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Australia rip apart Sri Lanka in Boxing Day Test in Melbourne

Aussies run riot on Boxing Day to rip apart Sri Lanka in Melbourne opener

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UPDATED:

09:01 GMT, 26 December 2012

A brilliant display of pace bowling allowed Australia to assume control of their second Test with Sri Lanka on its opening day in Melbourne.

Having been asked to bowl first in the traditional Boxing Day encounter, Michael Clarke's men skittled their visitors for just 156 midway through the afternoon session, before closing up just six runs shy of that total for the loss of three wickets.

Festive fun: Mitchell Johnson celebrates taking the wicket of Tillakaratne Dilshan

Festive fun: Mitchell Johnson celebrates taking the wicket of Tillakaratne Dilshan

In the swing of things: Matthew Wade and Mitchell Johnson mark the dismissal of Kumar Sangakkara

In the swing of things: Matthew Wade and Mitchell Johnson mark the dismissal of Kumar Sangakkara

A reinvigorated Mitchell Johnson was the standout performer in the Baggy Green, with the often-maligned quick taking a four for 63 that was ably supported by two each from Peter Siddle, Nathan Lyon and debutant Jackson Bird.

David Warner then smashed a 46-ball 62 to get Australia up and running in their pursuit of a first innings lead, something that now looks a certainty, despite Sri Lanka taking three wickets before the bails were flicked.

Had their own score been a better one that would have been respectable but, with such a failure on the board, they already look up against it, but only have themselves to blame.

The Australia pace attack got a bit of movement out of the pitch during the first session, but Sri Lanka were let down by a series of poor shots and Kumar Sangakkara was the only batsman to look comfortable.

Day to remember: Aussie fans enjoyed the action on a balmy day in Melbourne

Day to remember: Aussie fans enjoyed the action on a balmy day in Melbourne

Day to remember: Aussie fans enjoyed the action on a balmy day in Melbourne

That was until Wade combined with Johnson to pull off a brilliant catch with the veteran on 58.
Sangakkara had not played a false shot all day, but was tempted into hooking a short Johnson delivery that bounced higher than expected and could only collect the top edge.

The ball flew straight over Wade's head, but the wicketkeeper kept his eyes on the ball and sprinted over 30 metres towards the sightscreen, before producing a dive to pull off a tremendous catch that dismissed the man who became the 11th in history to register 10,000 Test runs earlier in his innings.

Sangakkara's patience at the crease and ability to punish anything loose was the only highlight of a poor batting performance from the tourists as questionable shot selection led to many of his team-mates' demise.

Bird (two for 32) had his first Test victim with the 22nd delivery of the morning when Dimuth Karunaratne (five) came forward to a ball on a good length, but was only able to edge one through to Wade behind the stumps.

The usually reliable Tillakaratne Dilshan (11) was guilty of the worst shot of the day as he attempted to hit a booming straight drive off Johnson, only to inside edge it onto his off stump to reduce Sri Lanka to 19 for two.

Siddle (two for 30) made it 37 for three shortly after when Mahela Jayawardene (three) nicked one through to Wade, before Sangakkara combined with Thilan Samaraweera to take the score through to 79 for three at lunch.

Gone: Phillip Hughes is run out by Tillakaratne Dilshan and Kumar Sangakkara

Gone: Phillip Hughes is run out by Tillakaratne Dilshan and Kumar Sangakkara

Bird, who had bowled intelligently during his first stint in the morning, had his second wicket with the third ball after lunch when Samaraweera (10) lofted a short one and Angelo Matthews (15) came and went moments later as the wickets continued to tumble around Sangakkara.

A Prasanna Jayawardene (24) cameo gave Sri Lanka some hope, but when he got a ripper from Johnson and Dhammika Prasad fell the very next ball for a duck, the tourists were 134 for seven and in all sorts of trouble.

Lyon (two for 23) came in to clean up the tail with ease and Australia – with captain Michael Clarke having passed a fitness test before the start of play – set about making hay.

