India wrapped up a series whitewash over Australia by securing a six-wicket win on Day Three of the fourth Test in Delhi.
Cheteshwar Pujara’s unbeaten 82 saw the hosts comfortably home on 158 for four after skittling their beleaguered opponents for 164 in their second innings.
Team India pose with the Border-Gavaskar Trophy after beating Australia in the fourth Test in Delhi yesterday to win the series 4-0
Ravindra Jadeja took five for 58 to do most of the damage, with only tail-ender Peter Siddle offering any resistance with 50 — his first Test half-century — as Australia’s batsmen undid all the good work achieved yesterday and first thing this morning by Nathan Lyon.
The chase always looked well within India’s grasp and was achieved with room to spare, despite two more wickets for Lyon, who finished with nine for the match. That was all after things had looked to be going Australia’s way at the start of the day as India added only six runs to their overnight total.
A brilliant spell of spin bowling from Lyon yesterday dragged Australia back into contention and the 25-year-old off-spinner did not take long to re-find his rhythm. Resuming on 266 for eight — having bowled out the tourists for 262 — the Indian tail had hardly settled before Lyon completed a career-best haul of seven for 94 by snaring the final two wickets with the first two balls of his first full over.
He first drew Ishant Sharma into a shot with a good delivery from around the wicket that found the gap between bat and pad and hit leg stump, and then trapped Pragyan Ojha plumb LBW with one which straightened after pitching on middle.
The renewed hope Australia may have harboured heading into the second innings with only a 10-run deficit swiftly diminished soon after they went out to bat again, however.
Glenn Maxwell opened the batting in place of Ed Cowan, but perished in the fifth over. The Victorian outside-edged a good-length delivery from Jadeja on to his off stump and departed for eight.
Opening partner David Warner followed suit — also for eight — from the first ball of Jadeja’s next over, trapped plumb in front of his middle stump.
Phil Hughes (six) also succumbed to spin, coming forward to defend one from Ravichandran Ashwin and being undone by the turn.
Captain Shane Watson, leading the side in the absence of the injured Michael Clarke, contributed five before having his middle stump dislodged by Ojha, and the departure of Cowan (24) — batting at No 3 — LBW playing across the line to Jadeja next over left Australia reeling on 53 for five.
Steve Smith and Matthew Wade set about steadying the ship for the visitors and reached lunch on 89 for five. Neither man managed to get to 20, though.
Smith was bowled between bat and pad by Jadeja, with Mitchell Johnson following for a duck with his very next ball.
Australia were now 94 for seven, but pace bowler Siddle proved an unlikely source of resistance.
Ojha did for Wade for 19 and Sharma for James Pattinson for 11, but Siddle battled his way to a 45-ball 50 before he was stumped by Mahendra Singh Dhoni as he came down the track to Ashwin.
Australia needed their attack to fire to have any chance to rescuing the situation and, although Maxwell bowled Murali Vijay for 11, Pujara and Virat Kohli put India brought India to the verge of victory.
Kohli fell leg-before to Lyon for 41 and the spinner also trapped Sachin Tendulkar for one, but Pujara continued to add runs at the other end and, partnered by Dhoni, guided his side home.
India captain Dhoni lauded his team for showing character. The 4-0 win is the first for India and is also sweet revenge for the loss by a similar margin that they suffered Down Under in 2011-12.
No revenge: Dhoni
Dhoni however avoided using the “revenge" word. “I’d like to keep away words like revenge because the next question could be about the sprit of the game. These two words can be confusing and contradictory. I’ll just say we had a very good series win. I am very happy with the individual performances of the team,” said Dhoni at the post-match conference.
Dhoni said it was an important series win especially after the team went through some tough times in the last two years since winning the 2011 World Cup. India were thrashed badly in England and Australia and last year also lost the home Test series against England.
“Fortunately or unfortunately I lost all four tosses. But the individuals came forward to perform. They delivered what was asked from them. We had a tough time in the past, but we learn a lot more from tough times than from victories,” he said.
“Credit goes to everyone, the last one and a half year has not been great for us in Tests, but they showed a lot of character. You need to battle it out. That was the case in this series,” he added.
Dhoni said it were the big partnerships that proved key for India in the series-win. Dhoni was all praise for the team’s latest opening pair of Murali Vijay and Cheteshwar Pujara. “Both openers, Pujara and Vijay performed really well. Pujara played responsibly today. Also the No 6 position has been taken up well by Ravindra Jadeja. He has been very good with the ball and he is slowly picking up with the bat,” he said. — Agencies
The four Tests...
>> Test 1 at Chennai
Aus: 380 & 241
Ind: 572 & 50/2
India win by 8 wickets
>> Test 2 at Hyderabad
Aus: 237/9 decl & 131
India win by inngs & 135 runs
>> Test 3 at Mohali
Aus: 408 & 223
Ind: 499 & 136/4
India win by 6 wickets
>> Test 4 at New Delhi Aus: 262 & 164
Ind: 272 & 158/4
India win by 6 wickets