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Ashwin guides India to series whitewash


India’s Ravichandran Ashwin (R) celebrates after taking the wicket of New Zealand’s Jeetan Patel during day four of the third Test at the Holkar Stadium in Indore, on Tuesday. – UNI
 INDORE, Oct 11: Ravichandran Ashwin mesmerised the New Zealand batsmen with another magical spell of spin bowling as India completed a 3-0 whitewash of the visitors by winning the third and final Test by a whopping 321 runs here today.

Chasing an improbable 475-run target, Ashwin ripped through the brittle New Zealand batting line-up with a sensational spell of 7 for 59 to skittle the opposition for a paltry 153 in 44.5 overs with an entire day to spare at the Holkar Stadium, which hosted its first ever Test.

The 30-year-old finished with a match haul of 13 for 140 and ended the series with a bagful of 27 wickets to emerge as the standout performer in a thoroughly one sided series which helped India regain the number one position in Tests.

Earlier, resuming at 18 for no loss, the hosts rode on Cheteshwar Pujara’s unbeaten 101, his eighth Test ton, and an aggressive 50 by comeback man Gautam Gambhir before declaring their second innings at 216 for three an hour before the tea break.

There was hardly any resistance from the Kiwi batsmen as Ashwin scalped one wicket after another to demolish the opposition in just about three hours of play, much to the delight of a near capacity Dussehra crowd.

The pitch in this match did not turn as much as it did in the earlier two games but still New Zealand batsmen looked clueless against the Indian spinners.

Indian coach Anil Kumble and his entire staff erupted in joy in the dressing room as Ashwin fittingly took the last wicket with a return catch of Trent Boult, triggering wild celebrations on the field as well. It was also Kumble’s first series win at home after the success in the West Indies.

The focus will now shift to the five match ODI series beginning at Dharamsala from October 16 with Mahendra Singh Dhoni taking over the reins of the team from Kohli.

Such was the dominance of the Indian spinners that Ashwin and Jadeja accounted for 41 out of 60 New Zealand wickets in the series.

It was also Ashwin’s sixth ten-wicket haul in 39 Tests and his second innings figures bettered his earlier 7 for 66 .

Like in the first innings Left arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja provided the ideal foil to the off spinner by taking two wickets.

For New Zealand Martin Guptill (29), captain Kane Williamson (27), senior batsman Ross Taylor (32) and wicket keeper B Watling (23 not out) were the main scorers as Ashwin ran through their batting order.

India had won the opening and second Tests at Kanpur and Kolkata by 197 and 178 runs respectively and completed their total domination of New Zealand at this venue by winning it by the biggest margin in the rubber.

The 3-0 series triumph was the third for India in their last four home rubbers, the earlier ones achieved against Australia and West Indies, and stretched their enviable winning Test record at home to 12 out of 13 encounters, including the 3-0 rout of South Africa last season.

SCORECARD

India 1st innings: 557/5 declared

New Zealand 1st innings: 299 all out

India 2nd innings (overnight 18 for no loss): Murali Vijay run out 19, Gautam Gambhir c Guptill b Patel 50, Cheteshwar Pujara not out 101, Virat Kohli lbw b Patel 17, Ajinkya Rahane not out 23; Extras: (B-4 LB-1 W-1) 6. Total: (For 3 wkts decl; 49 overs) 216. Fall of wickets: 1/34, 2/110, 3/158. Bowling: Trent Boult 7-0-35-0, Jeetan Patel 14-0-56-2, Mitchell Santner 17-1-71-0, Matt Henry 7-1-22-0, James Neesham 4-0-27-0.

New Zealand 2nd innings: Tom Latham lbw b Yadav 6, Martin Guptill lbw b Jadeja 29, Kane Williamson lbw b Ashwin 27, Ross Taylor b Ashwin 32, Luke Ronchi b Ashwin 15, James Neesham c Kohli b Jadeja 0, BJ Watling not out 23, Mitchell Santner b Ashwin 14, Jeetan Patel b Ashwin 0, Matt Henry c Shami b Ashwin 0, Trent Boult c & b Ashwin 4; Extras: (B-2, NB-1) 3. Total: (all out; 44.5 overs) 153. Fall of wickets: 1-7, 2-42, 3-80, 4-102, 5-103, 6-112, 7-136, 8-138, 9-138. Bowling: Mohammed Shami 7-0-34-0, Umesh Yadav 8-4-13-1, Ravichandra Ashwin 13.5-2-59-7, Ravindra Jadeja 16-3-45-2. – PTI

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