Warner and Ed Cowan raced out to 95 before the former found the hands of Prasad at mid-wicket off the bowling of Andrews, with Phil Hughes then doing little to enhance his credentials as a number three by getting caught out of his ground by Dilshan when on 10.

Another wicket followed when Cowan nicked Prasad to Mahela Jayawardene at second slip, and Australia looked to be reeling when Shane Watson edged the same man to Prasanna Jayawardene, only to see a one-handed attempt at a catch go to ground.

The reprieve stopped the slide and Watson (13no) and Clarke (20no) saw things through to the finish.

Sight for sore eyes: A view of the Melbourne Cricket Ground on day one of the second Test

Sight for sore eyes: A view of the Melbourne Cricket Ground on day one of the second Test

Michael Clarke says Ashes defeat forced new era of Australian cricket

Clarke claims Ashes mauling forced new era of Australian cricket

The pain of last winter's Ashes mauling by England is helping to usher in a new era for Australian cricket, according to Test captain Michael Clarke.

The Baggy Green wrapped up a 4-0 series win over India on Saturday, just a year on from their humiliating 3-1 defeat to England on home soil.

A lot of changes have occurred since then, with a new coach, selection team and captain in place, with Clarke replacing Ricky Ponting at the helm.

Award: Michael Clarke was the outstanding player

Award: Michael Clarke was the outstanding player

The statistics from this series would suggest the alterations have been positive too, with Clarke, who scored 626 runs in the series, spearheading a new dawn.

Quick bowlers James Pattinson, Ben Hilfenhaus and Peter Siddle have formed a fearsome unit – although Pattinson has been injured for some of this series – and David Warner has finally emerged as the dashing opener many expected him to be.

A rejuvenated Ponting has also rediscovered his touch after a barren two years, hitting a century and a double century in his last two Tests.

And Clarke is in no doubt as to what started the upturn in fortunes.

'I think it (the Ashes) has played a part,' Clarke said.

New wave: Peter Siddle (right) has been superb

New wave: Peter Siddle (right) has been superb

'It certainly has for me personally. I think individual players who were a part of last summer remember it.

'We said and knew we had to do a lot of work to improve our games, both personally and as a team.

'It's obviously a very special feeling to sit here beating India 4-0, knowing that last summer I couldn't buy a run. It's a great feeling.

'I hate to say it but throughout your career you need to go through the tough times individually and as a team to realise how hard Test cricket is and how special it is when you have days like today and a series like this.'

Other chastening losses have occurred since, such as being railroaded for 47 by South Africa after holding a 188-run lead, and then surrendering to New Zealand having bowled them out for 150.

'The loss in South Africa and the loss against New Zealand is something that every player in that change room has had in the front of their mind,' Clarke added.

'That's probably been a bit of an inspiration to make sure when we feel like things are going well, to keep pushing forward; to make the most of the momentum that we've been able to have.

'Consistency is an area we've had to work on as a team.

Finish: Australian celebrate after Umesh Yadav (right) loses his wicket and India lose the series

Finish: Australian celebrate after Umesh Yadav (right) loses his wicket and India lose the series

'To be able to keep backing up throughout this series and win all four Test matches shows we're improving in that area.'

While Australia are celebrating a return to form, India are left to pick up the pieces of another humiliating whitewash.

Also Beaten 4-0 in England last summer, Duncan Fletcher`s side have fallen some way since they were ranked as the world`s best Test side.

But veteran batsman Virender Sehwag does not feel any of their senior players, such as himself, Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar and VVS Laxman, should be thinking about stepping down.

'I don't think there is a need for retirement of any player in this team,' Sehwag said.

'They will take their call when they're needed and when they think their time is up.'

The team's media spokesman also expressed his anger at reports emerging down under that Dravid had already decided to end his career.

Belief: Virender Sehwag (left) believes colleagues like Rahul Dravid (right) should not retire

Belief: Virender Sehwag (left) believes colleagues like Rahul Dravid (right) should not retire

'The team takes note of the stories in the media suggesting the imminent retirement of a member of the India team,' said GS Walia, reading from a prepared statement.

'We would like to clarify that situation by stating categorically that these are not correct and are baseless.'

