Australia Routs India in Sydney to Take 2-0 Lead in Test Cricket Series

Australia routed India by an innings and 68 runs with a day to spare in the second cricket Test in Sydney to take a 2-0 lead in their four-match series.

Australia, which had secured a 468-run first innings lead following captain Michael Clarke’s record-setting 329 not out, dismissed India for 400 in its second innings as the touring team lost its last seven wickets for 129 runs on day four.

Ben Hilfenhaus led Australia’s bowlers with 5-106, while Clarke sparked the collapse by dismissing Sachin Tendulkar for 80 to end a 103-run stand between Tendulkar and VVS Laxman at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

“It’s a huge series for this team,” Clarke, 30, said at a news conference. “It’s the first series I’ve been full-time captain in Australia in front of my home fans and the Australian public, so it’s important I stand up.”

Australia won the opening match by 122 runs to end an eight-Test winless streak against India, which extended its streak of never having won a series in Australia. The third Test starts Jan. 13 in Perth before the final match in Adelaide.

Four years ago, India was in a similar position, going 2-0 down at the SCG before hitting back in Perth and drawing the final match.

“We have lost the chance of winning the series,” India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni said at a news conference. “With two more Test matches to go we can level the series, so that’s what we’re looking to do.”

Triple Century

Clarke was named man of the match after hitting 329 not out, the highest score in 100 elite Tests at the SCG, before declaring Australia’s first-innings at 659-4. Only Matthew Hayden with 380, and Don Bradman and Mark Taylor with 334, have scored more runs for Australia in a Test innings.

Clarke was one of three century-makers in Australia’s innings. Mike Hussey hit 150 not out, while Ricky Ponting ended his two-year century drought by scoring 134.

Clarke today left Tendulkar 20 runs short of an unprecedented 100th century in international cricket.

The right-hander had added 10 runs to his lunch score of 70 before edging part-time spin bowler Clarke behind, where the ball deflected off wicketkeeper Brad Haddin’s gloves to Hussey.

Tendulkar, whose 99th century in Test and one-day matches was at the World Cup in March, made scores of 73 and 32 in last week’s series opener in Melbourne and 41 on day one in Sydney.

“He’s still making a lot of runs,” Clarke said of Tendulkar. “I wish he wasn’t making as many as he is.”

Wickets Fall

Hilfenhaus removed Laxman for 66, clipping the off stump with his first delivery with the second new ball, and then removed Dhoni caught and bowled. The on-field umpires referred the decision to the third umpire and television replays showed that Dhoni had spooned the ball back to the bowler.

Virat Kohli, who was yesterday fined 50 percent of his match fee for making a one-fingered gesture to the crowd on day two, was trapped leg-before-wicket for 9 by a James Pattinson delivery that kept low.

Zaheer Khan and Ravichandran Ashwin then shared a 56-run stand before Zaheer sliced a Peter Siddle delivery to a backpedaling Shaun Marsh at extra cover for the eighth wicket. Spin bowler Nathan Lyon trapped Ishant Sharma lbw after tea before Hilfenhaus wrapped up the victory by having Ashwin caught by Lyon for 62.

India, which resumed today at 114-2, earlier added 129 runs for the loss of just one wicket in the morning session. Siddle got the only breakthrough before lunch when he had Gautam Gambhir, on 83, caught by David Warner.

The middle-order collapse then ensured a four-day finish for the second match in a row.

“We’re really happy with two Test match victories but we know there’s a long way to go,” Clarke added. “We would love to win the series in Perth so there’s still a lot for us to play for. We haven’t won the series yet.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Dan Baynes in Sydney at dbaynes@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Christopher Elser at celser@bloomberg.net

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