India v Australia, 4th Test, Delhi, 3rd day March 24, 2013

Jadeja, Pujara take India to historic 4-0


India 272 (Vijay 57, Pujara 52, Jadeja 43, Lyon 7-94) and 158 for 4 (Pujara 82*, Kohli 41) beat Australia 262 (Siddle 51, Smith 46, Ashwin 5-57) and 164 (Siddle 50, Cowan 24, Jadeja 5-58) by 6 wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

The final day of the series, in Delhi, resembled one of those when a crazy colourful storm from Rajasthan visits the capital. While the storm is there, it is all encompassing, and promises apocalypse. Soon, though, it blows over, and you can't tell it had been there. For about the first 200 minutes of the day, it was mayhem: spiteful spin, altercations, posturing, surprises, send-offs and some statesmanship. Twelve wickets fell for 170 runs, Nathan Lyon and Ravindra Jadeja registered their personal bests, Peter Siddle became the first No. 9 to score two fifties in a Test, but India got through the 155-run chase with shockingly consummate ease to win four matches in a series for the first time in their Test history.

Cheteshwar Pujara, opening the innings in the absence of Shikhar Dhawan and fighting a finger injury of his own, led the chase with his second fifty - 82 off 92 - which on this pitch must rank alongside one of his double-centuries. It might have been made to look simple, but it wasn't always thus.

Lyon, who had removed Ishant Sharma and Pragyan Ojha with the last two deliveries of India's first innings, nearly had his hat-trick. M Vijay charged at him first ball of the innings, but the ball turned way down the leg side, and Matthew Wade missed the half chance.

In the next over, Pujara survived a close lbw shout, with a soft outside edge helping him. In the next over, Vijay was bowled while reverse-sweeping. That was the closest Australia came to having a chance.

Pujara and Kohli batted as if the events of the past two-and-a-half days didn't matter at all, as if the bunsen had lost all its fire. Which it hadn't; it was just clear-minded decisive batting on a spitter, making full use of every loose ball on offer. There were drives, there were ramps, there were sweeps. From Australia there were loose balls, overthrows and misfields.

A minor blip interrupted India's progress as three wickets fell for five runs to reduce India to 128 for 4, a period during which Sachin Tendulkar failed in possibly his last Test innings at home. Pujara, though, refused to acknowledge all this, bringing India level with three successive fours, and let MS Dhoni, whose grey beard bears the traces of two previous whitewashes of India, finish the rest.

Enough of this drive on a clear sunny day. Back to the storm. Back to when there were skirmishes even before teams had crossed the rope. Over who should set foot on the field of play first. That resolved, Australia took the last two wickets in no time, restricting India's lead to 10.

Australia tried to surprise India by opening with Glenn Maxwell alongside David Warner. In the absence of batsmen technically equipped to fight it out on this pitch, such aggression against new ball was perhaps the best way to go. Surreal scenes followed: Jadeja bowling to Maxwell in the fifth over of a Test innings. It didn't last. In his first over, Jadeja got one to turn, stay low, hit the outside edge of Maxwell's bat and cannon into the off stump.

With an assured and aggressive innings, Ed Cowan showed it was probably not the best move after all to demote him. He capitalised on every loose delivery, and hit five fours in his 24, one of them a superb drive through midwicket after stepping down to Jadeja. All hell broke loose at the other end, though.

Jadeja trapped Warner with a dart, and the Indian fielders let rip with a choreographed and a long send-off. Warner has been the sledger-in-chief from Australia, and has been in the ear of the Indian batsmen since the start of the second innings of the match. There is also a previous to this from the time India toured Australia, so that wicket would have brought Virat Kohli, in particular, and Jadeja natural and massive relief, and they just let it show.

The umpires, though, spoke to Tendulkar, who in turn, tapped Jadeja's shoulder a bit. With seemingly an appeal every ball, an explosion off the pitch every second, and a sledge every third, the umpires were under intense pressure. Amid some incredible calls, Aleem Dar erred with the Phillip Hughes lbw, with R Ashwin's offbreak turning past off.

It was all Dhoni after that. First through Jadeja, a player he has backed when few did. Jadeja removed Cowan before lunch, and Steven Smith and Mitchell Johnson just after. The latter strikes were crucial as Smith and Wade had added 41 for the sixth wicket. His first ball after the break was a slider that Smith left alone to hit his off stump. The next turned through the gate and knocked Johnson's middle stump over. Australia 94 for 7.

Siddle not only survived the hat-trick ball, he - much like Pujara - seemed to have brought his own pitch to bat on. He went on a sensational counterattack, charging down to the spinners and clearing mid-off, and cover when mid-off was sent back, regularly. He looked as comfortable as any specialist batsman did on this track.

Around him, though, Dhoni put on an exhibition too. Wade advanced to Ojha, was beaten by the dip, edged it onto the top part of his pad, and as the ball died to his right, Dhoni changed direction and not only completed a one-handed take, he proceeded to break the stumps just in case the umpire had missed the edge.

Siddle was not too bedazzled. His assault continued. Back to Dhoni then. He gambled. He brought Ishant on. The first nine balls Ishant bowled went for 12 runs. With James Pattinson, Siddle had now added 35 for the ninth wicket to take the score to 157. Then Ishant went round the stumps, and got one to reverse through Pattinson's gate. Dhoni had worked again. Fittingly, as with the bat, he ended the innings with a stumping off a ball that could have been called a wide had it been bowled with restrictive intent.

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Pavan on March 26, 2013, 21:46 GMT

    Ind vs Australia since 1996...

