Bengaluru: Ravichandran Ashwin’s 25th five-wicket haul was the cornerstone of India’s remarkable turnaround as the hosts defeated Australia by 75 runs in the second cricket Test to level the four-match series 1-1 here.
Defending a competitive target of 188 with the Border-Gavaskar Trophy on line, Ashwin was unplayable on a tricky fourth-day surface with magnificent figures of 6 for 41. Australia ended up decimated for 112 in only 35.4 overs.
Just like Indian wickets fell like nine pins in Pune, Australia too crumbled like a house of cards and lost the last six for a mere 11 runs between overs 26th and 36th.
With their backs firmly against the wall, it was a battle of attrition for Kohli and his boys after their humiliating loss in Pune.
It turned out to be a collective effort in the end with KL Rahul (90 and 51), Cheteshwar Pujara (92) and Ajinkya Rahane (52) doing their bit with the bat. Not to forget an invaluable 20 runs from Wriddhiman Saha.
After a bad run in Pune, spin twins Ashwin (8 wickets) and Ravindra Jadeja (7 wickets) accounted for 15 out of the 20 wickets.
The pitch, which deteriorated with each passing moment, made the target of 188 look as big as 350. Only skipper Steve Smith (28) and Peter Handscomb (24) were the only batsmen to cross 20-run mark for Australia.
Till the 10th over of the chase, things looked good for Australia as they were 42 for 1, losing only Matt Renshaw (5) who got an unplayable delivery from Ishant Sharma.
David Warner (17) got a leg before decision off Ashwin’s bowling going against him. Warner reviewed it unsuccessfully.
Umesh Yadav (2/30 in 9 overs) then produced the double break with Shaun Marsh (9) getting one to come back after hitting one of those ever widening cracks. Smith got a shooter that didn’t even rise enough hitting him on the boot.
It was plumb and Smith, trying to get a clue from the dressing room beyond his 15-second time, got into a brief altercation with rival captain Kohli.
Mitchell Marsh (13) and Peter Handscomb (24) added 27 runs and tried to stem the rot during their fifth wicket partnership.
This was the time when Ashwin, coming for his second spell, ran riot dismissing Marsh, Matthew Wade and Mitchell Starc in quick succession.
Once it was 103 for 7, the game was all over for Australia. The third Test will be played in Ranchi from March 16.