India seal 6 wicket win at Mohali
India regained the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, winning the third Test against Australia at Mohali by 6 wickets to go 3-0 up in the series.
Pragyan Ojha did not take long to get rid of the nightwatchman Lyon on Monday morning, having him caught behind in the sixth over of the day. Michael Clarke batted fluently, belying any doubts about his knackered back, scoring 18 (53b, 3x4) in a partnership of 30 off 19 overs. But his dismissal off Jadeja for the 5th time out of 6 innings in this series sparked a collapse that saw Australia go from 119/4 to 143/8 in 9 overs. Phil Hughes (69, 147b, 11x4, 1x6) was given a poor LBW decision against Ashwin, Jadeja ran and dived to complete a return catch of Moises Henriques (2, 10b) before Ojha bowled Peter Siddle.
Haddin threatened again, scoring 30 in a 35 run partnership with Mitchell Starc before a carom ball had him plumb LBW. At 179/9 came Australia’s biggest partnership of the innings, Mitchell Starc and Xavier Doherty frustrating India’s bowlers for more than 18 overs in a 44 run stand. India had already bowled a whopping 45 overs in the first session and it was another 22 overs of toil in the second session of the day before Ashwin took a splendid catch to dismiss Starc off Jadeja. The Australian innings ended on 223, setting India a target of 132.
Shikhar Dhawan had injured his finger while fielding and Cheteshwar Pujara opened the batting instead of him. India had a minimum of 27 overs and another half an hour of bonus bowling if required to get the runs. Vijay started off with a four, signalling intent. India reached Tea at a brisk 30 off 7 overs.
The 42 run stand was broken in the 10th over when Vijay (26, 33b, 5x4) was stumped comprehensively off Doherty. Virat Kohli was promoted to no.3 while Pujara (28, 51b, 5x4) slowed down ever so slightly. 9 overs later, he was done in by sharp turn and lack of bounce to be trapped LBW by Lyon. Kohli (34, 61b, 6x4) played himself in before unleashing his shots, going along fluently when Siddle had him caught at short midwicket, a little late on a clip. Sachin Tendulkar played aggressively as well but Dhoni hogged the strike upon his arrival barely able to put bat to ball. Only 13 runs came in a 5 over partnership of which Dhoni played 4 overs, unable to rotate strike regularly. Starc and Siddle kept him reaching out and missing, he was on 6 off 25b at one point. The tension boiled over and ended in Sachin Tendulkar (21, 23b 2x4) being run out off a direct hit from Warner while trying to get on strike with a madcap single.
When Dhoni walked in, India had needed 30 off ten, by Tendulkar’s dismissal the equation had climbed to 17 needed off 23 balls. Ravindra Jadeja (8*, 5b, 2x4) immediately swung and struck two boundaries, bringing the equation down to 9 off 3 overs. Dhoni then found his mojo, striking Starc for three consecutive fours to bring up the winning runs, ending unbeaten on 18* (28b, 3x4).
Shikhar Dhawan was named Man of the Match for his stunning 187 on debut which helped India pull off a result despite Australia scoring more than 400 in the first innings of a rain hit 4 day game. He remains a doubtful starter for the Delhi Test due to the injury to his finger.
The loss was Australia’s sixth on the trot in India, beginning from the Nagpur Test of 2008 and it was also the first time they lost the first three matches of a series since 1988/89 when they hosted the West Indies.