India on Sunday thrashed Australia by six wickets to win the fourth and final cricket Test at the Ferozeshah Kotla here, in a triumph that signalled the host’s first-ever victory in a Test series by a 4-0 margin. With the series win, India has regained the coveted Border-Gavaskar trophy.
Set to get 155 runs on a day when 16 wickets fell for 328 runs on the notorious Kotla pitch, Cheteshwar Pujara scored more than half the required runs (82 not out), the most by a batsman in the Test. Fittingly, he left it to his skipper M S Dhoni to make the winning hit.
Gen-next players Pujara and Ravindra Jadeja (5-58) ensured that the hosts exacted some kind of ‘revenge’ for the 4-0 loss they suffered against the same opposition in 2011-12, although Dhoni had denied such a billing.
Dhoni had set the tone for the series with a magnificent 224 in the first Test in Chennai. Moving on, the young batting line-up of Murali Vijay (430 runs), Shikhar Dhawan (187 runs on debut) and Pujara (419 runs) stuck into the opposition with some huge partnerships that proved crucial for the home team’s success. Ravichandran Ashwin (29 wickets) and Jadeja (24 wickets) dismantled the Aussies. That India won all the Tests inside four days says something about its dominance in favourable conditions.
The margin of victory meant that India made Australia suffer their first 4-0 series defeat after a similar drubbing at the hands of the South Africans in 1969-70. Interestingly, India’s next Test outing is against the Proteas on their home turf in December.
If this series win is anything to go by, Dhoni’s boys may just have found the fighting spirit which could help them stand up to the fearsome pace of Dale Steyn and others in a bid to boost their overseas record, which has been appalling in recent times.