New Delhi: India's famed batting line-up produced yet another spineless display to crash to an embarrassing 122-run defeat in the first cricket Test and hand Australia a 1-0 lead in the four-match Test series in Melbourne Cricket Ground on Thursday.





Chasing a target of 292 in the second innings, India's top-order collapsed like a proverbial house of cards against the pace trio of James Pattinson (4/53), Peter Siddle (3/42) and Ben Hilfenhaus (2/39) to be bundled out for a paltry 169 in 47.5 overs in the final session of the penultimate day.

India were always up against history as no side since 1963 has made more than 250 runs in the fourth innings at MCG to win a Test match.

Sachin Tendulkar promised some ray of hope during his little cameo of 32 runs, but the rest of the top-order batsmen cut a sorry figure against the Australian quicks and at one stage the tourists had lost four wickets for just 22 runs.

Openers Virender Sehwag (7) and Gautam Gambhir (13) and the senior trio of Rahul Dravid (10), Tendulkar and VVS Laxman (1) all failed to save the day for India and departed inside the 90-run mark.

Young Virat Kohli (0) suffered his second failure of the match and made matters worse by showing his displeasure at a plumb leg before decision.

Ravichandran Ashwin (30) rode his luck for a while and skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni (23) was street-smart during his stay, but the task proved to be too tall for them to achieve once the top-order departed early.

Sehwag and Gambhir fell on either side of lunch. The dangerous right-hander was caught by Michael Hussey at gully as he went for ferocious cut off Ben Hilfenhaus, while his left-handed partner jabbed at a lifting Peter Siddle delivery to be caught in the second slip by Ricky Ponting.

Tendulkar, who once again entered the ground to a standing ovation, came and drove his first ball into covers for three runs to convey his intentions clear.

An on-drive, with virtually the full face of the bat, by Tendulkar brought up the 50 of Indian innings.

Dravid was sedate but solid at the other end, yet Pattinson was able to create a huge gap between his bat and pad to knock back his middle stump. The right-hander hit one four during his 29-ball stay. Dravid's exit opened the floodgates for Australia.

Laxman took his first run off the seventh ball he faced but then flicked Pattinson into the hands of Ed Cowan at square leg to make it four down for 68 runs.

Kohli fell off the first delivery he faced, LBW to Hilfenhaus.

But the biggest blow came soon thereafter when Tendulkar drove a swinging delivery from Siddle straight to Hussey at gully.

Tendulkar batted for 73 minutes and faced 46 balls. He hit four fours before disappearing into the MCG tunnel amidst a standing sendoff, possibly for the last time.

Dhoni, who has a poor batting record in Australia with an average of 17.00 and a highest score of 38, chose attack as the best defence and decided to take matter into his hands by slamming Hilfenhaus over wide long on for a six.

Ashwin rode his luck well, inside and outside edging boundaries behind square but ended the post lunch session with a brilliant straight drive off Siddle.

The off-spinner, though, departed immediately after tea when he fended off a rising delivery from Siddle, only to lob it up for Ed Cowan at forward short leg.

Pattinson, overnight on three, began with a glorious cover drive off Yadav and did so again later to move into double figures.

The dropped chance seemed to have emboldened him further as he pulled Yadav in the same over to stretch the Australian lead.

Hussey, on the other hand, was extremely tentative against Yadav's inswingers but managed a couple of fours against Zaheer.

Hussey though departed in the same over when he edged a Zaheer delivery to captain Dhoni behind the stumps. He made 89 off 151 balls and hit nine fours in the process.

But after Hussey's dismissal, Pattinson and Hilfenhaus showed great resolute as Dhoni fell back on spin and introduced Ashwin.

But the final pair stayed put and Hilfenhaus made the most of the change in bowling by twice thrashing Ashwin through the off-side and once doing an all-run four.

India finally brought a lid over the innings when Hilfenhaus edged Ishant Sharma to Laxman at second slip.

Hilfenhaus made 14 runs off 29 balls and hit hitting three fours during his 45 minutes vigil at the crease.


India: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (capt), Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, VVS Laxman, Virat Kohli, Ravichandran Ashwin, Zaheer Khan, Ishant  Sharma and Umesh Yadav.

Australia: Michael Clarke (capt), Brad Haddin, Ed Cowan, Ben Hilfenhaus, Michael Hussey, Nathan Lyon, Shaun Marsh, James Pattinson, Ricky Ponting, Peter Siddle and David Warner.

Umpires: Marais Erasmus (South Africa) and Ian Gould (England).

Match referee: Ranjan Madugalle (Sri Lanka).