Australia win Sydney thriller by 122 runs
Sydney, Jan 6: Part-time spinner Michael Clarke claimed three wickets in five balls of the penultimate over to clinch Australia a dramatic 122-run second Test victory against India and a record-equalling 16th straight Test win here.
This match at SCG will be remembered forever for wrong reasons as umpires, Steve Bucknor and Mark Benson, kept on doing what they were not supposed to do through out the Test and the final day of second Test was no exception. India looked to be hanging on for a determined draw before India lost their premier batsmen, Rahul Dravid and Sourav Ganguly, because of some stupid decisions of the umpires .Rahul Dravid was the victim of a stupid decision by umpire Steve Bucknor who gave him out caught behind even though television replays showed the ball hit Dravid's pad and was nowhere near his bat.
Dravid, who had resisted for almost two and a half hours and 103 balls for 38, looked incredulous at Bucknor as he left the pitch.
Ganguly was the next batsman to go off Brett Lee. When replays clearly suggested that the slip fielder Michael Clarke caught the ball after dropping, surprisingly, Benson asked Ricky Ponting's help on judging whether the ball was dropped the Punter was more than happy to help the umpire and signalled out.
Ganguly stood his ground but was sent on his way by umpire Mark Benson for 51 off 56 balls.
Skipper Anil Kumble showed some resistance 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 leg-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 Perth Test on January 16-20.
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 on 45 but his effort was scuppered at the death.
The Australians retained the Border-Gavaskar Trophy as holders with a 2-0 lead after a thumping 337-run win in last week's first Melbourne Test.
Ponting's team have been undefeated in Tests since beating South Africa by 184 runs at this ground two years ago.
The existing record was set under Ponting's predecessor, Steve Waugh, from October 1999 to February 2001.
India led by 69 runs on the first innings after centuries by Sachin Tendulkar (154 not out) and V.V.S. Laxman (109), but the Australians finished the stronger over the last two days of the Test to seize victory.
Symonds broke through with two wickets in four balls to put India on the slide after tea.
Yuvraj Singh continued his woeful series with a third-ball duck edging Symonds into Adam Gilchrist's gloves immediately after Dravid got out.
Stuart Clark set the wheels in motion with the key wickets of V.V.S. Laxman and Sachin Tendulkar before tea.
The seamer got one to nip back and keep low, trapping Laxman leg before wicket for 20 playing back on to his stumps.
Clark struck again with the crucial scalp of Tendulkar in his fifth over for 12.
Tendulkar, who built his SCG average to a stunning 326 runs following his unbeaten 154 in the first innings, tried to get his bat out of the way only to deflect it on to his stumps.
The small SCG crowd cheered and clapped 'The Little Master' all the way off the arena in recognition of his farewell Test at the famous ground.
Opener Wasim Jaffer continued his dismal run of scores in the series with a four-ball duck to Lee in the first over of the innings.
Skipper Ricky Ponting called a halt to Australia's second innings at 401 for seven, leaving India with a minimum of 72 overs to go after the runs.
Hussey remained unbeaten on 145 off 259 balls with 16 fours at the time of the declaration for his eighth Test hundred and boosted his average to 84.8 in 20 Tests.
Kumble finished with 4-148 off 40 overs and now has 599 Test wickets, while fellow spinner Harbhajan took 2-92 off 33 overs.
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