India vs New Zealand | Ashwin delivers clean-sweep gift to the new Test No.1s

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India vs New Zealand | Ashwin delivers clean-sweep gift to the new Test No.1s

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SportsCafe Desk

10/11/2016

India celebrated their scaling of the No.1 spot in Tests with a 3-0 whitewash of the New Zealand team completing a 321-run win at Indore today. Chesteshwar Pujara finally scored a well-deserved century before R Ashwin once again weaved his magic over the Kiwi batsmen with a 7-wicket haul.

India Brief scores : India 557/5 declared and 216/3 (Pujara 101*, Gambhir 50, Patel 2/56) defeated New Zealand 299 all out and 153 all out (Taylor 32, Ashwin 7/ 75, Jadeja 2/45)

Starting the day at 18 for no loss, India amassed a massive 216 for 3 thanks to a maiden series ton for Cheteshwar Pujara who remained unbeaten at 101, when Virat Kohli decided to put New Zealand to the test.

India had ended day 3 of the Test at 18/0 with Gautam Gambhir having to return to the pavilion courtesy an injury to his right shoulder. The stand-in opener had suffered a blow while fielding and had aggravated it while attempting a desperate dive to the crease in the final few overs of the day. Murali Vijay was then joined by Cheteshwar Pujara, and the duo played out the day's overs.

Gambhir gives selectors food for fodder

India started the day gingerly scoring just 17 runs from the first eight overs of the day losing the wicket of Murali Vijay for a score of just 19. The wicket arrived as a result of some great work in the field by Guptill, who dove to his left and reverse flicked the ball to the keeper with his right hand.

Gautam Gambhir then decided to enter the fray again, and the 34-year-old picked up the team's run rate scoring at just under a run-a-ball. He got to his half-century off just 54 balls – a perfect example of putting team before self even though he could have slowed down his pace and have gone for a century on the day. However, he fell immediately after the half-century - he tried to go for the inside-out drive, but a lack of elevation on the shot meant Guptill had to react quickly to send him back to the pavilion. But Gambhir has taken his chance well and given the selectors a problem of plenty to ponder ahead of the England series.

Pujara finally gets that century

With the score at 110/2, Virat Kohli joined Pujara in the middle. Both players kept on rotating the strike to keep the scoreboard ticking. Returning after lunch, Kohli dispatched Santner for a boundary to deep point taking India's lead past 400 runs.

Kohli was sent back to the dressing room by Umpire Bruce Oxenford after the former missed the ball while attempting the sweep. The ball went on to hit the front pad, but replays suggested that the Indian captain, who looked irritated by the decision, might have been slightly unlucky to be adjudged LBW with the scoreboard reading 158/3.

On the other end, Pujara had quietly taken his score to 66 and looked like he could finally end the curse of the series, where he had scored 87, 4, 62, 78 and 41 in five innings. Kohli waited till the 49th over when Pujara finally managed to enter the triple digits for the first time in the series, after which he recalled the batsman giving the Indian bowlers four-and-a-half sessions to complete the whitewash.

New Zealand get off to a disastrous start

New Zealand openers Martin Guptill and Tom Latham, who gave India problems in the first innings getting an 118-run partnership, made their intentions clear from the very first over with Latham smashing Mohammed Shami for a six over square leg. Those were, however, the only runs he scored as the opener fell in the very next over pinned in front of the stumps by Umesh Yadav.

Kane Williamson and Guptill steadied the innings taking the score to 38 before Ashwin started off where he had left off in the first innings trapping Williamson in front of the stumps. Ross Taylor came out of the blocks running scoring a quick fire 32 off just 25 balls before Ashwin shattered the woodwork with a beautifully flighted ball to leave New Zealand at 80/3.

Kiwis crumble under Ashwin's magic

The Kiwi innings held on reasonably well until 100 with only 3 batsmen back in the pavilion, but then they just imploded. Ashwin, as expected started the fall and claimed his next victim in Luke Ronchi after the ball stayed a little low and the bails were dislodged again. Guptill kept the runs coming, but that was before Jadeja joined the party and removed Neesham with the latter not troubling the scorers.

Jadeja then put an end to Guptill's fight as well beating him with the pace on the ball catching the batsman plumb before the middle stump. The visitors had been reduced to 112/6 from 102/3 in no time.

Ashwin then claimed his tenth of the match in the form of Santner, who looked shocked by the sheer spin that the India was able to generate off the pitch. The offie did not stop there and in the very second ball removed Jeetan Patel with a tossed-up delivery. That was Ashwin's fifth wicket in the innings giving him a fifer in both the innings of the Test.

Matt Henry then gifted his wicket to the spinner with a completely mistimed hit that ended in the hands of Mohammad Shami at mid-off. Ashwin then ensured India did not have to make the arduous trip to the grounds for a final day. The spinner, in a singular example of how he has taken this team through, bowled and caught the simple return from Trent Boult to finish New Zealand at 153 runs to register his best performance in Tests. He just refuses to stop!

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