India crushed at SCG by an innings and 68

Sydney : India churned out their best batting display overseas in the last six months but could not prevent an embarrassing innings and 68 runs defeat by Australia in the second Test of the Border Gavaskar Trophy at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) here Friday.

India were bowled out for 400 in the second innings 20 minutes shortly after tea on the fourth day as Australia won the 100th Test at the SCG and took an unassailable 2-0 lead in the four-match series. For India, it was their sixth successive Test loss overseas.

Australian captain Michael Clarke was the Man of the Match with his unbeaten 329, the highest score at the SCG, that took the hosts to a mammoth 659 for four declared in the first innings. Australia took a huge 468-run first innings lead having skittled India out for 191 runs in the first innings on the opening day of the New Year Test.

India, resuming at 114/2, came out on the fourth day determined to put on a respectable performance. They had a good first session scoring 129 runs, but lost way during the second when five wickets fell for just 108 runs.

It was local boy Clarke, who triggered the dramatic batting collapse by picking up the crucial wicket of Sachin Tendulkar (80), who again fell short of his much-awaited 100th international century.

Other notable contributors were Gautam Gambhir (83), V.V.S. Laxman (66) and Ravichandran Ashwin (62).

Pacer Ben Hilhenfaus picked up the important wickets of Laxman and Mahendra Singh Dhoni (2) in successive overs in the second session and finished with five for 106.

Peter Siddle struck early removing Gambhir, who missed out on a well deserved century, caught at point by David Warner.

But there was no respite for the Australian bowlers as Tendulkar came out and raced to his 65th Test half-century. The most notable partnership of the innings was the 103-run stand between Tendulkar and Laxman.

Tendulkar was patient when he walked out to bat Thursday and was unbeaten on eight runs from 42 balls, having allowed plenty to go through to the keeper.

But during the morning session’s play, Tendulkar was in a hurry. The 42 runs he scored Friday morning to bring up his half-century came off just 47 balls. The batting maestro attacked the Australian bowlers with an array of majestic shots.

Laxman, who had scores of 2, 1 and 2 in the series so far, didn’t look comfortable at the start. After surviving an early onslaught from the Australian quicks, Laxman got back his touch and looked like the player who had tormented the Australians during the past decade.

At a time when it looked that more history would be created at the SCG, Clarke struck with his left-arm spin to remove Tendulkar, whose outside edge deflected off the keeper’s glove to be caught by Mike Hussey at first slip.

In 2008 against India, Clarke took three wickets in five balls in the dying overs to clinch the Sydney Test for Australia.

Tendulkar’s wicket triggered a batting collapse as India slumped from 271 for three to 286 for seven. Virat Kohli (9) failed again and is likely to be replaced by Rohit Sharma in next week’s third Test at Perth. Zaheer Khan blasted a quickfire 35 off 26 balls.

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