Dravid averaged marginally over 24 throughout the tour, but was not alone in struggling to deal with Australia`s new-look attack.

'We have to look at ourselves and what went wrong and then make the calls,' Sehwag added.

'There are experienced players in our team, they are well aware of that and they are working on that, one bad series doesn't make any difference for them.

'They are working hard on their batting skills and they'll find a way.'

Sehwag did not offer a ringing endorsement of former England coach Fletcher, though, for whom this was a second career whitewash in Australia.

When asked what the Zimbabwean had brought to the side, he said: 'It's difficult to tell you. I will not comment on that.'

Australia complete series win over India

Australia wrap up India thrashing as Hilfenhaus stars with four-wicket haul

Australia completed an emphatic innings and 37-run win over India to clinch a series-clinching success in the third Test at Perth.

Ben Hilfenhaus claimed three wickets in a single over shortly after lunch as Australia took the final four wickets without conceding a run to wrap up victory early in the afternoon session.

Virat Kohli had kept the Australians' victory push at bay when he batted through the morning session, but after Hilfenhaus' stunning triple-strike, he fell to Peter Siddle in the fourth over after lunch to seal the hosts' 3-0 lead in the four-Test series.

Party time: The Australian team celebrate their win over India

Party time: The Australian team celebrate their win over India

Hilfenhaus finished with figures of four for 54, after being on a hat-trick during an over that saw him have Vinay Kumar and Zaheer Khan caught by Michael Clarke at first slip.

The Tasmanian narrowly missed the hat-trick but had Ishant Sharma caught at short leg two balls later before Siddle removed Kohli, who provided the one bright spot for India with his Test-best 75, as the tourists were bowled out for 171.

India never recovered after a disastrous first day when they were rattled out for 161 before David Warner smashed the equal-fourth quickest Test century from 69 balls.

Their veteran top-order folded in both innings, as they failed to deal with a fast-paced WACA Ground wicket, that Australia's four-pronged pace attack thrived on.

Defeat was also India's seventh consecutive reverse on away soil and leaves them facing another whitewash tour after their 4-0 reverse in England in the summer.

Star of the show: Ben Hilfenhaus took four wickets as India crumbled

Star of the show: Ben Hilfenhaus took four wickets as India crumbled

Australia began the day needing six wickets to regain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy and their progress was initially slowed by Kohli and Rahul Dravid as they negotiated the opening hour, despite the wicket showing some demons. Ryan Harris in particular was getting it to seam off the cracks that were opening wider on another hot day.

The right-armer could have bowled both batsmen, with deliveries that nipped back only to narrowly miss the stumps, but the Indian pair was due some luck for their application.

Kohli, in his seventh Test, deservedly brought up his third half-century just before drinks when he flicked Mitchell Starc confidently to the mid-wicket rope in typical style.

The 23-year-old was providing the perfect audition to move up the order in place of some of India's faltering stars but as he hit full flow his partners fell all around him.

Crestfallen: Rahul Dravid walks back to the pavilion after being bowled

Crestfallen: Rahul Dravid walks back to the pavilion after being bowled

Dravid looked set to follow Kohli in reaching 50, but yet again was bowled as Harris finally got his reward.

Dravid, who turned 39 earlier this week, had battled his way to 47 but his innings was again cut short when he saw his leg stump uprooted after driving wide of his pad.

The veteran's departure ended a fighting 84-run stand, but with India so far behind they needed more of the same to have any hope.

Skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni (two) was unable to provide the resistance his team required as he edged Siddle low to Ricky Ponting at second slip before India's tail completely fell apart afterto leave them facing another whitewash in Adelaide in a fortnight.

Australia in charge against India after day one in Sydney

Advantage Australia as pace trio skittle India for just 191 on eventful day one in Sydney

An unbeaten 79-run stand between Michael Clarke and Ricky Ponting left Australia in a strong position after their in-form pace attack skittled India for 191 on a dramatic opening day at the SCG.

Having ripped through India's batting line-up in just over two sessions, James Pattinson, Ben Hilfenhaus and Peter Siddle sharing all 10 wickets between them, the hosts also found the going tough on a greenish wicket as Zaheer Khan produced a destructive opening spell.

