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India crush Australia
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November 10, 2008 12:12 IST
Last Updated: November 10, 2008 15:13 IST

- Scorecard

India crushed Australia [Images] by 172 runs to win the fourth and final Test and regain the Border-Gavaskar trophy, in Nagpur on Monday.

Harbhajan Singh [Images] claimed four wickets for 64 runs, while Amit Mishra took three for 27, as Australia, chasing a record 382 for victory, were dismissed for 209 in 50.2 overs, handing India a 2-0 series triumph.

It was an emotional moment for Indian cricket as its most successful captain Sourav Ganguly [Images] bid farewell to the international game. The left-hander, who scored 324 in the series, at an average of 54, was even handed charge of the team for a while, after Australia had lost nine wickets.

Gautam Gambhir [Images], who missed the match because of a ban, finished as the top scorer from either side with 463 runs in six innings at 77.16. Fast bowler Ishant Sharma, later named man of the series, and Harbhajan Singh emerged the top wicket-takers with a haul of 15 wickets each. Jason krejza was adjudged man of the match.

India had won the second Test in Mohali by 320 runs, while the first Test and the third were drawn.

Morning session: (98 runs, 21.3 overs, 3 wickets)

Defending a target of 382, India's plan was clear: set a defensive field and bowl wide outside the off-stump. With a 1-0 lead one would not blame them for doing so. It forced the Australian batsmen to come up with something out of the ordinary, something they have not been accustomed to over the years.

Simon Katich came out firing and swung at a delivery outside the off-stump to the leg side boundary in the fourth over of the innings. However, that was followed by a few moments of sheer madness as the two Aussie openers fished at everything wide and were lucky not to edge a few of those.

Katich's agony ended on 16 when he tried another wild swipe across the line off Ishant but holed it on the off-side and wicketkeeper Mahendra Singh Dhoni [Images] neatly pouched it.

Ricky Ponting [Images] survived a close chance when his edge off Zaheer fell short of Rahul Dravid [Images] at first slip. But five balls later the Aussie captain was run out for 8 at the non-striker's end by a direct hit from Amit Mishra at mid-off.

Michael Clarke [Images] survived a confident leg before wicket appeal off the third ball he faced, from Ishant. Closer looks at replays indicated that he was trapped in front and lucky to be given not out.

Clarke, who came in with a runner, then survived two more chances when his edges flew just wide off slips in the boundary in the 11th over of the innings, bowled by Zaheer.

Only 10.3 overs were bowled in the first hour of play, with Australia scoring 52 runs and losing two wickets. It was clear India were in no rush to bowl their overs just like Australia did the day before.

Harbhajan Singh came into the attack in the 13th over and was smashed for a boundary by Hayden. The very next ball Hayden, on 30, tried another cut short but the straight forward edge was dropped by Dhoni.

Australia were surely having a dash at the target with Hayden even attempting a reverse sweep off Harbhajan that fetched him a boundary. But their hopes suffered a setback when Ishant claimed the big wicket of Clarke for 22, caught behind by Dhoni, as Australia were reduced to 82 for three.

Hayden, on 35, attempted another reverse sweep off Harbhajan but this time hit it straight to Dravid, at first slip, who failed to hold on to a sharp chance.

At lunch on the final day, Australia were 111 for 3 in 23 overs. Hayden (46 not out) and Hussey (14 not out) are looking to attack at every opportunity, but the target seems a huge mountain to climb.

India's over-rate, as expected, was pathetic at around 10 overs per hour, but, as Dhoni said on Sunday, their first aim is winning the series, and for that even a draw would do.

By the look of things, they are just playing for that.

Post-lunch session: (98 runs, 7 wickets, 27.2 overs)

Hayden completed his half-century in the first over after lunch when he thumped Sehwag through mid-wicket for a boundary. The left-hander then launched into Harbhajan in the 27th over with two powerfully swept boundaries and followed it up with a big six off Sehwag in the following over.

35 runs had come off the first five overs after lunch, as Australia tried to step up a gear. Immediately Dhoni reacted and his bowlers bowled negative lines and fielders were all back on the boundary.

Mishra was introduced into the attack and the young leg-spinner struck in his very first over. He got one to bounce from the rough, which Hussey could only fend to Dravid at first slip for 19.

In the following over, Harbhajan claimed the big wicket of Hayden for 77. The left-hander walked across his stumps to play on the leg-side but missed the shot and was trapped plumb in front. He hit eight boundaries and a six in his 93-ball knock and his dismissal took India closer to victory.

Brad Haddin also perished cheaply, caught at mid-on by Tendulkar off Mishra for 4. Incidentally, that catch saw Tendulkar achieve another landmark as he completed 100 catches in Test cricket.

Whatever hopes Australia had of at least saving the match were all dashed by their collapse after lunch which saw them lose three wickets for 11 runs in the space of four overs.

Shane Watson prodded around for a while before he was caught behind off Harbhajan for 9.

Jason Krejza could not do much damage with the bat as he was stumped off Mishra for 4, trying a huge shot down the ground.

Interestingly, in a rare goodwill gesture, Dhoni gave Ganguly the perfect farewell by allowing him to lead the team at the fall of the ninth Australian wicket. It brought back memories of the Ganguly of yore as he moved around his fielders and chatted with the bowlers while Dhoni stood and watched for a few overs.

Mitchell Johnson was the final dismissal, trapped leg before wicket by Harbhajan for 11. Australia were out for 209, giving India a huge 172-run victory.

It ensured India their first series win against Australia since 2001.

Defensive tactics or not, Australia were comprehensively outplayed in this Test and had no answers to Dhoni's quick thinking.

Harbhajan was the star performer for India with the ball as he ended with four for 64 in 18.2 overs, while Mishra claimed three for 27.

Immediately after the victory, Ganguly was chaired to the pavilion by his team mates. Even Anil Kumble [Images] and Gautam Gambhir joined in the celebrations.

Complete coverage: Australia in India 2008

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