    Total Matches Played in India Played in Aus Draw in India Draw in Australia India Won Australia Won India Won At Home Australia Won At Home India Won in Aus Aus Won In India India vs Aus 36 20 16 3 3 16 14 14 10 2 4

  • Graham on March 26, 2013, 10:12 GMT

    Ffl - Whilst watching the series in NZ seems England have one batsman, and a keeper. Without Swann there is no spinner and there is no pace attack. Should be a good series.

  • j on March 26, 2013, 9:13 GMT

    Just looking down that list of Australia players one can't help but think how inferior they are to the team they face this year in a historic B2B series - England. Australia - without a spinner, a top 6, a cmpetent captain, and of course a keeper. England, (no need to list them as it's all too obvious) have the exact opposite of the above. What a gulf exists between the two teams. Will be an interesting series to watch..

  • Graham on March 26, 2013, 0:07 GMT

    Australia were flogged in foreign conditions but it has to be said by a very good side. India when they reached number 1 had batsman capable of playing in all conditions and I do belive the new crop given expereience is going to be good on all surface too. A lot of Australian fans saying wait for the next trip down under shouldnt be so overconfident as I reckon by that time Indian batsman would have experienced other conditions and be very competetive. They had a shocking patch against England and Australia where they had several aging batsman and as soon as they got behind in the series didnt look like they wanted to fight. I doubt that this will be happen again. Look at there batsman Dhawan very talented, Vijay I htink will be good in all conditions, Pujara will be a star on all surfaces. Kohli has alreadysucceeded in Australian conditions. THey need to find a couple of quicks, a replacement for Tendulkar when he retires and a number 6 bat. I believe India will rise in all conditions

  • t on March 25, 2013, 23:59 GMT

    pitch..drs..pitch..drs..ho hum.. Western media & fans have nothing else to drone on about? both external factors & not on-field performances. why not talk about the toss then. maybe how india "fixed" the toss too. but wait they lost those didnt they? maybe that was a conspiracy by the bcci?? & about the continued one eyed bias about pitches : according to arm chair "experts" these were not "good" pitches even though all 4 tests had wickets taken by both spinners & seamers. going by their very strict definition Perth (where Aus doesnt include even a part time spinner in their XI & goes in with 4 seamers regularly) should then be banned as a int'l test centre by ICC. agree?

  • Dummy4 on March 25, 2013, 19:00 GMT

    Only thing that beat OZs is their mindset and surrender to the conditions and spin , there is no fuss in the pitch just some lack of world famous OZ character which was missing......

  • Geoff on March 25, 2013, 17:39 GMT

    Poor captaincy by Watson in my view (and I was there).

    He should have opened the bowling with Siddle in India's second innings. Siddle was fired up, had just scored a confidence building fifity and when dismissed ran off the ground as if he was ready for action. And what does Watson do? Opens with spinners from both ends! One end would have been enough.

    And why did Maxwell open in Australia's second innings? Still haven't heard that explained. Too many allrounders in the team, players who would not make the team for their batting or their bowling alone, but who are bits and pieces players who can do a bit of each. This is test cricket; the selectors did a poor job too.

  • karthik on March 25, 2013, 15:14 GMT

    Well now that the euphoria is settled down,let me state some facts and home truths for Dhoni fanboys.This win was NOTHING TO DO with MSD and everything to do with Pujara,Vijay,Ashwin,Jadeja,Bhuvi,Kohli and Dhawan.Sachin,Ishant and Harbhajan too played ZERO roles in the win.So just as media or the 'experts' didn't blame the loser Dhoni for those horrible white-washes,hope the dont give any credit to Dhoni for this win.Only the youngsters deserve the praise and applause.Dhoni must thank Srinivasan for his continuance.He is still a useless captain with zero ideas,no innovation and pretty poor cricketing instincts.So no matter how many matches we win Dhoni would have no role in them.

  • HNL on March 25, 2013, 14:54 GMT

    This is no doubt a moment to savour for all Indian cricket fans and our team deserves a pat on their back for the 4-0 whitewash, but our players have to quickly get over this euphoria and seriously start pondering over what they might be facing when they go to the next overseas assignment (SA). Our batsmen somehow have to learn playing balls that rise to hip height or above. Our spinners got to learn how to bowl on pitches which may not offer them anything like what they saw in the 4 tests. Our fast bowlers must learn to bowl again since they have become almost unused or underutilized guys due to the nature of tracks provided. Our selectors and the cricket board must use the 6-month gap to get the players into reasonable level of preparedness for this tough challenge, otherwise another drubbing overseas awaits India and the sweet memories of their 4-0 whitewash might evaporate in a hurry.

  • Dummy4 on March 25, 2013, 14:34 GMT

    Where are Ganguly fans ,who kept saying the team was built by Ganguly ,which Dhoni is enjoying..This team was made fully by Dhoni ,particularly the inclusion of Jadeja!! Dhoni does not simply give chance to players , if he gives he sees that they are given ample time to perform ..Contrast to MI ,who keep changing their players every match!! Dhoni uses his conscience in choosing the best talented players and giving them ample oppurtunities ! Vijay ,Ashwin and Jadeja are one among them ! JAdeja ,sorry Sir Jadeja bowled one of the best deliveries to destroy the Aussies.. and most of them are bowled !! I bet none of them including Ganguly would have ever taken Jadeja into confidence to play the series against Aussies !! Jadeja is an excellent fielder ,bowler and a batsman,though his batting has not clicked in international arena .If it clicks , he is a real triumph card !!