India walk over shell-shocked Aussies to win second Test - by Kuldip Lal
CALCUTTA, March 15 (AFP) - Sourav Ganguly's India scored a sensational 171-run win over Australia in the second Test on Thursday to
level the three-match series 1-1 and end the tourists' 16-Test winning streak.
Off-spinner Harbhajan Singh grabbed six wickets and part-timer Sachin Tendulkar chipped in with three as the tourists, chasing a victory
target of 384, were bowled out for 212 after tea on the fifth and final day.
The 20-year-old Harbhajan, who claimed India's first Test hat-trick during his 7-123 in Australia's first innings, finished with a match haul of
13-196 in only his 10th Test.
Some 65,000 boisterous home fans at the Eden Gardens burst crackers and lit bonfires to celebrate a magnificent Indian comeback against
Steve Waugh's world-beating side.
The Indians, thrashed by 10 wickets in the first Test in Bombay, won the second despite being forced to follow-on 274 runs behind.
Man-of-the-match Venkatsai Laxman's 281 and Rahul Dravid's 180 saw the hosts pile up 657-7 declared in the second innings, before the
bowlers struck to wreck Australia in 68.3 overs.
The defeat ended Australia's record streak of 16 consecutive wins and set up an enthralling climax when the third and final Test opens at the
Chepauk in Madras on Sunday.
There was little indication of the drama to follow when Australia, riding on Matthew Hayden's unbeaten 63, moved to 166-3 soon after tea.
But the last seven wickets tumbled for 46 runs as the tourists found the Indian spin too hot to handle amidst the din around the stadium.
"This was the greatest Test I have played in," said a jubilant Ganguly, leading India for the first time on his home turf at the Eden Gardens.
"To come back and win after being asked to follow on is what dreams are made of.
"This Test will do Indian cricket a lot of good. We could not have felt more confident going into the third Test."
Australian captain Steve Waugh admitted his team faltered when it mattered most.
"India played better than us over the last two days and deserved to win," Waugh said.
"We needed to bat out five hours and could not do it. We have no one else to blame but ourselves.
"The team will have to go back to the drawing board and see where we went wrong. The series is wide open."
Harbhajan, who had dismissed Michael Slater and Justin Langer before tea, began the slide by removing Steve Waugh and Ricky Pointing in
the space of five balls soon after the break.
Tendulkar, bowling well-disguised googlies with leg spin, then trapped Adam Gilchrist, Hayden (67) and Shane Warne leg-before to make it
Gilchrist appeared shocked at Indian umpire Shyam Bansal's decision as the ball pitched outside the off-stump before striking the batsman on
the back foot as he attempted a sweep.
Harbhajan had Jason Gillespie caught at short-leg and then changed ends to finish the match by trapping last man Glenn McGrath leg before.
Earlier, India added 68 runs to the overnight score of 589-4 before declaring their second innings at 657-7 an hour after the start.
Venkatsai Laxman, who hit India's highest Test score of 275 not out on the fourth day, moved to 281 when he was caught at point off
Rahul Dravid, 155 overnight, took his score to 180 before he was run out during a frentic run hunt by the Indians.
Laxman and Dravid put on 376 for the fifth wicket after India were struggling at 232-4 on Tuesday afternoon.
Hayden and Slater put on 74 for the first wicket on either side of the lunch break, before the Indians hit back with three quick wickets.
Slater was caught by Ganguly, while Langer top-edged a sweep to Sadagopan Ramesh at fine-leg.
Mark Waugh was declared leg-before when he played back to a straight ball from left-armer Venktapathy Raju.