Australia hopes ghosts of Ashes past turning to vapour
Melbourne: Australia`s crushing second Test victory over India was cheered on Saturday by a triumphant local media who saw the ghosts of last year`s Ashes humiliation vanishing under the leadership of captain Michael Clarke.
"Emerging from the Ashes with honour," The Australian newspaper beamed after the hosts took a 2-0 lead in the four-Test series on Friday with their innings and 68-run victory at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
Clarke, named Man of the Match for his heroics with bat and ball, had finally silenced the doubters and won over Australian fans, the Age newspaper said.
"His rise from the personal and team disappointment of the Ashes was completed at the SCG with a supreme triple century, a vital bowling cameo to capture the wicket of Sachin Tendulkar and a declaration that paved the way for Australia to crush India within four days," the daily`s cricket writer Chloe Saltau said.
Last year`s 3-1 Ashes defeat, their first to bitter rivals England on home soil in a quarter of a century, sparked recriminations, reviews and a painful period of rebuilding under Clarke, who took over after Ricky Ponting stepped down in March.
The 30-year-old skipper scored an unbeaten 329 to set up victory for Australia with a mammoth first innings total, but his capture of Tendulkar`s wicket for 80, which ended another strong bid for the 38-year-old`s 100th international Test century, was particularly tickling for local papers.
Clarke`s innocuous left-arm spin coaxed a nick from "the Little Master" to Mike Hussey at slip after a fumble from wicketkeeper Brad Haddin, sparking a batting collapse that ultimately brought India`s demise on day four.
"Pup masters Sachin -- Clarke outshines Indian legend," Melbourne daily, the Herald-Sun, gushed in a headline on its website.
"Few people have ever upstaged Sachin Tendulkar. No one is likely to do it more completely than Michael Clarke did in this 100th SCG Test," Malcolm Conn wrote in the Daily Telegraph.
"Is there nothing Clarke can`t do as captain?"
Australia head to Perth for the third Test starting next Friday with a head full of steam, albeit without fast bowler James Pattinson who had sustained a foot injury and will miss the rest of the series.
The 21-year-old`s loss after his Man of the Match performance in the first Test was the only major fly in the ointment at Sydney, where India`s hopes of a first Test series win on Australian soil were dashed again.
Mitchell Starc has been named in the squad as his replacement for Perth.
"Ouch, that hurts," the Herald Sun observed of Pattinson`s loss, which has followed injuries to 18-year-old Pat Cummins and fellow quick Mitchell Johnson.
"I think we do have to be cautious," cricket writer Peter Lalor said of managing Australia`s pacemen.
"He (Pattinson) has got an injury, and it must be a serious one if they know he`s going to be out for two Tests. He`s a great talent and we need him back, fit and bowling well."