The left-armer removed David Warner (eight), Shaun Marsh (0) and Ed Cowan (16) to reduce Australia to a precarious 37 for three before Ponting (44 not out) and Clarke (47no) steered the hosts to 116 for three at stumps, trailing by 75 runs.

Timber: Sachin Tendulkar is bowled by James Pattinson for 41

Timber: Sachin Tendulkar is bowled by James Pattinson for 41

Warner was first to depart when he edged to VVS Laxman at second slip. Laxman fumbled the regulation chance but Sachin Tendulkar snaffled the rebound to send the dangerous left-hander trudging back to the pavilion.

Marsh fell to an almost identical delivery from Khan at the start of the paceman's next over, but this time Laxman made no mistake to send the batsman packing for a golden duck.

Cowan was Khan's next victim when he was trapped in front of his stumps, leaving Australia in some trouble with less than 10 overs gone.

What a sight: Australia bowler Peter Siddle (centre) celebrates taking the wicket of Umesh Yadav in front of the pavilion at the Sydney Cricket Ground

What a sight: Australia bowler Peter Siddle (centre) celebrates taking the wicket of Umesh Yadav in front of the pavilion at the Sydney Cricket Ground

However, current captain Clarke joined former skipper Ponting at the crease and the experienced duo helped put their side in the ascendancy with a quick-scoring counter-attack.

Earlier, Pattinson (four for 43), Ben Hilfenhaus (three for 51) and Peter Siddle (three for 55) picked up where they left off in Melbourne with another world-class display of pace bowling.

India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni top scored for the tourists with an unbeaten 57 after winning the toss and electing to bat, while Tendulkar was the only other batsman to look comfortable against Australia's in-form pace trio.

Show's over: Pattinson (right) celebrates the prize scalp of Tendulkar (left)

Show's over: Pattinson (right) celebrates the prize scalp of Tendulkar (left)

The Little Master looked in ominous touch but will have to wait another day for his 100th international century after dragging a wide ball from Pattinson onto his stumps for 41 in the middle session.

Dhoni and Ravi Ashwin put on a valuable 54 runs for the seventh wicket before Hilfenhaus removed Ashwin (20) and Khan (nought) with the final two deliveries of the session to reduced India to 178 for eight at tea.

Dhoni came out swinging at the resumption, reaching his maiden half-century on Australian soil with a blistering cover drive off Siddle before running out of partners.

Riding his luck: Ricky Ponting glances anxiously down the leg side

Riding his luck: Ricky Ponting glances anxiously down the leg side

Sharma departed for a duck when he fended a short ball from Hilfenhaus straight to Cowan at short leg before Umesh Yadav became Siddle's 100th Test victim when he edged behind to Brad Haddin.

Needing a victory to square the series, the tourists made a dismal start as Gautam Gambhir (nought), Rahul Dravid (five), Virender Sehwag (30) and VVS Laxman (two) all fell before lunch.

Pattinson was the chief destroyer in the opening session claiming three wickets.

Centre of attention: Ben Hilfenhaus is congratulated after removing Zaheer Khan

Centre of attention: Ben Hilfenhaus is congratulated after removing Zaheer Khan

Australia v India: Tourists in command on day three

India on top despite Hilfenhaus heroics as Aussie openers fail on day three

Australia held an overall lead of 230 runs at stumps on day three of the first Test against India at the MCG, after reaching 179 for eight in their second innings.

Michael Hussey (79 not out) and Ricky Ponting (60) combined for a 115-run stand that halted a damaging top-order collapse – but the latter”s dismissal means India are in command of a see-saw contest.

Hussey, dropped in the slips by Rahul Dravid in the shadows of stumps, will join number 10 James Pattinson (three not out) when play resumes.

Steadying the ship: Hussey and Ponting

Steadying the ship: Hussey and Ponting”s stand halted the top-order collapse

Australia v India

Click here for a full scorecard

The hosts” top four each failed to reach double figures, undoing the superb work of Ben Hilfenhaus – who earlier today claimed his first Test five-wicket haul to earn Australia a 51-run first-innings lead.

