Buoyant India thrash Australia by 137 runs in Melbourne

Buoyant India thrash Australia by 137 runs in Melbourne

Comprehensively beaten by India at the MCG to concede a Test series lead, Australia skipper Tim Paine on Sunday admitted his batsmen failed to cope with the high quality opposition bowling attack in the absence of banned Steve Smith and David Warner. "There are definitely factors and incentives attached to this particular series".

The pair's year-long suspensions for ball-tampering run out in late March and it is widely believed that they will be reintegrated quickly into the team.

It all started on the first Day of the opening Test match when O'Keefe, who has picked 53 wickets in 24 Tests, said on-air while commentating in the ongoing Test series that "Apparently, he got the triple (ton) against the Railways canteen staff", referring to debutant Mayank Agarwal. "Go back to picking your best 11 players".

"It's all about the team and Bumrah's interview post game was about how 'I can contribute to the team.' The fact that he didn't get any wickets in Perth and the way he bowled in Perth he didn't lose heart". Japsrit Bumrah (20 wickets at 14.65) sits atop the wicket-taking chart, while Travis Head (third with 217 runs at 36.16) is the only Australian among the top five run-scorers. Leg spin all-rounder Marnus Labuschagne has been called up, with Paine claiming that a spin-friendly pitch is on the cards.

"He was training like he wanted to play Test cricket, he was that obsessed about his fitness levels and his work ethics".

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The writing was on the wall ever since Australia were bowled out for 151 in response to India's 443 for 7 declared in the first innings of the Boxing Day Test. The batsmen, led by Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara, were also top class.

Border heaped praise on India's pace unit, saying: "It's as a good an Indian bowling attack as I've ever seen".

"That's been the one disappointing thing", Paine said.

While Cameron Bancroft, who tampered with the ball on the insistence of Australia's leadership group in Cape Town, has served out his nine-month ban, Smith and Warner will be free to play domestic and global cricket from March 30 in 2019.

It's the first time since 1991-92 that an Australian player has not scored a test century during the home summer before the January test in Sydney.

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"That's what we are seeing", Paine said at the post-match press conference. The victory marked India's 150th Test win.

But play eventually resumed after lunch and it was only a matter of time before India bundled Australia out to register a 137-run victory.

"At the moment it's challenging and everyone's frustrated", Paine said.

Australia's openers, Aaron Finch and Marcus Harris, are also under pressure after failing in both innings in Melbourne.

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