Mon, Jan 07, 2008 - Page 20 News List

Clarke seizes dramatic win for Aussies

END GAME Andrew Symonds took two wickets to begin India's final slide toward defeat, before Michael Clarke finished them off with a remarkable spell of bowling

AFP , SYDNEY

The Australian team celebrate after defeating India on the final day of the second Test match at the Sydney Cricket Ground yesterday.

PHOTO: AFP

Part-time spinner Michael Clarke claimed three wickets in five balls of the penultimate over of the match to clinch Australia a dramatic 122-run second Test victory against India and a record-equaling 16th straight Test win yesterday.

India had looked to be hanging on for a determined draw, with skipper Anil Kumble leading the way with an unbeaten 45.

But he could only watch from the other end as the last three wickets tumbled in the second-last over to hand Australia an astonishing victory.

Clarke, with his left-arm spinners, claimed 3 for 5 off 11 balls to get Australia home and they will now shoot for a world record 17th straight win in the third Test in Perth starting on Jan. 16.

"It's right up there as far as I'm concerned," Australian skipper Ricky Ponting said about the victory. "That's as good a feeling as I've ever had on a cricket field, winning a Test like that, coming down to the last eight or 10 minutes on the fifth day."

While Clarke may have won Australia a thrilling Test, all-rounder Andrew Symonds was judged man-of-the-match with his unbeaten 162 and 61 and 3-51 in the second innings.

The Australian team fought to the end and ringed the remaining Indian batsmen with six fielders to get a breakthrough after Kumble and Harbhajan Singh looked likely to bat out for the draw.

Clarke removed Harbhajan for seven with his first delivery, had R.P. Singh leg before wicket on the next ball, and then wrapped up an exciting win when Mike Hussey caught last man Ishant Sharma with the fifth ball.

Kumble remained unbeaten but his effort was scuppered at the death.

The Australians retained the Border-Gavaskar Trophy as holders with a 2-0 lead after winning last week's Test in Melbourne.

Ponting's team have been undefeated in Tests since beating South Africa by 184 runs at the SCG two years ago.

India led from on the first innings after centuries by Sachin Tendulkar (154 not out) and V.V.S. Laxman (109), but the Australians played their best cricket over the last two days to seize victory.

Symonds broke through with two wickets in four balls to put India on the slide after tea.

Rahul Dravid was the victim of a contentious decision by umpire Steve Bucknor who gave him out caught behind even though television replays showed the ball missing Dravid's bat.

Dravid, who had resisted for almost two and a half hours and 103 balls for 38, looked incredulous as he left the pitch.

Yuvraj Singh continued his woeful series with a third-ball duck edging Symonds into Adam Gilchrist's gloves in the same over.

Ganguly fell in Lee's eighth over when he edged to second slip where Clarke took a low catch. Ganguly stood his ground but was sent on his way by umpire Mark Benson for 51.

Stuart Clark set the wheels in motion with the key wickets of V.V.S. Laxman and Sachin Tendulkar before tea.

The seamer trapped Laxman leg before wicket for 20 and struck again with the crucial scalp of Tendulkar in his fifth over for 12.

Opener Wasim Jaffer continued his dismal run of scores with a four-ball duck to Lee in the first over of the innings.

Ponting called a halt to Australia's second innings at 401 for seven, leaving India with 72 overs to go after the runs.

Hussey remained unbeaten on 145 off 259 balls at the time of the declaration for his eighth Test hundred and boosted his average to 84.8 in 20 Tests.

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