India took a 1-0 lead in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy against Australia with a dominating performance in the first Test that saw some class performances from their batters and bowlers.
A five-wicket haul by Ravichandran Ashwin combined with the all-round performance by Ravindra Jadeja and Axar Patel helped India clinch victory by an innings and 132 runs within three days of the first Test at Nagpur.
BCCI secretary Jay Shah congratulated the team and lauded performances and “great teamwork”.
The visitors were bundled out for 91 runs before the end of the second session on Saturday in the first of four- match series.
Australia were off to a tricky start in the second innings also as their first challenge was to cross the lead of 223 runs given by India.
Ravichandran Ashwin started Aussie’s downfall by dismissing Usman Khawaja for just five runs off nine balls. Australia was 7/1.
Marnus Labuschagne was the next man on the crease and he continued his good form, slamming three great boundaries. However, Ravindra Jadeja’s golden arm did the trick again and he trapped the world’s number one Test batter lbw for 17 off 28 balls. Australia was 26/2.
Ashwin was breathing fire with the ball. He went on to dismiss David Warner (10) and Matt Renshaw (2) in quick succession. Australia was slowly choking under the pressure built by spinners and sunk to 42/4, with a mountain of runs still left to climb.
A boundary by Smith helped Australia cross 50-run mark in 16.2 overs. Ashwin got his fourth wicket of the match and he sent back Handscomb in the fourth lbw dismissal of the inning. Australia was in a huge spot of bother at 52/5, trailing by 167 runs.
Despite trying, there was not stopping Ashwin. Australia’s downward spiral seemed endless and went one step further after Ashwin trapped Alex Carey for 10. Aussies were reduced to 64/6.
Jadeja and Axar joined Ashwin and the trio was running riot on Aussies. Jadeja picked up Cummins (1) while Axar dismissed Todd Murphy (2). Australia was 75/8 and trailed by 148 runs and just two wickets away from an embarrassing third-day defeat.
Pacer Mohammed Shami made pace bowling’s first entry in the wicket-taking charts for the inning. He dismantled Nathan Lyon’s stumps for 8 runs. Australia was left struggling at 88/9, trailing by 135 runs. The Aussies were just one wicket away from a loss.
Shami hit Australia with one final blow, dismissing Scott Boland for a duck. Australia was all out for just 91 runs in 32.3 overs. They lost the match by innings and 132 runs. Smith was left stranded at 25 runs. Ashwin was the pick of the bowlers for hosts, taking 5/37 in 12 overs. Jadeja also took 2/34 while Shami got figures of 2/13. Axar also took a wicket for six runs in three overs.
“We were prepared for hard days of bowling, spent session after session. I did not expect they would be bowled out in one session. As you saw, the pitch became slower and slower and there was no bounce on the pitch, so it was a bit of a surprise for me,” said Rohit Sharma in the post-match press conference.
A brilliant 84-run knock by all-rounder Axar Patel and an entertaining cameo by Mohammed Shami put India in a commanding position, with a lead of 223 runs at lunch on day three of the first Test against Australia at Nagpur on Saturday.
India started the day at 321/7, with Ravindra Jadeja (66*) and Axar Patel (52*) at the crease.
The hosts had added barely seven runs to their previous day’s total when debutant Todd Murphy struck gold for Aussies, rattling Jadeja’s off stump. The all-rounder was gone for a well-made 70 off 185 balls. India was 328/8.
Mohammed Shami was next up at the crease. Shami put a price on his wicket and played some fine strokes, including a four and a six. Axar continued to guard his wicket as well. India crossed the 350-run mark in the 128th over of their innings.
The duo took India’s lead beyond 180 runs. Shami continued entertaining fans, smashing Murphy for two sixes in the 131st over, which also brought up the fifty-run stand for the ninth wicket. However, the debutant had the last laugh in his next over as he dismissed him for a well-made 37 off 47 balls with two fours and three six. With this, Murphy bagged his seventh wicket in the inning. India were 380/9 in 132.4 overs and led by 203 runs.
Mohammed Siraj was the last man to arrive at the crease for India. Cummins dismissed Axar Patel for a well-made 84 off 174 balls, consisting of 10 fours and a six. India was out for 400 runs and had a lead of 223 runs heading into lunch.
Murphy had a dream spell on his debut, taking 7 wickets for 124 runs in 47 overs. Cummins got two for 78 runs in 20.3 overs. Spinner Nathan Lyon could only get one scalp for 126 runs in 49 overs.
Earlier electing to bat first, Australia was bundled out for 177 runs in their first innings. Aussies were no match for Indian spinners as Labuschagne (49), Smith (37), Carey (36) and Handscomb (31) were the only ones who could score something decent and resist the Indian spin web. Jadeja took a five-wicket haul, ending with figures of 5/47. Ashwin got three scalps while Siraj and Shami took one wicket each.
India came out to bat and top-order, except skipper Rohit Sharma, failed again. KL (20) continued his frustrating show with the bat and was dismissed by debutant Murphy. Nightwatchman Ashwin scored a handy knock of 23. Pujara fell for just seven while attempting a sweep. Virat also continued his worrisome string of low scores in Tests, falling victim to spin once again. Murphy got the crucial wicket of Virat.
Debutants Suryakumar Yadav (8) and KS Bharat (8) could not touch double digits. Rohit however, kept the other end steady and scored 120 off 212 balls with 15 fours and two sixes. On a tough surface which was nightmarish for the batters, the Indian skipper put on a batting masterclass. India was reduced to 240/7 after Rohit and Bharat’s dismissals.
Jadeja and Axar then took the baton and guided India to a dominant position at the end of day two, ending at 321/7 on the second day. It gave India a 144-run lead. They kept Australia toiling hard for a wicket, made them chase the cherry all over the park and reached their respective fifties.
“Feeling amazing. When you come back after five months and give your 100 per cent, scoring runs and taking wickets. It feels amazing. I was working hard at the NCA. Would like to thank the NCA staff and physios. They have been working hard with me, even on Sundays. Was looking to bowl in good areas. Ball was spinning, going straight, keeping low. Kept telling myself to bowl at the stumps – if they make mistakes, I have a chance. I look to keep things simple. Try not to change things with my batting,” said Ravindra Jadeja in the post-match presentation.
Jay Shah lauded performance of batters and bowlers.
“Congratulations #TeamIndia on a fantastic win in Nagpur. The contributions from both batsmen and bowlers especially @akshar2026 and then @ashwinravi99 were match-defining along with skipper @ImRo45 ‘s hundred. Welcome back @imjadeja. Great teamwork,” he said in a tweet.
Rohit Sharma said there was need to put pressure on bowlers by doing something different.
“In the last few years, at the kind of pitches we are playing in India, you need to have application and some sort of plan to score runs. I have grown up playing a lot in Mumbai on surfaces that turn a lot. You need to be slightly unorthodox as well, use your feet. Need to put pressure on bowlers as well by doing something different. And that difference could be whatever suits you – using your feet, sweeping, reverse-sweeping. It was the first two overs from the seamers. Starting a game like that, you are in the ascendancy,” he said in a post-match presentation.
Brief Scores: India: 400 in 139.3 overs (Rohit Sharma 120, Axar Patel 84*, Todd Murphy 7/124) defeated Australia: 177 and 91 (Steve Smith 25, Marnus Labuschagne 17, Ravichandran Ashwin 5/37) by innings and 132 runs. (ANI)