The Perth crowd witnessed a spectacular game in the new stadium. Australia registered their first ever test victory since the sandpaper incident. This match had everything that promised the typical nuances of an India Australia game. Right from the twists and turns to the sledging, right from some rollicking pace bowling from both sides to the crowd enjoying the spectacle.
Australia managed to draw levels in the series as both teams head to the MCG for the next challenge. While India will have a lot of problems to sort out, the Australians will be quite confident after the outstanding victory. Especially after their openers clicked and the lower order scoring crucial runs, the difference between both teams at the end of the game.
Finch-Harris make Indian pacers toil hard
The Perth surface promised a green juicy track for the fast bowlers. Virat Kohli took the bait as he made a bold decision of going in with four pacers. However just a couple of hours into the game, he may have rued the decision of not playing Ravindra Jadeja. Marcus Harris and Aaron Finch put up a mighty opening partnership of 112 runs. Following the breakthrough, India managed to get some quick wickets.
Shaun Marsh and Travis Head took Australia further to 250. India didn’t allow the tail to wag much this time around as Australia were bowled out for 326. Part time spinner Hanuma Vihari got a couple of wickets on a pitch that offered him a fair bit of assistance. The threat of Nathan Lyon unleashing himself with the extra bounce on the surface loomed largely. The Indian openers continued to disappoint with their consistency of poor starts.
Cometh the hour, Cometh Virat Kohli
India were in a huge spot of bother at 8/2. Knowing they had to bat last here, already made a selection blunder and the openers back to the pavilion now. This is when King Kohli arrived and took the Perth crowd at its feet. First with Pujara and later alongside Ajinkya Rahane, he recovered India from the early slump. India looked really comfortable at 173/3 before Lyon weaved his magic. On the other hand, the Indian captain registered his first century of the tour and his sixth in Australia.
India lost their way in the middle as Kohli got caught by Peter Handscomb in what was a controversial decision. Rishabh Pant provided an action replay of his last two innings before Lyon got him out for the third consecutive time in the series. The Indian lower order unlike their Australian counterparts disappeared in thin air. Australia garnered a lead of 43 runs with Lyon picking a five wicket haul.
Shami and second innings, Better love story than Twilight
The Aussie openers got a good start before Finch injured himself. While Umesh Yadav failed to apply any kind of pressure, the trio of Ishant, Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami bowled much better line and lengths. While Australia’s top order was unsettled, the pair of Usman Khawaja and Tim Paine kept the Indian bowlers at bay. Australia didn’t lose a single wicket in the morning session of Day 4.
At lunch, Shami must have surely had something spicy because he was on a roll. The right arm pacer bowled an absolute ripper as Paine couldn’t do much but glove it up in the air. In the very next ball, Shami also had Finch at his stride. He continued to bowl short as Usman Khawaja too got outdone. The pitch had started playing games. From 192/4, the Australian batting collapsed to 207/9. The final pair of Starc and Hazlewood added 36 runs to the team total as India were set a target of 287.
Pujara gone, Kohli gone, we all fall down
KL Rahul made a guest appearance at the crease again. Pujara failed to sustain for a longer duration. Virat Kohli was again in the middle before the sixth over. Both him and Vijay tried to get India out of trouble. However, Lyon bamboozled both of them in consecutive overs. Ajinkya Rahane tried hard but failed to prolong his stay at the crease.
With Australia needing five wickets to win on Day 5, the Indian tail was done and dusted within the first hour. The Baggy Greens secured their first victory under the captaincy of Tim Paine. Nathan Lyon deserved the title of the man of the match he won, for his eight wicket haul. The trio of Starc, Cummins and Hazlewood was also impressive throughout the test match. This was India’s seventh Test defeat in 2018.