Nagpur, Nov 10: India secured a historic Test series victory against Australia on Monday as they crushed the tourists by 172 runs in the fourth and final Test match played at Nagpur. The win meant the Indians won the series 2-0 to reclaim the coveted Border-Gavaskar Trophy after 8 long years, having beaten the visitors earlier in the second Test at Mohali. Jason Krejza was declared Man of the Match for his 12 wickets on debut.
India now lead Australia 4-3 in series played between the two countries over the last decade. The final wicket to fall on Day 5 was of Mitchell Johnson who was out LBW to the ‘Turbunator’ Harbhajan Singh. The 2-0 win, which is the first of its kind for India in 20 years also ensures the second place for the Indians in the ICC Test team rankings.
Earlier, With Brett Lee and Jason Krejza departing in quick succession, and with more that 180 runs left to reach the target India were firmly in the driver’s seat.
Skipper MS Dhoni made his presence felt as he stumped out Australia’s Krej-zy factor, and the Lee-thal weapon was diffused by Harbhajan Singh as he got the Aussie caught by Murali Vijay.
It seemed that Harbhajan Singh and Amit Mishra were taking turns to scalp Australia’s wickets one by one. Soon after Mishra sent Brad Haddin back to the pavilion, Bhajji spun his spin web yet again to tangle Shane Watson, leaving Australia with 200 runs to chase. Watson’s departure invited Jason Krejza to the crease.
Prior to this, the ‘Mishra Magic’ continued for India as the supposed-Anil-Kumble-replacement dismissed Brad Haddin for merely 4 runs. Haddin came down the track attempting to lift the ball in the air but only managed to offer an easy catch to Sachin Tendulkar, for whom it was his 100th Test catch.
Earlier, the spin duo of Harbhajan Singh and Mishra did their bit of destruction to the Australian batting line-up in the post-lunch session as both claimed a wicket each to leave Australia struggling at 154 runs for 5 wickets. Bhajji claimed the much awaited wicket of Matthew Hayden after he was declared LBW out before contributing a decent score of 77 runs to the team’s total.
Mishra claimed yet another wicket for India just when the Aussies seem steady enough. He got Mike Hussey caught by Rahul Dravid at 1st slip.
After a not-so-great first session, Australian opener Matthew Hayden continued his steady game to claim his 8th Test half-century against India in style. Hitting outside the leg stump to a Virender Sehwag delivery, Hayden sent the cherry to deep mid wicket for a boundary.
Losing three early wickets in quick succession in the pre-lunch, Australia crossed the 100 runs mark. Skipper MS Dhoni decided to bring about variation in India’s bowling attack, thus introducing Harbhajan Singh into the scenario. The Aussies stood at 111 runs for three when the lunch break was declared.
Earlier, after being denied Michael Clarke’s wicket, Ishant Sharma struck back minutes later to send the Aussie back to the pavillion. Bowling a full length fast delivery, Ishant got Clarke caught by wicket-keeper MS Dhoni as Indians celebrated their third wicket.
India were denied an early third wicket due to an umpiring lapse by Billy Bowden. The New Zealand umpire refused to give Michael Clarke LBW out as Ishant Sharma stood disbelieved in the middle of the pitch. Billy's decision raised many eyebrows as Indian debutant Murali Vijay was earlier given out on a similar kind of delivery on Day 4.
Meanwhile, Australia’s miseries continued on the last day of the Nagpur Test as skipper Ricky Ponting was caught in the middle of a confusion that resulted in a run-out. Amit Mishra was quick to react and a direct hit at the bowler’s end meant Ponting living a very short life on the crease. Hitting two boundaries, the Aussie contributed just 8 runs to the team’s total.
Ishant Sharma provided an early breakthrough to the Indian team after he sent Simon Katich back to the pavillion for 16 runs. Katich sent the ball high up outside the off-stump, into the hands of skipper MS Dhoni, who was eagerly waiting below with his gloves on to grab the cherry.
Both Katich and Matthew Hayden built a partnership of 29 runs. Openers Matthew Hayden and Simon Katich started their day’s play on a good note.
Meanwhile, Sourav Ganguly was seen for the last time today on the cricket field wearing the Indian cap.