Australian cricket would take long to recover from the battering that India handed in this series. Four wins in four Tests, all by convincing verdicts, showed the gap between the teams.
Australia was outclassed by a resurgent India, which won at the Ferozeshah Kotla by six wickets, much to the delight of the Sunday crowd.
What if the match was over in three days on a spinner-friendly pitch! The result showed Indian cricket in healthy state until the next overseas engagement.
India folded early this morning and Australia did not last the afternoon. Bowlers, actually spinners, called the shots as the ball played truant after pitching and the batsmen, shaky and clueless, surrendered meekly, with the exception of the spirited Peter Siddle.
He ensured there was some entertainment for the audience. Siddle’s second half-century of the match may compel his team management to possibly hand him a promotion in the batting order.
Two Saurashtra stars, for long unsung and waiting to earn their space in the Indian dressing room, shone the brightest in India’s victory.
‘Man-of-the-match’ Ravindra Jadeja hastened the Australian slide with a five-wicket strike and Cheteshwar Pujara, who does nothing wrong these days, heralded the victory with a responsible, and given the circumstances, a match-winning effort too after he saw Sachin Tendulkar depart to a rough decision and a standing ovation.
This could be Tendulkar’s last appearance in a Test in India unless the Board squeezes in a short series in the one-month break after the Champions League.
Pujara sets the tempo
The target was 155. Competitive if only Australia could emulate India’s skills with the ball. But Shane Watson did not command the spinners who could swing the contest.
Nathan Lyon, who had a seven-wicket haul, was mauled in the second innings as Pujara set the tempo for a racy finish. It should rank among his best knocks for it carried the stamp of a classy batsman.
Earlier, India’s spinners assumed monstrous proportions. Jadeja proved unplayable, making the ball turn, jump, skid and on the dry surface he looked more dangerous than Derek Underwood on a wet. The left-arm spinner bowled a specific line, and the ball, coming out of his palm nicely, created havoc in the Australian camp.
The Australian debacle once again underlined the team’s poor preparations and lack of self-belief. Jadeja’s five wickets should go a long way in establishing his credentials in Test cricket.
He did not relent and his aggressive postures gave him the confidence to grow as a wicket-taker. Jadeja the bowler was a revelation and a big gain from this emphatic performance by India.
India led by a mere 10 runs but Australia responded poorly. The batsmen lacked the motivation and a couple of suicidal dismissals took the wind out of the visiting camp. David Warner refused to learn.
Shane Watson was no less stubborn, playing the pull, an unwise stroke on a two-paced pitch.
Glenn Maxwell’s elevation as opener resulted from desperation but ended on a predictable note.
The Australian innings was in disarray when Phil Hughes, trapped in front by ‘Man-of-the-series’ R. Ashwin, and Ed Cowan were consumed by the spinners before Steve Smith promised solidity.
A compulsive stroke player, he used the pad-play to good effect but it needed a dashing show by Siddle to save Australia from deep embarrassment. He was the last man out, epitomising, even for a brief phase, Australia’s resilience in difficult situations. It was, however, inadequate this day. India was the rightful owner of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.