Melbourne Cricket Ground - Australia wins Boxing Day Test
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Australia wins Boxing Day Test

Dec 29, 2011

James Pattinson dismissed VVS Laxman on the fourth day of the 2011 Boxing Day Test at the MCG.Australia 333 and 240 defeated India 282 and 169 by 122 runs.

Scorecard (Cricinfo website)

MCG Cricket Statistics

Australia's fast men obliterated India with sustained hostile bowling to deliver a 122-run victory on Day 4 of the Boxing Day Test at the MCG.

A total of 189,347 people witnessed four days of engrossing cricket - the highest aggregate attendance for a Test match between Australia and India in Australia.

James Pattinson, Ben Hilfenhaus and Peter Siddle made a fearful mess of India's batting, sharing nine wickets between them to bring a swift conclusion to a match that had fluctuated often over the course of the previous three days. In doing so they finished with the ball what had started with the bat - Australia's tail deflated India in the morning by stretching the target to 292.

Pattinson's contribution on his home ground was telling, first stroking an unbeaten 37 then firing out Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman while also softening up Sachin Tendulkar for Siddle, who claimed him with his first ball after relieving the younger Victorian.

The end arrived 70 minutes after tea, Australia claiming a 1-0 series lead in their quest to regain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.

In the morning, Michael Hussey had added only 10 to his overnight 79 before receiving a blistering delivery from Zaheer Khan, but Pattinson and Hilfenhaus frustrated India's bowlers with a stand of 43 that took the total to 240.

The visitors slipped all too easily into run-saving mode against the hosts' last pair until Hilfenhaus edged Ishant Sharma into the slips and India was left to chase 292 for victory.

Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir began the chase carefully, Sehwag even offering a rare forward defensive blade to Hilfenhaus. But he could not contain himself totally, and Hussey was delighted to grasp a sharp chance from a sliced forcing stroke as the interval beckoned.

Gambhir's angled bat outside off stump remains a source of considerable encouragement for bowlers taking the ball across him, and Siddle completed an unhappy match for the opener soon after lunch when a snick was held neatly by Ricky Ponting.

Dravid and Tendulkar had provided the greatest resistance in the first innings, and in the second wanted to assume similar roles as Dravid dug in while Tendulkar was busy, scoring with pleasing freedom.

But their union was to be split by Pattinson, who found a ripping delivery to seam between Dravid's bat and pad, and have middle stump leaning at a drunken angle. Victim of two princely deliveries, Dravid was bowled in each innings for only the fourth time in his long career.

Laxman completed a Test that returned three runs in 36 balls when he flicked heedlessly at Pattinson and presented a catch forward of square leg. So rarely has Laxman been dismissed so softly against Australia.

By now the Australians had momentum behind them, and Hilfenhaus pinned Virat Kohli lbw first ball. Bat, pad and ball were all in close proximity, and Kohli lingered at the wicket upon his dismissal. However replays offered precious little evidence of an edge, even if India deigned to employ the DRS that might have saved him.

Aghast at the chaos all around him, Tendulkar had been stretched by Pattinson's speed, hostility and movement. Siddle relieved his younger club and state team-mate, and first ball gained the wicket Pattinson had so strived for. As dictated by team planners, the ball was full and moving wider, Tendulkar's square drive was airy, and Hussey's hands safe.

At 6/81, evening flights to Sydney were being booked en masse, but Dhoni and R Ashwin picked off a few runs before the interval.

Ashwin's 30 gave him a more respectable batting contribution for the match than many of the rest, but he failed to ride Siddle's bouncer, which skimmed off the wicket to produce a skier and a simple catch for Cowan moving around from short leg.

Pattinson returned to the attack and became embroiled in a brief sledging match with Zaheer, the bowler striking a boundary over point and a steepling six over long on before squeezing another catch to Cowan under the helmet.

Dhoni's will to frustrate Australia ebbed away, and an unbecoming heave at Pattinson resulted in a drag onto the stumps. Ishant and Umesh Yadav resisted briefly, but Clarke called Nathan Lyon into the attack and Yadav obliged by swinging into the deep.

David Warner held a smart catch to begin rich and deserved celebrations.

MICHAEL Clarke is unlikely to be the only man playing his final one-day international at the MCG on Sunday night.

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