Hilfenhaus leads Australia home
A rampant Australia moved 2-0 up in their four-Test series against India by completing an innings-and-68-run victory inside four days at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
Already in complete control of the match following captain Michael Clarke’s wonderful triple hundred, the hosts were spearheaded by seamer Ben Hilfenhaus on day four as they dismissed India for 400 in their second innings.
Hilfenhaus finished with 5-106, his second five-wicket haul in as many Tests since returning to the side, while man of the match Clarke added to his sparkling 329 with the key wicket of Sachin Tendulkar, who once again threatened to register his 100th international hundred, only to be dismissed for 80 in the afternoon session.
After Gautam Gambhir had departed for 83 this morning, Tendulkar shared 103 with VVS Laxman to hold up Australia’s push for victory, but wickets tumbled at regular intervals once the Little Master had departed.
India must now win the remaining two matches - in Perth and Adelaide - if they are to retain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, an outcome that appears extremely unlikely given their performances Down Under thus far.
The tourists resumed on 114 for two, still trailing by 354 runs but aware that only three wickets had fallen across the previous two days on a wicket offering little assistance to the bowlers.
Gambhir and Tendulkar pushed the score on to 163 before the former, who has gone almost two years without a Test century, looked to work Peter Siddle off his pads and got a leading edge to David Warner at point.
India rebuilt again, with Tendulkar essaying a number of glorious cover-drives and Laxman typically fluent through the leg side.
Laxman was the dominant partner as the century stand arrived from 171 balls, but he was to lose his partner soon after.
Fittingly, it was Clarke who made the breakthrough, the part-time left-arm spinner drawing Tendulkar forward and inducing an edge that was spilled by wicketkeeper Brad Haddin but subsequently taken by Mike Hussey at first slip.
Laxman swiftly followed in the second over with the new ball, beaten all ends up by a superb delivery from Hilfenhaus that nipped away and shaved the off stump.
There was to be another breakthrough for Australia in Hilfenhaus’ next over as India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni provided the Tasmanian with a return catch, and India had lost four wickets for 15 runs when James Pattinson trapped Virat Kohli lbw with one that kept low.
Ravichandran Ashwin prolonged the contest with a valiant 62, sharing respective stands of 56 and 42 with Zaheer Khan, who clubbed 35 from 26 balls, and Ishant Sharma.
However, an inevitable innings defeat could not be staved off and Hilfenhaus wrapped up proceedings by having Ashwin caught by a back-pedalling Nathan Lyon at midwicket.