India completed a historic 4-0 clean sweep against Australia, winning the Delhi Test by an impressive six-wicket margin.
On a Feroze Shah Kotla track that the Australians struggled to cope with, India led by a brilliant batting effort from Pujara made chasing the 155-run target look easy. The right-hander's 82, scored even as he battled pain due to a swollen hand, helped the home team record their biggest ever series win in their
81 years as a Test nation.
At lunch on day three of the fourth Test between India and Australia, the visitors had worked their way to 89-5 on a difficult track. They lead by 79 runs in a match which promises to go down to the wire.
India’s innings lasted just eight minutes on the third morning of the fourth Test. Nathan Lyon quickly wrapped up the tail to finish the innings with a career best 7-94 and restrict the lead to just 10 runs.
Then, the Aussies tried a trick and sent Glenn Maxwell up the order to open the innings. He had recently opened the innings for Australia in an ODI and smashed a 50 off 34 balls. The idea was right – they wanted to force the pace and show some aggression.
But the trick didn’t work. Maxwell just doesn’t know how to play spin in Indian conditions – he didn’t offer the full face of the bat to Jadeja and was bowled. Then, Warner tried to whip the ball off his pads, missed and was out LBW. Watson, for the second time in the series, was out trying to pull a spinner.
The point is all of them have showed that they just haven’t learnt anything from Michael Clarke or Steve Smith or Cheteshwar Pujara. Play spinners with a straight bat… how difficult can it really be?
Ed Cowan was beaten by a quicker one from Jadeja and trapped LBW and Phil Hughes was perhaps unlucky to be given out LBW – Shane Warne thought he was not out, Sunil Gavaskar thought it would have hit the off-stump. The ball pitched in line with the leg-stump and spun viciously to hit Hughes’ pads.
But then Steve Smith (17 not out), who has far and away looked like Australia’s best batsman against spin, played well once again. And he found some support in Matthew Wade (16 not out).
Both batsmen were prepared to use their feet to smother the spin and on this wicket, there really is no other way to play. If you allow the bowlers to settle into a rhythm on this wicket, it’s game over.
India need just 83 runs to win the fourth and final Test against Australia after a superb batting performance by Cheteshwar Pujara.
The post-lunch session started in the best possible manner for India. They got Steve Smith early and then Mitchell Johnson was bowled off the very next ball. Australia were reduced to 94-7 and in big trouble.
But then in walked Peter Siddle and suddenly the devil in the pitch seemed to disappear. He had top-scored in the first innings with 51 and had come to terms with the pitch. He showed that he learnt his lessons well.
The biggest difference between Siddle and the other Australian batsmen though was the manner in which he was positive. It's one thing to be aggressive and quite another to do it sensibly. Even before he came in to bat, Siddle seemed to have decided that if he tried to just survive in the middle, he wouldn't help his team's cause. So he went for his shot and it paid off spectacularly.
His 50 off just 45 balls was clearly the innings that brought Australia back into the game in a big way. Pattinson batted well too but by the time Australia were done, India had a total of 155 to chase down to win the series with an unprecedented 4-0 scoreline.
Then, the Indian batsmen came out and whacked their way to 72 in quick time. And that's super quick -- in just 12 overs at a run-rate of 6.00 with the match on the line. The innings was propelled by Pujara who slammed 40 off 39 balls, clearly realising that Siddle's approach worked best. They do say that sometimes copying is the best form of flattery.
Murali Vijay threw his wicket away by trying a reverse sweep when there was absolutely no need to. (Ind 19-1)
But Virat Kohli was surprisingly steady after he came out to bat. He has made 16 off 21 balls. During the post-lunch session: 27.3 overs were bowled, 147 runs scored and 6 wickets were taken.
Australia doesn't want Pujara in the fourth innings of a Test match. He did it on his debut and the Saurashtra batsman played a brilliant knock of 82 in just 92 balls including 11 fours to once again to help India win the match by 6 wickets and complete a 4-0 series whitewash.
Pujara played with such ease that it didn't look like he was batting on a tough wicket. At first, it seemed like he was just adopting an aggressive attitude but soon it was evident that he had a plan as well.
He was given good support by Virat Kohli and the two put on a 104-run partnership to take India to the doorstep of victory. The quick wickets of Tendulkar and Rahane put India under some pressure but Pujara was once again there to finish things off.