India vs Australia 2nd Test, Day 4 score: Ashwin stars as India pick up smashing win

Deepak Vikraman
R Ashwin, India, Kohli, Australia, 2nd Test

With another disastrous batting performance in the first innings and Australia looking just so determined again, India looked headed for another defeat. But then, this India side, led by Virat Kohli, is not one that just lies down and plays dead, at least not for a second straight match.

India fought back with the bat in the second innings and while Australia were set a difficult, but makeable target, the bowlers, led by the main man R Ashwin, produced the most brilliant of bowling performances to give India a smashing victory in Bengaluru.

After their pace bowlers did the job with the new ball on day four morning, Australia went about chasing the target of 188 set by India in this second Test match with a positive mindset. This was clearly not going to be a trickle, trickle, slow, slow, one by one chase.

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Initially, the positivity of the Australia batsmen threw India off, with Ishant Sharma as well as R Ashwin leaking a few too many runs for comfort. However, the problem with being positive, especially on a day four track with plenty of cracks, is that it also opens up avenues for wickets, and the majority of those wickets went to Ashwin, with the off-spinner finishing with a six-for.

David Warner and Matt Renshaw came into the middle with the plan of scoring runs and putting the pressure back on the bowler and India looked a little rattled. The two openers added 22 runs in the first four overs, with that quickly whittling the target down to 166.

Such is the problem with defending a small score that every run hurts and India needed a wicket to stop the momentum that Australia were picking up.

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Ishant provided it by hitting a crack, getting the ball to rear up and take the glove of Renshaw (5, 12b, 1x4) through to the wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha.

Smith came in and showed the same positive intent and Australia kept putting the runs on the board. The only way to stop the run flow and get back in the game was picking up wickets, and quickly, and Ashwin picked up the big one of Warner (17, 25b, 1x6).

The left-hander went for a sweep, missed the ball and was struck on off-stump. The umpire gave it out on the field and after a long talk with his non-striker, Warner decided to review it. It was umpire's call on impact and the wickets so Warner had to go, leaving Australia with just one review.

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Then came the slice of luck that India have not quite had in this series, with Shaun Marsh unlucky to be given out, also lbw.

Umesh Yadav was going through one of this ridiculous spells, where he was reverse-swinging the ball both ways and with Shaun Marsh (9, 19b, 1x4) unsure which way the ball was moving he left one that was coming in. The umpire gave it out and because there was only one remaining, the Aussies decided not to review it.

They should have, because the ball-tracker showed the ball wasn't coming in enough to hit off-stump.

Steven Smith, Australia, Umesh Yadav, India, 2nd Test

As long as Smith was in the middle, though, Australia were in control of the chase and controlled is exactly what the skipper looked. The signs were ominous with Smith chipping away at the target, but Umesh, again, brought his team right back into the contest by getting the captain – the ball that kept lower than low, leading to the demise of another batsman.

There was controversy once Smith (28, 48b, 3x4) was given out lbw, with the skipper, after a brief consultation with his partner Peter Handscomb, looking towards the dressing room for advice on if it should be reviewed.

The umpires and Kohli quickly said "nope, that can't be done," – in differing tones, of course – and Smith had to go. There was no need to review it, because it was as plumb as they come.

Mitchell Marsh (13, 16b, 3x4) and Handscomb then came together to take the target below 100 runs, adding a precious 27, before Ashwin got one to bounce, take the glove and fall into the lap of Karun Nair at short leg.

Then, on the stroke of Tea, Ashwin had his third as Matthew Wade (0, 5b) bat-padded one with Saha taking a brilliant catch diving forward.

Needing 87 runs for a win, but with just four wickets in hand, Australia had a difficult task ahead of them with Handscomb holding the key. Another counter-attacking innings from Mitchell Starc (1, 6b) also would have helped, but Ashwin wasn't going to let that happen again, with the offie castling the dangerous left-hander.

Then Steve O'Keefe (2, 10b) got another one of those balls that kept low and crept under the bat, with Ravindra Jadeja picking up the wicket this time, before Ashwin got Handscomb (24, 67b, 2x4) and Nathan Lyon (2, 6b) in three balls to give India the series-levelling win.

Score:

First innings: India: 189 all out in 71.2 overs.

Australia: 276 all out in 122.4 overs.

First innings lead: Australia, 87 runs.

Second innings: India: 274 all out in 97.1 overs.

Overnight score: 213/4 in 72 overs.

Target: 188.

Australia: 112 all out in 35.4 overs.

Result: India won by 75 runs.

Four-match series level at 1-1.

Bowling: Second innings: India: Ishant Sharma 6-1-28-1; R Ashwin 12.4-4-41-6; Umesh Yadav 9-2-30-2; Ravindra Jadeja 8-5-3-1.

Fall of wickets: Second innings: Australia: 22/1, Matt Renshaw (4.3 overs); 42/2, David Warner (9.1 overs); 67/3, Shaun Marsh (15 overs); 74/4, Steven Smith (20.3 overs); 101/5, Mitchell Marsh (26 overs); 101/6, Matthew Wade (27.5 overs); 103/7, Mitchell Starc (29.4 overs); 110/8, Steve O'Keefe (34.2 overs); 110/9, Peter Handscomb (35.2 overs); 112/10, Nathan Lyon (35.4 overs).

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