Under-fire veterans Hussey and Ponting came to the crease after young Indian quick Umesh Yadav (four wickets for 49 runs) rifled through the top order to leave Australia teetering on 27 for four.

Ponting hit his second half-century of the match by driving off the back foot to deep point and then running all four runs to raucous applause of the 40,000-strong crowd. Hussey, out for a golden in the first innings, reached his 50 the next over as Australia regained the momentum.

But 36-year-old Ponting fell well short of a drought-breaking hundred when he presented a catch to gully off veteran seamer Zaheer Khan (two for 32).

And when out-of-form Brad Haddin was out for six, caught at second slip also to Zaheer, and tail-enders Peter Siddle (four) and Nathan Lyon (nought) followed, the tourists had wrested back control with two days to play.

Fifteen wickets fell on a day dominated by the bowlers despite there being no obvious signs of uneven bounce or menace in the wicket.

Aussie

Aussie”s ruled: Yadav traps Cowan LBW and Marsh”s stumps are rattled (below)

Aussie

The visitors lost seven wickets for 68 runs during the morning session to be all out for 282 after Hilfenhaus claimed five for 75 in a devastating spell.

He removed Dravid (68), Virat Kohli (11), MS Dhoni (six) and Ishant Sharma (11) to dent India”s challenge after they resumed at 214 for three, in reply to Australia”s first-innings 333.

Fans had barely settled in their seats before Dravid was clean bowled second ball of the day. The Tasmanian seamer produced a perfect delivery which came in and then moved away slightly to beat the outside edge of Dravid”s bat and hit the top of off-stump.

Siddle (three for 63) then had VVS Laxman caught behind by Haddin for two – and Australia took control when Hilfenhaus struck twice within three overs midway through the morning session.

Kohli presented a simple catch to Haddin after edging an outswinger and skipper Dhoni lasted three deliveries against the new ball before picking out Hussey at gully.

Nightwatchman Sharma provided the most resistance but eventually presented Haddin with his fifth catch of the innings.

However Australia blew a chance to take control of the match when they suffered a dramatic top-order collapse.

David Warner (five) was the first to go chopping a ball from Yadav onto the stumps while his partner Ed Cowan (eight) was out three balls later, foolishly leaving a ball that straightened and struck him on the pads.

Five alive! It was a memorable day for Aussie seamer Hilfenhaus

Five alive! It was a memorable day for Aussie seamer Hilfenhaus (and below)

Five alive! It was a memorable day for Aussie seamer Hilfenhaus

Shaun Marsh was bowled for three, playing on to his stumps when attempting to drive a pitched-up Yadav ball.

Then captain Michael Clarke (one) made it a pair of failures in the series opener when Sharma tore through his defence with a 149.9 km/h thunderbolt.

India”s enforced absence of the decision review system has again worked to their advantage in this contest.

Ravichandran Ashwin was struck in front in the first session only to be given not out despite replays showing the ball hitting middle and leg stumps.

And replays showed Cowan”s dismissals – caught behind in the first innings and lbw in the second – were both incorrect.

Sachin Tendulkar misses out on 100th Test ton against Australia in Melbourne

Wait goes on for Tendulkar as Dravid puts India in the driving seat in Melbourne

Sachin Tendulkar threatened to bring up a magical 100th international century but was dismissed late on day two after helping put India in command of the first Test against Australia.

DAY 2: AUSTRALIA v INDIA

Click here to view the scorecard

Tendulkar was bowled superbly by Peter Siddle for a dashing 73 from 98 deliveries, three balls before stumps at the MCG.

He had teamed up with Rahul Dravid, who scored a patient 68 not out to help the tourists reach 214 for three heading into the third day in response to Australia”s first-innings score of 333.

The long walk: Sachin Tendulkar gives a rueful glance over his left shoulder after missing out on the milestone once again

The long walk: Sachin Tendulkar gives a rueful glance over his left shoulder after missing out on the milestone once again

The two greatest Test run-scorers of all-time put on 117 for the third wicket – their 20th century partnership.

