India Beats Australia by 8 Wickets to Go 1-0 Up in Test Series

India beat Australia by eight wickets in their series-opening cricket Test, chasing down the 50 runs needed for victory in 69 balls after dismissing the touring team for 241 on the final morning in Chennai.

Sachin Tendulkar hit 13 not out, including two straight sixes off spin bowler Nathan Lyon, to help guide India to the target 40 minutes before lunch on day five after Murali Vijay and Virender Sehwag got out. Australia earlier added nine runs to its second-innings total for an overall lead of 49.

India, which lost 2-1 to England in its last home series after winning the opening Test, is seeking to regain the Border-Gavaskar trophy following a 4-0 sweep in Australia in 2011-12. The second of four matches starts March 2 in Hyderabad.

“You have to take the positives out of this particular game but at the same time the lessons of the last series that we played,” India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who was named man of the match after top scoring with 224, said at the presentation ceremony. “It’s very important to be focused.”

Australia allrounder Moises Henriques was earlier left unbeaten on 81 for his second half-century in his Test debut after Lyon was caught by Vijay off Ravindra Jadeja when on 11. The last-wicket pairing had taken the match into a fifth day on a deteriorating pitch after Australia slumped to 175-9.

Offspinner Ravi Ashwin led India’s bowlers with 5-95 to follow up his 7-103 in Australia’s first-innings 380. Ashwin and fellow spinners Jadeja and Harbhajan Singh took all 20 wickets.

Home captain Dhoni’s career-best score helped India amass 572 yesterday in reply. Dhoni’s 265-ball innings, which included 24 fours and six sixes, was the highest score by an India captain in elite Tests and the third-best by a wicketkeeper.

The victory also took Dhoni, 31, level with Sourav Ganguly with a record 21 victories as India Test skipper.

“Full credit has to go to India,” Australia captain Michael Clarke said. “They played outstandingly throughout the whole game, led by their captain. Dhoni’s innings changed the game from our perspective. We’ve got a couple of days to turn things around.”

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