India’s big series win ”“ thanks to Ashwin

Indian team NZ  By Kersi Meher-Homji

Another sensational spinning spell by Ravichandran Ashwin and another facile win for India! With Ashwin capturing 13 wickets (plus effecting two run outs) India won the third Test against New Zealand in Indore by a huge margin of 321 runs.

Thus India won the series 3-0 following her 197 runs victory at Kanpur and 178 runs win at Kolkata. A clean sweep, a whitewash!

After taking 6 for 81 and 7 for 59 in the final Test in Indore and 27 wickets at an average of 17.77 in the three-Test series, Ashwin was both the Man of the Match and the Man of the Series. It was Ashwin’s seventh Match of the Series in 14 Test series, an achievement to be proud about.

After this huge win, India is comfortably the number one Test nation with 115 points followed by Pakistan (111) and Australia and England joint third with 108 points each.

Ashwin was not the only hero. His lethal partner in spin, the left-handed Ravindra Jadeja, also made 14 dismissals. But whereas the Kiwi bats toppled, the Indian batsmen made hay when the sun shone on same pitches. So no one can complain about the home team’s pitch preparation.

Three Indians topped 300 runs in the series; Cheteshwar Pujara 373 runs at 74.60, Ajinkya Rahane 347 at 69.40 and skipper Virat Kohli 309 at 51.50. On the other hand only one New Zealander could reach 200 runs in the series, Luke Ronchi 200 at 33.33. An Indian, wicket-keeper Wriddhiman Saha, had the highest batting average, 112.00.

Now to the final Test in Indore where the century drought was broken with vengeance: Kohli won the toss for the third time in this series and decided to bat. So far his batting form was disappointing but he came back with a bang scoring 211 runs. With Rahane (188 not out) he added 365 runs for the fourth wicket.

Call it a run a day for one calendar year!

India declared at 5 for 557. New Zealand opening batsmen Martin Guptill (72 run out) and Tom Latham (53) started fluently and put on 118 runs for the first wicket. But the rest collapsed to the spin kings Ashwin and Jadeja and were bowled out for 299, a deficit of 258 runs.

Instead of enforcing the follow-on, Kohli decided to bat again and declared at 3 for 216 (Gautam Gambhir 50 and Pujara 101 not out) setting the visitors an astronomical 475 runs to win.

They were spun out for 153 (Ashwin 7 for 59) and India won the match by 321 runs and the series 3-0.

This was the first ever Test staged in Indore and the most heartening aspect of the match was that over 20,000 spectators turned up for each day. So Test matches are not dying in India as many ”“ including me ”“ have been predicting.


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