New Delhi, 25th March: India completed a historic 4-0 clean smashing victory against Australia on Sunday by recording an emphatic six-wicket victory in the fourth and final cricket Test on Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium.
For Australia, it was the first time in 43 years to suffer a 0-4 series whitewash after Bill Lawry’s side did the same in South Africa in 1969-70.
The Feroz Shah Kotla track which is not conducive for good batting, India chased down a tricky target of 155, largely due to Cheteshwar Pujara’s dazzling strokeplay as the home team recorded their biggest ever series win in the 81-year history inside three days.
Pujara, who was battling pain as he was playing with a swollen hand, enthralled one and all with his perfect technique on a rank turner, scoring a brilliant unbeaten 82 off 92 balls with 11 boundaries.
There were a few jitters when India lost Virat Kohli (41), Sachin Tendulkar (1)and Ajinkya Rahane (1) in quick succession but Pujara kept his cool in company of skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni (8 not out) to successfully complete the run chase.
The on-field celebrations were muted but the dressing room was delirious with joy as the players engaged in bear hugs.
The target of 155 might have looked quite a task but both Pujara and Kohli made batting look easy on a difficult track, adding 104 runs for the second wicket to pave the way for victory.
Starting the run chase, Murali Vijay (11) was bowled trying to play an unnecessary reverse sweep but Pujara played some unorthodox shots to set the tone.
Pujara showed positive intent as he and Kohli scored at a brisk pace. Pujara scored his second 50 of the match from just 54 balls and India’s 100 was reached in 19 overs at a rate of more than five runs per over.
While Pujara stepped up the ante, Kohli was happy playing the second fiddle.
Earlier, on the pitch prepared by Venkat Sundaram which resembled a minefield, Ravindra Jadeja (5/58) created terror in the minds of the Australian batsmen as he extracted vicious turn and bounce as they were all-out for 164 in their second innings.
The tension brewing between Jadeja and Warner came into the forefront once again as the Indian left-arm spinner gave the batsman a rude ‘send-off’ which could earn him a sanction from the match referee.
The normally dogged Ed Cowan (24, 5×4) employed a positive approach as defending on this track looked impossible. Most of the times, the tactic he used to counter Jadeja was to take a big stride forward to stop the ball from doing unusual tricks. He got a few boundaries in the process.
The score was 51 for four at that stage but within two runs, Cowan was gone as Jadeja pitched one on the good length and turned enough to catch the left-hander on the backfoot. Within first 20 overs of the Australian second innings, the top five were back in the hut.
The post-lunch session saw Steven Smith and Johnson being removed by Jadeja off successive deliveries but two crucial stands of 28 and 35 for eighth and ninth wickets respectively — both involving Siddle helped the visitors cross 150.
In the morning, it took only eight minutes and 13 deliveries to polish off the Indian tail as Nathan Lyon got his career-best figures of 7 for 94 as the home side managed a slender lead of 10 runs.