STEVE WAUGH'S Australians trounced India in the first Test here yesterday to record their 16th consecutive victory. The emphatic win with two days to spare gave the tourists a 1-0 lead in the three- match series and brought Australia closer to winning their first series on Indian soil in 31 years.
India, trailing by 173 runs on the first innings, were bundled out for 219 second time round 25 minutes after tea on the third day. The Australian openers Matthew Hayden and Michael Slater then knocked off the 47 runs needed in just seven overs before a sell- out crowd of 40,000 at the Wankhede Stadium.
With the pace bowler Javagal Srinath having broken a finger on his bowling hand, the Indians face an uphill task when the second Test starts in Calcutta on 11 March. India appeared to be putting up a fight when a 97-run stand for the third wicket between Rahul Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar lifted them to 154 for 2 shortly after lunch. However, Australia hit back with four wickets for 20 runs and then demolished the tail quickly to set up the easy win.
Mark Waugh, the part-time off-spinner, sparked the collapse with three wickets, including that of Tendulkar for 65.
Tendulkar's departure 20 minutes after lunch was a major turning point. He was a victim of both bad luck and an outstanding catch by Ricky Ponting. His pull against Mark Waugh bounced off short-leg Justin Langer's helmet to midwicket where Ricky Ponting ran to his right and dived to pick up the ball inches off the ground.
India were then on the slide - and Dravid, who had batted for four hours and 20 minutes, finally fell to Shane Warne when he attempted a sweep and was bowled round his legs.
Earlier, an engrossing morning session was marred by a heated exchange of words between Slater and Dravid after the third umpire ruled in favour of the batsman when the Australian picked up a low ball at midwicket. …