Australia equal Test record with win over India

Last updated at 11:26 06 January 2008

Australia equalled their own world record of 16 consecutive Test wins today after an enthralling 122-run victory over India in Sydney.

There were just eight minutes remaining in the day's play when Michael Clarke grabbed three wickets in five balls in the penultimate over of the match as India were bundled out for 210.

Shaun Tait and Michael Clarke

Clarke was home captain Ricky Ponting's final throw of the dice and the slow left-armer did the trick as the Indian tail crumbled.

He came on with experienced duo Anil Kumble and Harbhajan Singh looking as though they would see the tourists through to the close.

But Clarke would prove to be an unlikely hero.

First he tempted Harbhajan into edging to Mike Hussey before trapping RP Singh leg before wicket first ball.

Nineteen-year-old Ishant Sharma was the last man in and, despite seeing off the hat-trick ball, was unable to cope with the pressure, also falling to the Clarke/Hussey combination to end the contest.

The late drama vindicated Ponting's decision to make a delayed declaration earlier in the day.

Australia, already 1-0 up in the four-match series, made 401 for seven in their second innings, Hussey hitting an unbeaten 145, before Ponting called his players in.

"We got about the right number of runs and the right amount of time to get the wickets," Ponting said afterwards.

"Clarke has got the golden touch hasn't he!

"We hung in there and we knew that if we kept them under pressure we would have a chance. That is as good a win as I have ever been involved in.

"We were the only ones who could win the game which was what I wanted. It was always going to be hard work for them."

Ponting hailed the impact of slow bowlers Clarke and Andrew Symonds.

"The game was slipping away with 10 overs to go but we only needed one wicket to change things," he added.

"The job Andrew Symonds did was amazing while the quick bowlers were a little less effective than the spinners.

"The last option was to bring back Pup (Clarke) and it did the trick."

The Australia skipper insisted he had not given much thought to the fact his side were chasing a world record.

"I haven't had chance to think about the 16 (Test wins)," he said.

"We go to Perth now with a record just around the corner, it's a venue we love playing at.

"At the two venues we thought India would be strongest, Melbourne and Sydney, we have won and we now go to a venue which suits us."

Hussey was the Aussie hero in their second innings while Symonds chipped in with a useful 61.

Ponting eventually declared just before lunch, leaving India with little chance of winning and needing to bat out the remainder of the day to salvage a draw.

They got off to a bad start when opener Wasim Jaffer was out for a duck after edging a Brett Lee delivery to Clarke in the slips.

VVS Laxman and first-innings centurion Sachin Tendulkar both fell cheaply before Rahul Dravid, who made a battling 38, was given out caught behind by Adam Gilchrist off the bowling of Symonds when the ball clearly came off his pad.

Australian hopes were raised further when the dangerous Yuvraj Singh edged Symonds to Gilchrist from his third ball.

There was more controversy when Sourav Ganguly was given out, adjudged to have been caught by Clarke in the slips off Lee - umpire Mark Benson taking the word of Ponting - even though television replays failed to prove conclusively that the ball had carried.

Mahendra Singh Dhoni and India captain Kumble stabilised the innings with a seventh-wicket stand of 48 before the former was trapped lbw by Symonds.

Kumble was joined by Harbhajan and some stout defence appeared to have saved the day for India.

But Clarke was to the have the final say.

Asked afterwards if he thought he would turn out to be the match-winner, he replied: "Honestly, not a chance in hell!"