One of the most convincing wins
Spinners Harbhajan Singh and Pragyan Ojha wreaked havoc on a turning track as India recorded one of their most convincing Test wins by thrashing New Zealand by an innings and 198 runs in third and final Test to clinch the three-match series 1-0 in Nagpur on Tuesday.
Both Harbhajan (3/56) and Ojha (2/67) got appreciable turn and bounce as the Black Caps batsmen literally struggled to stay put on a track that was suddenly looking difficult to bat on. There was sharp turn on offer and some of the balls were also keeping low.
If Harbhajan and Ojha decimated the top-order, Ishant Sharma (3/15) and Suresh Raina (2/1) blasted out the lower order as New Zealand were all out for 175 in only 51.2 overs.
Image: Indian players celebrate after winning the Test match against New Zealand in Nagpur
Ojha snaps McCullum and Guptil
Needing 349 runs to clear the first innings deficit, the visitors needed to show a lot of application but not having encountered appreciable turn and bounce in the previous matches meant that there wasn't a lot of homework done.
Brendon McCullum (25), the double centurion of the last Test, was the first to go in the morning as he missed a ball trying to play on the backfoot and was caught plumb in front of the stumps by Ojha.
Ojha then removed Martin Guptill, who too was adjudged leg-before-wicket off the next ball.
Image: Pragyan Ojha celebrates after dismissing Brendon McCullum
Taylor disappoints once again
At 38 for three, New Zealand were looking down the barrel. Ross Taylor (29) tried to hit the spinners more out of desperation, as the noose got tighter. Wicketkeeper Gareth Hopkins was the next man out.
Scratching around for 35 balls having scored only eight, Hopkins tried to drive Harbhajan but the ball turned to find his bat and pad. Gautam Gambhir standing at forward short-leg took a brilliant one-handed reflex catch diving to his right.
However, Harbhajan got his third victim when Ross Taylor offered a simple bat-pad catch to substitute Cheteshwar Pujara. The television replays however couldn't confirm whether the ball hit the bat or not.
With half the team back in the pavilion for less than 100, the match as a contest was as good as over in the first hour itself.
Image: Ross Taylor plays a sweep shot
India win by an innings and 198 runs
Suresh Raina, who was introduced into the attack, responded with the wicket of Jesse Ryder in the very first over. Ryder's 53-ball vigil ended when he got out trying to hoick Raina only to be holed out by Ishant at mid-off.
Kane Williamson (8) was castled by an Ishant Sharma delivery that kept low and moved in after pitching.
Raina again got into the act, when he trapped skipper Daniel Vettori (13) plumb in front to reduce New Zealand to 124 for eight.
Ishant completed the formalities, as he cleaned up the tail by picking up Tim Southee (31), who used the long handle to good effect for a while and then breached through Chris Martin's defence to hand the hosts a convincing win.
Image: Ishant Sharma celebrates after dismissing Chirs Martin