India inflicted a batting collapse on Australia on third day to take a decisive lead © IANS
India inflicted a batting collapse on Australia on third day to take a decisive lead © IANS

India zipped to a hard-fought Border-Gavaskar Trophy win 2-1 over Australia on Tuesday, registering an 8-wicket win in the fourth and final Test against Dharamsala. In what turned out to be the final day of arduous journey for the two top-ranked Test sides, India were able to clinch the series win only at the end of the four-Test affair. Needing another 87 runs to win, India kept scoring aggressively. They did lose a couple of wickets, India were able to maintain its domination at home. India thus ended their marathon home season of 13 Tests by winning 10, drawing 2 and losing 1. Even though Virat Kohli missed the fourth Test, India have now won as many as 7 Test series on the trot under his captaincy, with their enviable run starting mid 2015. FULL CRICKET SCORECARD: India vs Australia, 4th Test at Dharamsala

KL Rahul struck yet another half-century — sixth in the series — in India’s chase on final day and led India’s charge. He batted aggressively and also did well to survive a probing spell from Josh Hazlewood early on in the day. Rahul reached 51 not out 76 off balls with 9 boundaries, and with him was India’s 33rd Test captain Ajinkya Rahane who impressed one and all with his captaincy in a crunch game which could have gone either way. For Australia, it was a rather disappointing end to a terrific series in the Indian subcontinent, as a batting collapse on Day Three resulted in their disintegration.

Rahane played a short but aggressive innings on the final morning. He took the attack to the opposition ranks, and lashed out on the short deliveries peppered on him. Rahane pulled Cummins for four before unleashing a furious onslaught, hammering two sixes, over deep mid-wicket and extra-cover, to thwart any challenge which the bowler could have presented.

Rahane remained unbeaten on 38 off which he took only 27 balls, striking 4 boundaries and 2 sixes to quash Australia’s hopes on the fourth day morning after they had got rid of Murali Vijay (8) and Cheteshwar Pujara (0) — his first Test duck against Australia and first since August 2015. Rahane and Rahul added a quickfire 60 in only 59 balls to shut the doors for Australia completely, who had got a glimmer of hope with those 2 wickets.

India had resumed at 19 for no loss needing another 87 to win. Hazlewood created early troubles for Vijay, getting close to removing the batsman on two successive deliveries to build initial pressure. The first ball trapped Vijay on the pads, and there was an inside edge on the next ball.

Australia started off with Steve O’Keefe from the other end, which somewhat proved to be a wrong call. India collected quick runs off the spinner, which put them even ahead in the contest. Steven Smith replaced him with Cummins, and a result ensued with the bowler getting Vijay edging one through to Matthew Wade.

Pujara was the architect of India’s impressive comeback in the Ranchi Test scoring 202. He had followed that up with 57 in the first innings here. Unfortunately, he was run out off the fifth ball when he dabbed one towards Glenn Maxwell on the off-side; Maxwell broke the wickets with Pujara stopping in the middle of the pitch.

The turning point of the Test happened in the second session on Day Three when Umesh Yadav and Bhuvneshwar Kumar came out firing all cylinders, sparking a collapse in the Australian ranks. Australia, who had conceded a slender but vital lead of 3, failed to stem the rot and were dismissed for an embarrassing 137 in their second innings.

Matt Renshaw, who turned 21 on the final day of the series, had dropped Wriddhiman Saha when he was on 9 on the second day evening. By then, Saha and Ravindra Jadeja had added a mere 22 runs as India were far behind Australia’s first innings total of 300. Saha and Jadeja went on to add 96 for the seventh wicket, which took India ahead of Australia in the first innings.

It was a disappointing game for Australia. They lost on a track which behaved as per their liking. Smith struck a century but Australia’s total of 300 in the first innings did not prove to be enough.

Jadeja was adjudged the Man of the Match for his 3 for 24 and a vital 63. He also pipped Smith in winning the Man of the Series award for his all-round efforts throughout the series. Jadeja finished with 25 wickets in 4 Tests at 18.56 and 127 runs at 25.40. Smith scored his 499 runs at 71.28, with 3 centuries.

Brief scores:

Australia 300 (David Warner 56, Steven Smith 111, Matthew Wade 57; Kuldeep Yadav 4 for 68) & 137 (Glenn Maxwell 45; Umesh Yadav 3 for 29, Ravindra Jadeja 3 for 24, Ravichandran Ashwin 3 for 29) lost to India 332 (KL Rahul 60, Cheteshwar Pujara 57, Ravindra Jadeja 63; Nathan Lyon 5 for 92) & 106 for 2 (KL Rahul 51*, Ajinkya Rahane 38*; Pat Cummins 1 for 42) by 8 wickets.

Man of the Match: Ravindra Jadeja

Man of the Series: Ravindra Jadeja