India v Australia, 2nd Test, Bengaluru, 4th day March 7, 2017

Ashwin bowls India to series-levelling win

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India 189 (Rahul 90, Lyon 8-50) and 274 (Pujara 92, Rahane 52, Rahul 51, Hazlewood 6-67) beat Australia 276 (S Marsh 66, Renshaw 60, Jadeja 6-63) and 112 (Ashwin 6-41) by 75 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

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Chappell: Second-day bowling changed game for India

India have applied a defibrillator to this series, surging to a dramatic victory on the fourth day against Australia in Bengaluru. After the first day of this Test, it was hard to tell what was deader: India's hopes of regaining the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, or any stray blades of grass that were left on the dry pitch. Nathan Lyon had just taken eight wickets, India had been rolled for 189, and Australia had gone to stumps on 40 for 0. But then came three days of Indian fightback.

It all culminated in a thrilling fourth day, which began with a six-wicket haul from Josh Hazlewood as India were bowled out for 274. That gave Australia renewed hope: on a cracking surface with variable bounce, a target of 188 would be tough but, they hoped, not impossible. And with the score moving quickly, at 42 for 1 Australia were perhaps favourites. The pressure was inescapable: on the batsmen, on the umpires, and on the Indians to live up to their dominant reputation at home.

And then the wickets began to tumble, the DRS played its inevitable role, and by the time R Ashwin had Lyon caught and bowled in the 36th over, India had triumphed by 75 runs. Ashwin finished with 6 for 41 and it marked the first time in history that four different bowlers - Lyon, Ashwin, Hazlewood and Ravindra Jadeja - had taken six-wicket hauls in the same Test. It was that sort of match: wickets fell in quick succession and momentum was hard to stop.

In many ways, this result was simply the resumption of normal service. There was a glitch in proceedings in Pune, where Australia ended India's sequence of 20 home Tests without a loss. The malfunction looked like continuing after day one in Bengaluru, but for the remainder of the match India scrapped, wrestled, and fought their way back into the contest. And every time Australia looked like regaining the advantage, India wrested it back.

Such was the situation on the fourth morning, when Hazlewood and Mitchell Starc delivered searing spells with the second new ball and India lost five wickets in 19 deliveries. But then India's last pair, Wriddhiman Saha and Ishant Sharma, survived for nearly 10 overs to take the sting out of Australia's charge. They put on only 16 runs but by slowing the speed of the match from breakneck to simply swift, they gave their team a chance to regroup.

Australia knew that to succeed in their chase, they would have to score quickly. The loss of Matt Renshaw early, caught behind to a fine seamer from Ishant, did not stop them doing just that. David Warner launched one six on his way to 17 from 25 balls before he was adjudged lbw trying to sweep Ashwin. Warner asked for a review but by the barest of margins, HawkEye showed the impact in line with off stump and umpire's call for clipping off, and Warner was gone.

That moment had repercussions for Australia, for it left them with only one review and made Shaun Marsh hesitate when he was given out lbw shouldering arms to a delivery from Umesh Yadav around the wicket. An uncertain Marsh consulted with his partner, Steven Smith, who had been off the pitch to leg side and was in no position to make a definitive call. Unwilling to risk Australia's final review, Marsh walked off: replays showed the ball was missing by a long way. But such is the pressure in a situation like this: umpire Nigel Llong had made a poor decision, and Marsh had made an equally bad one not to ask for a review.

That left Smith as a key man for Australia, and he struck three boundaries on his way to 28 before he too was lbw to Umesh. Smith was done by a grubber and seemed to signal to Australia's dressing room for advice on a review; umpire Llong stepped in to prevent the communication, and Smith walked off. A review would have been futile: he couldn't have been plumber if he'd been wearing a Super Mario costume.

From there, India were clearly in the box seat, and the wickets of Mitchell Marsh and Matthew Wade shortly before tea only made it more so. Marsh tickled a catch to short leg off Ashwin, and Wade inside edged onto his pad and a catch lobbed up for the diving wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha. The match was slipping away from Australia.

It took India less than eight overs after tea to wrap up the win. Starc was bowled by a straight ball from Ashwin, and Jadeja was then rewarded for his outstanding second-innings bowling by rattling the stumps of Steve O'Keefe. Peter Handscomb, the last recognised batsman, knew he had to score quickly, and on 24 was caught skying a slog off Ashwin, who then completed the win by having Lyon caught and bowled two balls later. The series was level at 1-1, and very much alive.

India's margin might have been even bigger but for their own collapse early on the fourth day. Hazlewood's 6 for 67 were the best figures 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 had to settle for an advantage of 187. They lost their last six wickets for 61 on the fourth morning.

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, but adjudged lbw on Australia's review. 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, but in the next over Hazlewood had Cheteshwar Pujara caught fending a shortish ball to gully for 92. Three balls later, Ashwin was bowled by a Hazlewood delivery that stayed low. The Australians celebrated, but they must also have known that such a dismissal only highlighted how difficult their chase would be. And so it proved: all out for 112. Australia's hopes in this match had expired, but the series was very much alive and kicking.

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @brydoncoverdale

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Atul on March 10, 2017, 7:25 GMT

    First Australia led by 87 runs and then India led by 187 runs to set a 188 run target to win for Aussies. In Australian cricket, 87, 187 and 287 are unlucky because these are 13 short of 100, 200 and 300 runs respectively. So these unlucky numbers led to Australia's defeat.

  • trader on March 9, 2017, 17:16 GMT

    I love how Indian batsmen adjusted their stance to middle-stump and poor Lyon had zero wickets in 2nd innings

  • Greatest on March 9, 2017, 11:23 GMT

    @ Ozcricketwriter on March 8, 2017, 20:56 GMT

    What a statement, that too from a cricketwriter!

    "Smith was punished by the on-field umpires by not being allowed to review the decision." !

    In fact Smith & Australia were saved from wasting a review! A present on a platter. This is the second time Llong is doing it. The first time was when Llong sent goat back for grazing, when he was walking back to the pavilion in a game against NZ in OZ.

  • Mark on March 9, 2017, 9:13 GMT

    India won 4 sessions and won the game.Great effort! Despite India winning the toss and batting first. Australia did very well to win 8 sessions.Australia got into a winning position. Then batted particularly poorly on a deteriorating pitch.It would have been very interesting if Australia didn't get 2 poor umpiring decisions in the last session. But not to be. In terms of great test matches Australia Ashes series are legendary. Lets hope this Indian series can be remembered for right reasons rather than pitches .

  • vinay on March 9, 2017, 6:44 GMT

    all said and done. pitch match bowl bat, ego, incident,, concentrate on next match. flat or bounce irrelevant. who wins will remain

  • vinay on March 9, 2017, 6:40 GMT

    if any team is capable of beating India in India, it is undoubtedly Australia.

  • vinay on March 9, 2017, 6:39 GMT

    Smith is a human being. for such a small ignorable incident, all are making it large by exaggerated comments. naturally it happened. he explained. leave it. why people are making much noise against him. game is above all. enjoy. don't hurt n embarrass.

  • vinay on March 9, 2017, 6:35 GMT

    why cry on pitches. Pune AUS won. all quiet. here if they had victory no one would criticize. if won, our talent. if lost blame pitch. wah. pitch may be worst, but application is very much required to succeed. Sachin for that reason is the best.

  • Manesh on March 9, 2017, 5:08 GMT

    Over hyped over rated Australians face the heat now. From smiths brain fade its clear who is troubled and panic!