4th Test, Delhi

Australia v India, 2012-13

ESPNcricinfo staff

At Delhi, March 22-24. India won by six wickets. India won by six wickets. Toss: Australia. Test debut: A. M. Rahane.


Ravindra Jadeja appeals for a wicket, India v Australia, 4th Test, Delhi, 3rd day, March 24, 2013
Ravindra Jadeja snapped up seven wickets in an absorbing three-day Test © BCCI
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India completed their first 4-0 clean sweep with a one-sided victory inside three days. Yet again, Australia's batsmen struggled on a challenging pitch, although this time they were at least in touch on first innings; it was their collapse for 164 on the third day that cost them. Spin did most of the damage for both teams: Ashwin and Jadeja collected seven wickets each, and Lyon nine.

At the toss, Australia were represented by their 44th Test captain. Michael Clarke had been declared unfit after struggling with a back injury during the Third Test, and Watson - who had been suspended as part of the homework saga, before flying home for the birth of his child, and dashing back in time for this Test - was named as the stand-in. Wade, who missed Mohali because of an ankle injury, was fit again and replaced Brad Haddin. And, in the latest round of Australian musical chairs, Maxwell, Johnson and Pattinson came in for Moises Henriques, Mitchell Starc and Xavier Doherty.

India's only change was the forced omission of Shikhar Dhawan, who had hurt his hand in Mohali and was replaced by debutant Ajinkya Rahane, batting at No. 5 as the opening roles were entrusted to Vijay and Pujara. But India's batsmen had to wait as, for the fourth time in the series, Australia won the toss and took first use of a pitch showing significant cracks and offering early movement for the fast bowlers.

Still, Cowan and Hughes displayed some grit in a 67-run partnership after Warner had thrown away his wicket with a loose slash at Sharma in the second over. A far more probing over from the same bowler then eventually accounted for Hughes. Struck on the helmet by a delivery that rose sharply off a length, Hughes - plainly rattled - grew tentative. Three balls later, he went neither forward nor back, and played on.

A lunchtime score of 94 for two was a reasonable start but, yet again, Australia's innings deteriorated quickly. Cowan was bowled around his legs trying to sweep Ashwin - the same fate that had befallen Warner and Hughes in Hyderabad - to start a slump of five for 30, all to the spin of Ashwin and Jadeja, in 21 painful overs. It was left to Siddle to lead a recovery during fifty stands with Smith and Pattinson. But, after reaching his first half-century in Test cricket, Siddle became the fifth victim for Ashwin, who had troubled the Australians with his bounce, bite, and variations: the carrom ball that bowled Johnson, who offered no shot, was masterly.

Their total of 262 was modest, but the bowlers prevented India from gaining a significant lead, despite an opening stand of 108 between Pujara and Vijay. For the first time in the series, none of India's batsmen managed to capitalise on a first-innings start. This was largely because Lyon - also for the first time in the series - came round the wicket for an extended spell, and turned lbw into a serious threat to India's right-handers. He also altered his length: earlier in the tour, he had erred on the full side, but here he dropped a fraction shorter, just enough to prevent easy drives. His battle with Tendulkar was especially gripping. After a number of close lbw shouts - with no recourse to the DRS in India - Lyon finally had him plumb on 32. Australia grew more vocal than at any time in the series. Lyon finished with a career-best seven for 94, including the final two wickets in successive balls early on the third day; astonishingly, it would also prove to be the game's last.

Australia sprang a surprise by sending in Maxwell to open with Warner, hoping his Twenty20-style hitting would allow them to build a quick lead. The plan failed when both men fell for eight to Jadeja, with the dismissal of Warner, the sledger-in-chief, prompting a raucous send-off. Watson, meanwhile, showed a poor appreciation of the variable bounce when he wound up for a big pull and bottom-edged an Ojha delivery that kept low on to his stumps. Jadeja picked up five for 58, and Australia avoided total capitulation only thanks to Siddle, who became the first No. 9 to score two half-centuries in a Test - this one from 44 balls. No other Australian batsman reached fifty in either innings.

Set 155 for victory, India lost Vijay early to Maxwell, who became the first Australian since Percy Hornibrook in 1928-29 to open the batting and bowling in the same Test. And, as Lyon shared the new ball, it was only the third time Australia had opened with two spinners. It mattered not a jot: Pujara and Kohli steered India to within 32 of their target, and Pujara was still there on 82 when Dhoni crunched the winning boundary.

Man of the Match: R. A. Jadeja. Man of the Series: R. Ashwin. Close of play: first day, Australia 231-8 (Siddle 47, Pattinson 11); second day, India 266-8 (Bhuvneshwar Kumar 10).

© John Wisden & Co.