Worryingly for Australia, they were looking at their ominous best before Siddle intervened and forced nightwatchman Ishant Sharma to make an appearance.

It did not take long for Tendulkar to get his eye in and he treated the 52,858-strong crowd to a batting masterclass with top-notch stroke play which delivered some perfectly-executed boundaries.

The Little Master saw off eight balls in a nervous period before tea, following Virender Sehwag”s dismissal for 67 in the penultimate over of the middle session.

That

That”s out: Peter Siddle accounts for Tendulkar at the MCG

He then set the tone for his innings with the first ball of the final session, doing so in spectacular style with an outrageous six when he flicked Siddle over the slip cordon and the third-man boundary.

It was the first of three precise late cuts he guided over the slips in what was a display of supreme awareness, vision and timing.

Tendulkar had eight fours to go with his six, and scored his 64th Test fifty with a single off Nathan Lyon that produced one of the loudest cheers of the day from a Melbourne crowd which featured a healthy portion of Indian supporters.

At the other end, Dravid was at his resolute best and lived up to his nickname of The Wall, with his 68 runs coming from 185 balls.

No ball: Rahul Dravid was handed a reprieve after a video replay

No ball: Rahul Dravid was handed a reprieve after a video replay

Dravid had been a lot more circumspect than Tendulkar but there were some flashes of brilliance, none more impressive than when he hit a glorious glance for four off Siddle after he opened his wrists ever so slightly.

Tendulkar overtook Dravid, who notched his 63rd Test fifty, despite the latter getting a 28-over head start.

Dravid was assured in his stroke-play and looked impregnable for the most part although he did experience some hairy moments courtesy of Ben Hilfenhaus, James Pattinson and Siddle.

Most notably, six overs before stumps, Siddle did find a way through when he bowled Dravid, but after much jubilation the delivery was adjudged to be a no-ball after umpire Marais Erasmus referred it to the third umpire, much to the Victorian firebrand”s horror.

Fancy a livener Dravid takes evasive action as James Pattinson fires in the short stuff

Fancy a livener Dravid takes evasive action as James Pattinson fires in the short stuff

But Tendulkar”s wicket would have served as a decent consolation for Siddle who bowled a ripping spell at the end of the day which yielded one for seven from four overs.

Tendulkar and Dravid had experienced little trouble dealing with the off-spin of Lyon, and the absence of an all-rounder in the team meant part-timers David Hussey and David Warner bowled their respective medium pace and leg spin with little effect against the greatest and second-greatest Test run scorers of all time.

Pacemen Pattinson and Hilfenhaus had made a blistering start to India”s innings but could not build momentum.

Hilfenhaus bowled fantastically well early on and he troubled Dravid and Sehwag, in particular, on numerous occasions with superb pace, line and length.

While Pattinson was outstanding, especially in the period prior to tea which saw him take one for seven from five overs in a spell of venomous pace bowling which saw him bowl Sehwag after the opener had a number of near-misses in an entertaining and risky innings which included seven boundaries.

Sehwag brought up his 8,000th Test run and 31st Test fifty and combined well with Dravid as they put on 75 for the second wicket.

Earlier, Australia made it to 333 thanks to some handy cameos from Siddle (41), Hilfenhaus (19) and Pattinson (18 not out) after starting the day on 277 for six.

Picture perfect: An expectant crowd assembled at the MCG for the second day

Picture perfect: An expectant crowd assembled at the MCG for the second day

Veteran Indian paceman Zaheer Khan (four for 77) and off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin (three for 81) wrapped up Australia”s innings as they shared the remaining four wickets evenly.

Meanwhile, impressive Australian debutant Ed Cowan is under a fitness cloud after injuring his back during the warm-up and receiving treatment.

Cowan re-entered the arena to resume fielding duties in the second session but had to leave the field again soon after.

Ed Cowan shines on Australia debut against India

Cowan shines on Australia debut in Boxing Day Test against India

Australia finished on 277 for six at the end of a controversial first day of the Boxing Day Test against India at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

India had refused to condone the use of the decision review system (DRS) in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy Series and that appeared to have implications today with the dismissals of Michael Hussey (0) and debutant Ed Cowan (68) both questionable.

