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Rediff.com  » Cricket » Kotla Test: India clinch historic clean sweep against Australia

Kotla Test: India clinch historic clean sweep against Australia

March 24, 2013 18:13 IST

An emphatic six-wicket win in the fourth and final Test in New Delhi on Sunday helped Team India complete a historic 4-0 clean sweep against Australia.

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On a Feroze Shah Kotla track which is not conducive for good batting, India chased down a tricky target of 155, largely due to Cheteshwar Pujara's dazzling strokeplay as the home team recorded their biggest ever series win in the 81-year history inside three days. 

Pujara, who was battling pain as he was playing with a swollen hand, enthralled one and all with his perfect technique on a rank turner, scoring a brilliant unbeaten 82 off 92 balls with 11 boundaries. 

For Australia, it was the first time in 43 years to suffer a 0-4 series whitewash after Bill Lawry's side did the same in South Africa in 1969-70. 

MS DhoniThere were a few jitters when India lost Virat Kohli (41), Sachin Tendulkar (1)and Ajinkya Rahane (1) in quick succession but Pujara kept his cool in company of skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni (8 not out) to successfully complete the run chase.

Pujara hit three boundaries off Glenn Maxwell to level the scores and then Dhoni hit the winning boundary to send the 25,000-odd crowd at the stadium into a frenzy. 

The on-field celebrations were muted but the dressing room was delirious with joy as the players engaged in bear hugs.

The target of 155 might have looked quite a task but both Pujara and Kohli made batting look easy on a difficult track, adding 104 runs for the second wicket to pave the way for victory. 

Starting the run chase, Murali Vijay (11) was bowled trying to play an unnecessary reverse sweep but Pujara played some unorthodox shots to set the tone.

Pujara showed positive intent as he and Kohli scored at a brisk pace. The Saurashtra lad showed his stroke-making prowess as India reached their 50 in the ninth over. 

Pujara played the sweep shot to good effect but his two best shots were played of Mitchell Johnson. First, he deliberately lobbed a Johnson bouncer over wicketkeeper Matthew Wade's head and then hit a fierce square-cut on the rise. The third boundary of the over was hit through the cover. 

As if he was getting into the IPL mode, Pujara scored his second 50 of the match from just 54 balls and India's 100 was reached in 19 overs at a rate of more than five runs per over. While Pujara stepped up the ante, Kohli was happy playing the second fiddle. 

Inexplicably, Australian captain Shane Watson did not use leggie Steven Smith, who could have effectively used the rough, nor did he call James Pattinson or Peter Siddle to bowl to exploit some of the spots created at the Delhi Gate End. 

Earlier, on the pitch prepared by Venkat Sundaram which resembled a minefield, Ravindra Jadeja (5-58) created terror in the minds of the Australian batsmen as he extracted vicious turn and bounce as they were all-out for 164 in their second innings. 

Siddle produced another gutsy performance with the willow as he took the Indian attack by the scruff of its neck, scoring a 45-ball 50 with seven boundaries.

In the morning, it took only eight minutes and 13 deliveries to polish off the Indian tail as Nathan Lyon got his career-best figures of 7 for 94 as the home side managed a slender lead of 10 runs.

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