Sydney: What started as a day of high anticipation ended up in smoke for MS Dhoni's men as India lost the second Test against Australia by an innings and 68 runs at the Sydney Cricket Ground, after Sachin Tendulkar once again missed out on an opportunity to get to his 100th international century.
Ben Hilfenhaus notched up his second five-wicket haul of the series as the Indians were bowled out for 400 to give the hosts a 2-0 lead in the four-match series. Triple-centurion and captain of the Australian team Michael Clarke, who was declared Man of the Match for his sublime innings of 329, was elated with the victory.
"It was a tough wicket to take 10 wickets but our bowlers were brilliant. I've spoken about consistency and our guys are doing that now. In any team you need experience and youth and I think now this Australian team has it. I was as relieved as Punt [Ponting]. His attitude around the group has been exceptional," Clarke said.
Clarke was also the one to deny Tendulkar the magical milestone of a 100th ton, when he had him caught by Michael Hussey at first slip for 80. "It [Tendulkar's wicket] is a very handy one to have," he said.
Carrying on from their overnight score of 114 for 2, India started off in convincing fashion through Tendulkar, who struck boundaries at will through the offside.
However, the visitors lost Gautam Gambhir soon after. A leading edge from his bat off the bowling of Peter Siddle ended in the hands of David Warner, who completed an easy catch at backward point. Gambhir departed after playing a useful hand of 83 from 142 balls, and struck 11 boundaries on the way.
Tendulkar continued to be in great touch, bringing up his 65th half-century in Tests with a glance down to fine leg and exhibited the 'daylight' that has existed between him and the rest of the Indian batsman in the series so far.
He and VVS Laxman were in complete control, taking the team's score to 243 for 3 at lunch. After losing just Gambhir's wicket in the first session, the turn of events post lunch was truly disastrous to the Indian cause.
With his score on 80, Tendulkar edged a Clarke delivery to Hussey at first slip which well and truly opened the floodgates. Laxman, who had brought up his half-century a little while earlier, was then cleaned up by Hilfenhaus, as he played across the line to a delivery that pitched on off-stump and held its line, to be bowled for 66.
The Aussie fast bowler got into the act again, getting the wicket of Dhoni (2) although there was some confusion as to whether it was a bump ball or not, but replays confirmed that Dhoni had scooped the ball straight into the hands of the bowler.
After terrorising the Indian batsmen in the first innings, Pattinson finally got his first wicket in the second essay by trapping Virat Kohli (9) lbw to a delivery that kept low. A few lusty hits by Zaheer Khan made for some interesting viewing, but with seven wickets down the writing was very much on the wall for the Indians.
The fireworks from Zaheer finally come to an end when he was dismissed by Siddle, who picked up his second wicket of the innings. Zaheer's innings lasted 26 balls which yielded 35 runs and included five fours and a six, before he backed away to a short delivery from Siddle only to hit it as far as Shaun Marsh in the cover region, who took a fine running catch.
Offspinner Nathan Lyon then got his first wicket of the match by trapping Ishant Sharma (11) in front of his stumps.
Meanwhile with wickets falling at the other end, R Ashwin, who had brought up his fifty (nine fours, one six), holed out to Lyon, who ran from mid-on to bring an end to India's misery. Ashwin made 62 before he became Hilfenhaus' fifth wicket.