And that is the end of the season too!
What a series!
Most runs this series:
Smith 499, avg 71.28
Pujara 405, avg 57.85
Rahul 393, avg 65.50
Most wickets this series:
Jadeja 25, avg 18.56
Ashwin 21, avg 27.38
O’Keefe 19, avg 23.26
Lyon 19, avg 25.26
1044 IST: India 106/2 after 23.5 overs
And that’s it for India! The Test is won and so is the series. Australia competed well but India were just better. They have done this without a major contribution from their skipper (Kohli) and that augurs well for the future. Rahane was brilliant and so was Rahul in the run chase. Their aggressive approach ensured that Australia never got a sniff. Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant win for India. Take a bow.
This is the fourth time India have won a series after losing the 1st Test. They did it previously against Eng (1972-73), Aus (2000-01) and SL (2015). Also a glorious home season for India — winning 10 of 13 Tests.
v New Zealand 3-0
v England 4-0
v Bangladesh 1-0
v Australia 2-1
1038 IST: India 84/2 after 20 overs
Rahane is on the charge. He is taking on the short ball and has two consecutive sixes to show for it. The first ball after the break — Rahane hit it over midwicket. Then, he pre-determined, made space and slammed another six over over the off-side. Brilliant batting by the skipper, who has 29 off 16 balls.
1031 IST: India 69/2 after 19 overs
Drinks break. India have done well and while the Australian bowlers have tried hard, the field settings by Smith have been too defensive. Not enough intent.
1027 IST: India 67/2 after 18 overs
A quick single early in the over — Rahul just made it even as Maxwell scored a direct hit again. Great fielding. Another hook for four in the over — Rahane facing a short ball barrage but he keeps going for his shots. India now need 39 to win.
1021 IST: India 62/2 after 17 overs
Great batting by Rahul. Can’t stop mentioning just how well he has done to keep scoring the runs. Six runs off the overs. Smith’s tactics have been strange today. He is still looking to defend the boundaries. Would it make more sense to let batsmen take a risk? India need 44 to win.
1017 IST: India 56/2 after 16 overs
Back-to-back boundaries for Rahane. One driven down the ground, another pull for four. Good, aggressive stuff. A single then to get off strike. India need 50 to win.
1011 IST: India 47/2 after 15 overs
Rahane comes in to bat and we have three fielders on the boundary line. Michael Clarke can’t believe the tactics: “what difference does it make? Australia need 8 wickets. Does it matter if it ends it 30 minutes or an hour?” And he’s got a point there. Nathan Lyon into the attack now.
1009 IST: India 46/2 after 14 overs
WICKET! A horrible mix-up in the middle. Pujara and Rahul were stuck in the middle and Maxwell lined it up beautifully to knock the stumps out of the ground. Pujara gone for 0. Simply stupid cricket. Here comes the collapse?
C Pujara run out 0 (5b)
1003 IST: India 46/1 after 13.1 overs
WICKET! And the commentators cruse strikes again. Talk about being settled and a wicket falls. Vijay falls in the slips once again — this is starting to become a bit of an epidemic for him. He leaves the ball so well but now keeps getting out in the slips.
M Vijay c Wade b Cummins 8 (35b)
1001 IST: India 46/0 after 13 overs
India doing well — they are not getting bogged down, the runs keep coming in and that’s the best approach on a tense morning. The early nerves would’ve settled by now.
0956 IST: India 42/0 after 12 overs
Cummins into the attack — three slips and a gully — but India have been let off the hook. The runs have been coming thanks to Rahul’s aggressive approach. The Aussies almost seem a bit flat — not complaining but it seems like they have forgotten the short ball today.
0951 IST: India 40/0 after 11 overs
Super over from Hazlewood. He’s got a good length going and is forcing Rahul to play... and miss. Stunning bowling. Still don’t get the Aussie tactics though — maybe Smith can learn a thing or two from Rahane. Maiden over.
0947 IST: India 40/0 after 10 overs
Baffling decision to hold Cummins back today morning. O’Keefe gets hit for two more fours by Rahul. India require another 66 runs with 10 wickets remaining.
0943 IST: India 31/0 after 9 overs
Between slips and gully — another four for Rahul. He isn’t holding back and that is a good thing. As long as the runs keep coming Australia will not be able to build any sort of pressure. A wicket is the key for Australia though. India need 75 more runs to win.
0938 IST: India 26/0 after 8 overs
Two singles and 4 byes. O’Keefe into the attack and he got one to turn big. 7 runs in the over and perhaps a mistake to not go with Cummins — it has to be an all or nothing approach. Cummins might get Rahul early — a short ball barrage might help.
0934 IST: India 19/0 after 7 overs
A couple of big shouts in the first over — one almost sneaked through. Murali Vijay has to get his feet moving quickly. Hazlewood starts things off with a maiden.
The final day of an enthralling series
And it comes down to this. India need 87 runs to win the series. They have all 10 wickets in hand and should do this in a canter. But if there is anything this classic India-Australia series has taught us then it is not to take things for granted. There have been so many twists and turns in this series that it wouldn’t surprise us one bit to see another one in the morning session of Day 4.
The Dharamsala pitch has played out perfectly. There are cracks have opened up and there is bounce on offer for the pacemen but it still remains good for batting. One can be sure that Cummins and Hazlewood will go full tilt at the batsmen. The first hour promises to be cracking fun.
The spell from Umesh
“Speaking to the host broadcaster, Star Sports, after the third day’s play in Dharamsala, Umesh revealed that it was an overall team effort that got him to mend his ways. Umesh worked with India head coach Anil Kumble and assistant coach Sanjay Bangar before the home season began, and also took tips from the Indian batsmen on how he should bowl at them. He learnt to “think like a batsman” in order to know how and where to bowl at them.”