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Rediff.com  » Cricket » India seal Australia series after third straight win

India seal Australia series after third straight win

Last updated on: March 18, 2013 17:45 IST

India clinched the Test series against a spirited Australia by their biggest-ever margin after a nerve-wracking six-wicket victory in the third Test, at the Punjab Cricket Association stadium, in Mohali on Monday.

The home side now has a 3-0 lead in the four-match series.

- Scorecard

Never in their 81-year Test history, had India won more than two matches against Australia in a single series.

After bowling out Australia for 223 in their second innings, India chased down the target of 133 with 15 balls remaining before close of play.

- Photos from the fifth day's play

The hosts encountered some tense moments in their run chase before skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni smashed three fours in a row off Mitchell Starc seal the match.

Earlier, it was a defiant 65-minute last-wicket stand between Starc and Xavier Doherty, during which Australia consumed 18.1 overs for 44 runs to ensure the Indians, at least, would not run away with the game before the start of the 15 mandatory overs.

When the final hour started, India required 45 runs from a minimum of 15 overs. They completed the chase losing the wickets of Murali Vijay (26), Cheteshwar Pujara (28), Virat Kohli (34) and Sachin Tendulkar (21).

Dhoni (18) and Ravindra Jadeja (8) were at the crease when the winning runs were scored.

In the process, India reclaimed the Border-Gavaskar trophy, which they relinquished after a 0-4 drubbing in Australia last year.

The victory was achieved on the back of some fine batting by debutant Shikhar Dhawan and Murali Vijay, both scoring big centuries in India's first innings.

Dhawan smashed 187, his 100 coming off a mere 85 balls, making him the quickest-ever debutant to the three-figure mark.

India will now push for a clean sweep when the fourth and final Test starts in New Delhi on Friday.

Not to be left behind were the host spinners, who accounted for 14 of the 20 Australians wickets to fall in the match.

Ajay JadejaAnd leading the show with the ball was all-rounder Jadeja, who bagged six wickets, including that of Australia skipper Michael Clarke, in both the innings.

With Australia resuming on 75 for 3, the Indian spinners again worked their magic and bundled out the visitors for 223 in their second innings, setting India an achievable target to win in a minimum of 27 overs (plus 15 mandatory overs).

During his knock, Pujara, who opened the innings in place of Dhawan, who could not take to the field on the final day due to an injury on his left knuckle, completed 1000 runs in the country to become the 34th Indian to achieve the landmark.

Excluding the one-off Test victory way back in 1996, this is the fifth time India have won the Border-Gavaskar trophy.

After the damage was inflicted on Australia by the spinners, India started the chase on a confident note, with both Vijay and Pujara playing some delightful shots before getting out to Doherty and Lyon. Kohli made 34 before being dismissed by Peter Siddle.

Earlier, Doherty and Starc's spirited effort could only delay the inevitable.

Left-arm spinner Jadeja was once again the most effective bowler for the hosts, returning with impressive figures of three for 35 – his all three wickets, including that of Australian skipper Michael Clarke, coming on the final day.

There were two wickets apiece for fellow left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha and off-break bowler Ravichandran Ashwin. Ashwin leads the wickets tally in the series with 22 scalps, followed by Jadeja who has 17 to his name, reflecting the Indian spinners' dominance.

Young pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar had taken three wickets on Sunday evening to rock Australia’s top-order. India grabbed the remaining seven Australian wickets in the two sessions on Monday while giving away 148 runs.

Ashwin and Jadeja finished the innings after the last-wicket pair of Mitchell Starc (35) and Xavier Doherty added 44 runs in 65 minutes, and, more importantly, consuming 18 overs.

Nathan Lyon, Michael Clarke, overnight batsman Phillip Hughes (69), Mosies Henriques, Peter Siddle, Brad Haddin and Starc were the batsmen dismissed on Monday, which left India within sniffing distance of winning their third straight Test against Australia.

India, since playing their first official match 81 years ago in 1932, have never won more than two matches against Australia in the longer format of the game.

Jadeja again turned out to be the star performer, picking the wickets of Henriques and Clarke before lunch – this was the fifth time in six outings that the Saurashtra player had taken the Australian skipper's wicket.

He then packed off the innings by claiming Starc's wicket.

Earlier, after night-watchman Lyon was caught behind off Ojha for the day's first wicket in the innings' 28th over, in walked Clarke, who demoted himself in the batting order due to a recurring sore back.

Clarke survived 49 balls for his 18 while hitting three boundaries, before Jadeja came back to get his bunny, caught at forward short-leg by Pujara who held on the catch after the Aussie got an inside edge onto his pads.

There was some confusion over his dismissal, but the umpire checked with the third umpire to clear his doubts.

In a deep hole at 119 for five, and with their captain gone, a bad decision by Aleem Dar only added to Australia's woes.

Ravichandran Ashwin hit Hughes on the pads but the ball pitched outside leg and didn't straighten enough to hit the stumps.

Woefully out of form prior to this innings, Hughes dug in for 165 minutes before becoming a victim of a bad decision. He struck 11 fours and a six during his 147-ball 69.

Jadeja then pulled off a blinder of a catch to dismiss Henriques. After luring the batsman to go for it, he stretched full-length to his left to pull off a diving catch.

After being lofted over long-off for a six by Peter Siddle, Ojha had his man when he knocked over his off-stump to leave Australia stuttering at 143 for eight before lunch.

Scorecard

Australia (1st innings): 408

India (1st innings): 499

Australia (2nd Innings):

David Warner c Dhoni b Kumar 2

Ed Cowan lbw b Kumar 8

Phil Hughes lbw b Ashwin 69

Steve Smith b Kumar 5

Nathan Lyon c Dhoni b Ojha 18

Michael Clarke c Pujara b Jadeja 18

Brad Haddin lbw b Ashwin 30

Moises Henriques c & b Jadeja 2

Peter Siddle b Ojha 13

Mitchell Starc c Ashwin b Jadeja 35

Xavier Doherty not out 18

Extras: (LB-3, W-1, NB-1) 5

Total: (all out; 89.2 overs) 223

Fall of wickets: 1-2, 2-35, 3-55, 4-89, 5-119, 6-123, 7-126, 8-143, 9-179.

Bowling: Bhuvneshwar Kumar 10-1-31-3, Ishant Sharma 9-1-34-0, R Ashwin 31-9-72-2, Ravindra Jadeja 16.2-6-35-3, Pragyan Ojha 21-6-46-2, Sachin Tendulkar 2-0-2-0.

India (2nd innings):

M Vijay st Haddin b Doherty 26

C Pujara lbw b Lyon 28

V Kohli c Hughes b Siddle 34

S Tendulkar run out 21

MS Dhoni not out 18

R Jadeja not out 8

Extras: (W-1) 1

Total: (For 4 wickets in 33.3 overs) 136

Fall of wickets: 1-42, 2-70, 3-103, 4-116.

Bowling: M Starc 10.3-1-51-0, P Siddle 11-2-34-1, N Lyon 5-0-27-1, X Doherty 7-2-24-1.

Photograph: BCCI

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