India v Australia, 4th Test, Dharamsala, 4th day March 28, 2017

India sweep season with fourth series win

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India 106 for 2 (Rahul 51*) and 332 (Jadeja 63, Rahul 60, Pujara 57, Lyon 5-92) beat Australia 300 (Smith 111, Wade 57, Warner 56, Kuldeep 4-68) and 137 (Maxwell 45, Jadeja 3-24, Ashwin 3-29, Umesh 3-29) by eight wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

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Chappell: Rahane was aggressive in his own quiet way

Ajinkya Rahane sent a 146kph bouncer from Pat Cummins flying into the crowd at midwicket and, next ball, slapped another short one over the cover fence while backing away. These were the blows that finally snuffed out the last of Australia's fight, and sealed once and for all India's victory in this most bewitching of Border-Gavaskar series.

Australia entered the fourth morning with only the scantest of hopes, defending a mere 87 runs and needing 10 wickets. This did not mean that contest was over, as Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins fired the ball down with pace and venom after a night's refreshment. The loss of M Vijay and Cheteshwar Pujara - the latter run out by a brilliant throw from Glenn Maxwell - kept Australia hoping. But KL Rahul and Rahane responded with bold blows to settle the matter.

The win in Dharamsala ended India's marathon home Test season with four series victories out of four, and also means that the team presently holds series honours over every other nation in the five-day game. Rahane's stand-in captaincy, in the absence of the injured Virat Kohli, had been vital to this achievement, so too the runs of Rahul, the pace of Umesh Yadav and the all-round contribution of Ravindra Jadeja. There will be great satisfaction derived also from the fact that Dharamsala offered conditions more familiar to the tourists.

For that reason, among others, Steven Smith's team were left to ponder a string of missed opportunities after their vast opening win in Pune. There have been times in all three Tests since that the Australians have looked very much in control of proceedings, but they have been unable to stay on the mountaintop under pressure from an Indian side roused into action by the shock of that first-up hiding.

As the ball continued to bounce and swerve when India resumed their pursuit of a modest target today, Australia's fielders must have wondered what might have been with another 100 or so runs to defend. Josh Hazlewood went up for a pair of vociferous lbw appeals against Vijay in the opening over, but on both occasions the opener got the merest of bat to ball before it struck the pad.

At the other end Cummins sent a bouncer down the leg side that may have touched Vijay's gloves before being taken on the juggle by Matthew Wade. Certainly Ultra Edge indicated as much, but only Wade raised the most half-hearted of appeals. More straightforward was another edge in Cummins' next over, near enough to an action replay of Vijay's first-innings dismissal, which offered a glimmer of light for Australia.

Genuine excitement followed when Pujara and Rahul hesitated fatally in taking a quick single to the right arm of Maxwell, who threw down middle stump to send Pujara on his way with 60 still needed. In those moments the Australians wondered briefly what might be possible, and the Indian viewing area tensed up like with so many teams chasing a pesky small target in the past.

But Rahane and Rahul barely put a foot out of place in the overs that followed, accumulating steadily until Cummins elected to go around the wicket for the tourists' final effort. Rahane's riposte, the first impressively orthodox, the second more redolent of the forthcoming IPL, said much about India's admirable resilience in the face of a most unexpected challenge.

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @danbrettig

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Rahul on March 31, 2017, 17:47 GMT

    CRICFAN27429407: India are the 3rd best travellers after Australia and South Africa. Nice try though.

  • eroost2760460 on March 31, 2017, 0:32 GMT

    Kingkohli, please tell us again, plays well at home can't travel,sound familiar, see you in SA, lets see how good you think you are. .

  • Naresh on March 30, 2017, 10:55 GMT

    I dont think the schedule for next test series is out yet. After the IPL(april/may), the champions trophy begins in UK(june) So a long wait before the next begins.

  • allie on March 30, 2017, 10:21 GMT

    Does anybody know India's next test assignmemnt? Maybe play SA away?

  • Rajesh on March 30, 2017, 9:15 GMT

    Can_KOHLI Be Next SACHIN, that is a revealing stat you'd given about the no. of Posters when India lose and when India wins!

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    Whatever good Indian cricketers do these perverse, hypocritical fans will always find some fault or the other.

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    After seeing their team lose the series 1-2 to India they've gone into hiding with their tails in between the legs.

  • nvskis8186839 on March 30, 2017, 8:02 GMT

    Oh, so u guys think AU's won 3-2 home and away series, well let me say u AU's didn't dare to give a little assitance for spinners pitch at home last time in any game whereas Ind gave a good green wicket in a decider and won it which shows u have lost a home game and also AU's didn't give a result oriented pitch in last two games at home, otherwise we would have won a game like u guys did in first game here. So don't conclude 3-2 without fair analysis

  • chris on March 30, 2017, 7:41 GMT

    @cricuser, well in o e year i thi k the trophy cabnet will be empty again. it would be good if the trophys were given out at the end of the home away season. aus 3-2 home and away. better team.

  • chris on March 30, 2017, 7:34 GMT

    australia won the home and away series 3-2 well played australia

  • Naresh on March 30, 2017, 7:31 GMT

    What do people feel was the cause of the first game defeat? Was it a shock? Are our batsman unable to play spin? Was it the pitch? Both scores were 100 all out by the Indians. Was it Okeefe? The Indian batting failed dismally and maybe resulted in India eventually taking the series. Did Australia play well?

  • cricke4907089 on March 29, 2017, 16:48 GMT

    Great series. India won the trophy, but the Aussies surprised everybody including themselves. EVERY match, Aussies at some point held the upper hand big time. It could easily have been 4-0 Aussies too, so credit to India. Tremendous advertisement for test cricket. The young Aussies, Renshaw, Handscomb have to be proud. This said, the mud slinging from both sides is getting tiring. Kohli is a fabulous player but he needs to show little more maturity as a captain. His will has led India to win, but I want him to show the class and take the high road. Aussies have to take their share of blame. More than any other team, Aussies have done this sledging and mental disintegration for many years and justified their actions (McGrath spitting on Sarwan, Lillee kicking Miandad). So they should stop whining when the opposition dishes it out. This said, Smith is on a different level, maybe the best batsman since Bradman. I loved how he took responsibility for behavior at Kohli should do the same.

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