Ashwin helps India sweep series

R Ashwin celebrates Brendon McCullum's wicket AFP

New Zealand were at the receiving end of another humiliation as a hapless batting performance led to their lowest score against India and sealed a 0-5 whitewash. On a dry pitch susceptible to the influence of the overcast weather, New Zealand were keen to make the most of initially favourable batting conditions. But their edginess against pace at the start of the innings, and capitulation to spin later on, ensured their misery in ODIs continued.

The pitch offered limited assistance to the bowlers and was not responsible for the domination that India showed; New Zealand's inability to survive perhaps was. The seamers were crafty enough to make use of the hint of swing and movement available early on, the spinners, led by R Ashwin, varied their lengths, pace and worked the angles well to prove more than a handful against the middle and lower orders.

The slow bowlers were expected to play a prominent role as the day wore on and it didn't take long for Yuvraj Singh to step into the act. In the 17th over, after having built a stand of 43 with Styris, How tried to play across the line and was bowled as the ball straightened. Styris misread the length and played the sweep, almost as an afterthought, against Ashwin in the next over to be caught plumb. And Grant Elliott, included in the line-up to strengthen the batting, made no impact, failing to read the straighter one from Yuvraj to be lbw.

Three wickets in three overs, and the departure of Daniel Vettori to a catch at slip not long after indicated New Zealand were in a hurry to finish the game even before the weather, overcast and ominous, was given a chance to intervene. Sure enough, Kyle Mills' inability to read Ashwin's carrom ball and Tim Southee's gifting a catch to short leg marked a sorry end to a line-up that bats deep.