricocheted towards gully where Kohli pounced on the catch.
Wade, the only remaining batter, then threw his wicket away to give Ashwin his fourth as he tried to hit a delivery wide outside off, but found the edge that carried to Sehwag at slip.
James Pattinson and Xavier Doherty resisted for about six overs before Ashwin wrapped up the match with his fifth wicket of the innings, as Pattinson was trapped leg-before.
A thoroughly convincing win for the hosts, who will go into the now eight-day break until the third Test at Mohali, starting March 14, on a high. However, Dhoni would do well to ensure his side guards themselves from complacency as a wounded Australia are bound to come back and hit hard.
Brief Scores: Australia 237 for 9 dec. and 131 (Ed Cowan 44; Ravichandran Ashwin 5 for 63, Ravindra Jadeja 3 for 33) lost to India 503 (Cheteshwar Pujara 204, Murali Vijay 167; Glenn Maxwell 4 for 127, Xavier Doherty 3 for 131) by an innings and 135 runs.