The visitors” refusal could also have repercussions for Hussey who is battling to save his Test career and must now try to ease the pressure with an impressive second innings.

Flying start: Ed Cowan hits out on his big day

Flying start: Ed Cowan hits out on his big day

The two dismissals took place in a devastating 19-ball period which saw the hosts lose three wickets for nine runs after they were cruising at 205 for three.

Veteran paceman Zaheer Khan (two for 49) found himself on a hat-trick when he first bowled Michael Clarke for 31 and, with the next ball, umpire Marais Erasmus adjudged Hussey to have been caught behind by MS Dhoni for a golden duck. But TV replays suggested the ball missed the bat and glove by some distance.

And 16 balls later, off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin (one for 71) took the crucial wicket of Cowan when he was also caught behind by Dhoni although the DRS most likely would have given Cowan a reprieve with “Hot Spot” appearing to show there was no nick.

It was an unfortunate end for the rock-solid Cowan who hit the best score by an Australian opener on his debut since Wayne Phillips (159) in 1983-84 against Pakistan.

However, Brad Haddin (21 not out) and Peter Siddle (34 not out) steadied things again for Australia with a very handy unbeaten 63-run seventh-wicket union.

Latest low: Michael Hussey is dimissed on day one at the MCG

Latest low: Michael Hussey is dimissed on day one at the MCG

Australia had found themselves in a strong position thanks to a superb 113-run third-wicket partnership between Cowan and the under-fire Ricky Ponting (62).

Ponting recovered well from a jittery start and became more comfortable as his innings wore on.

This was highlighted by three trademark pull shots for four off Khan and Umesh Yadav (three for 96) who unsuccessfully attempted to test out Ponting with some poor short deliveries.

Ponting, who ended up with six boundaries, joined Cowan in the middle with the score on 46 for two and the pair ramped things up after lunch as they smacked 48 from 49 balls, with Yadav copping the full brunt of the punishment.

After starring in the morning by claiming the scalps of David Warner (37) and Shaun Marsh (zero) in the space of seven balls, 24-year-old Yadav was brought back into the attack and quickly turned from hero to villain.

Ho, ho, ho: Aussie fans dress up as Santa

Ho, ho, ho: Aussie fans dress up as Santa

Big support: India fans cheer during the first Test match

Yadav conceded 34 runs from just four overs after lunch, including five boundaries, and the scoring spree was what Australia needed after they could only manage to reach 68 for two at lunch.

But just as Ponting looked like he was possibly building towards his 40th Test ton, Yadav made up for his poor economy rate by having the former Australian skipper caught by VVS Laxman at second slip.

Cowan was a picture of caution in the first session of his Test career, moving along to just 14 off 61 balls at lunch. But when he went on the attack, he did so with authority.

The Tasmanian opener began to take care of the bad ball, of which there were plenty at that stage of the match, and doubled his score from 14 to 28 within 10 deliveries after lunch ending up with seven fours.

Although Yadav was India”s leading wicket-taker he was also by far their most expensive bowler, pitching it too short on too many occasions with the end result often being a trip to the boundary rope.

New Zealand beat Australia by seven runs in Hobart

New Zealand hold nerve for dramatic first win in Oz for 25 years despite Warner stand

An inspired spell of fast bowling from Doug Bracewell propelled New Zealand to an unlikely victory in a thrilling finish at Hobart”s Blundstone Arena, despite a heroic maiden century from David Warner.

Australia fell just eight runs shy of their target of 241 after a last-wicket partnership worth 34 between Warner and Nathan Lyon. But Bracewell removed Lyon for nine to clinch the victory, capping a display in which he took six for 40. Tim Southee provided solid support as he took two for 77.

Rookie opener Warner finished unbeaten on 123, carrying his bat through the Australian innings, but it was not enough for his team.

Agony and ecstasy: New Zealand celebrate the wicket of Nathan Lyon

Agony and ecstasy: New Zealand celebrate the wicket of Nathan Lyon

Bracewell and Southee bowled unchanged after lunch and combined to remove the last eight Australian batsmen for just 74 runs either side of the break.

Bracewell had taken three quick wickets before lunch but Australia, on 173 for five, still looked to be in a strong position, particularly when Warner found the five runs he needed to post his maiden Test century early in the second session.

Together with Brad Haddin (15) he provided a steadying influence after the wobble late in the morning. But when Haddin went driving at a wide one and was caught at slip by Ross Taylor it triggered a collapse as Australia lost four wickets for seven runs, with Peter Siddle (2), James Pattinson (4) and Mitchell Starc (0) falling in the space of two overs.

Ton up: David Warner All in vain: Warner

All in vain: David Warner hit a brilliant century for Australia but his side still lost

Bracewell was finding significant movement through the air from the Southern end of Blundstone Arena and fellow right-arm quick Southee was doing an equally impressive job at the other end.

With Warner seemingly hampered by a back complaint during the morning session, he was forced to carry a huge burden after the break in first reaching his century and then trying to guide his side home with wickets tumbling at the other end.

His brave rearguard ended when Lyon was the last dismissed, bowled by Bracewell for nine.

Relief: New Zealand captain Ross Taylor celebrates the dramatic win

Relief: New Zealand captain Ross Taylor celebrates the dramatic win

Skipper Taylor sensed the time was right to attack after lunch with Southee introduced to the attack and aside from a tough chance that was dropped by Jesse Ryder from Siddle, his packed slip cordon did the business by snaring six catches in the Australian innings.

Lyon joined Warner at the crease with 42 required for victory and survived two reviewed LBW decisions as the pair chased what was becoming an increasingly unlikely victory.

But when Lyon was finally bowled, New Zealand celebrated their deserved victory mid-pitch while Lyon slumped to his haunches, the unbeaten Warner a solitary figure at the other end, no doubt wondering how his chanceless maiden Test century could end in such disappointing circumstances.

Review: New Zealand watch a video umpiring decision on the big screen

Review: New Zealand watch a video umpiring decision on the big screen

New Zealand captain Taylor admitted he “nearly had a heart attack” as Australia”s last pair threatened to deprive his side of a first Test win over their rivals since 1993.

The Black Caps prevailed by seven runs – their narrowest Test win, and equal seventh in the format”s history.

“They fought the whole way,” Taylor said afterwards. “We would have won by 40 runs out there against some teams but the way Lyon and Warner played, I nearly had a heart attack.

Out: Australia captain Michael Clarke is caught by Taylor off Doug Bracewell

Out: Australia captain Michael Clarke is caught by Taylor off Doug Bracewell

“Warner was outstanding. To come in in only his second match and control the game the way he did… we”ll be on the wrong side of a few hidings so I can”t feel too sorry for him, but he deserves a lot of credit for the way he batted.”

The 21-year-old Bracewell has only one more Test to his name than Twenty20 specialist Warner, and Taylor said: “I”m just stoked for Dougie.

“He bowled outstandingly well for a young guy, 21 and in only his third Test to get Ponting and Clarke and Hussey – that”s something to tell your grandkids about.

Six appeal: New Zealand fast bowler Bracewell forced the Aussie collapse

Six appeal: New Zealand fast bowler Bracewell forced the Aussie collapse

“The way (Peter) Siddle and (James) Pattinson bowled from that end – Dougie is probably 5kph slower than them but he”s a similar bowler. As captain you”ve got to go on hunches – I thought Doug would bowl well, I didn”t think he”d bowl that well.”

Taylor had just turned nine years old the last time New Zealand beat Australia, while their last win across the Tasman was in 1986.

Last man standing : Warner consoles Nathan Lyon (left) after his dismissal

Last man standing : Warner consoles Nathan Lyon (left) after his dismissal

And the captain said: “Rugby is our No 1 sport but any sport against Australia, winning in Australia, the New Zealand public enjoys.

“The New Zealand public knows that the New Zealand cricket team, when playing against Australia, is always the underdogs, but they don”t like it when we don”t show much fight. That”s what we didn”t do in Brisbane. We showed a lot of ticker today.”