INDIA has capped off an extraordinary run of Test series on home soil, completing a 2-1 series victory over Australia in the fourth Test.
The celebrations have begun in India with captain Virat Kohli describing his team’s triumph over Australia as the best win of his career.
India 2/106 from 23.5 overs and 332. Rahul 52, Rahane 38. India wins by eight wickets.
Australia 300 and 137.
Ravi Jadeja named man of the series
Steve Smith was overlooked for man of the series honours as Indian spinner Ravi Jadeja was crowned the best player across the four Tests.
Smith was awarded a sponsored “player of the series award” but was overlooked for the other award.
Smith scored 499 runs in a peerless performance while Jadeja was the best bowler with 25 scalps at 18.56 runs.
Jadeja is named man of the series. Steve Smith is named player of the series. Um, what? #IndVAus
— FOX SPORTS Australia (@FOXSportsAUS) March 28, 2017
Jadeja was also named man of the match in the fourth Test after taking three key first innings poles and scoring an important half century down the order at the end of India’s first innings.
Smith apologises for emotional series
Steve Smith has apologised to India during the official trophy presentation.
It comes after the Aussie captain was accused of cheating over his DRS “brain fade” in the second Test and was caught by broadcast cameras appearing to call Murali Vijay a “f***ing cheat”.
“I’ve been pretty intense through this series and wanted to do well for my team and lead from my front,” Smith said.
“I’ve been in my own bubble and I’ve let my emotions bubble over sometimes so I apologise for that.”
Smith paid tribute to India while also praising his own team for pushing the home side all the way.
“Magnificent series,” Smith said during the official trophy presentation series.
“One of the best I have been a part of. Credit to India, they are a fantastic cricket side, particularly in their backyard.
“If you give them a sniff, they will take that. For Australia, this is the toughest conditions for us.”
He conceded Australia’s second innings middle order collapse on day three was the moment the series became out of his team’s reach.
“The middle session yesterday, when you lose 5/70 or whatever it was, you put yourself behind. Credit to India. Umesh Yadav was fantastic. They have all been fantastic. A lot of people wrote us off. They said it was going to be a 4-0 whitewash. I am proud of the way we have competed. We have probably let a few moments slip. Against India you can’t do that.”
Smith finishes series as the best of a beaten bunch
Steve Smith has finished the Border-Gavaskar series as the best batsman.
Smith (499 runs) and Matt Renshaw (232) were the only Australians to score more than 200 runs.
Most Runs #INDvAUS Series:
Steve Smith 499
Cheteshwar Pujara 405
Lokesh Rahul 393
Matt Renshaw 232
Ajinkya Rahane 198
Peter Handscomb 198
— Fox Sports Lab (@FoxSportsLab) March 28, 2017
Most wkts in series:
Jadeja 25, avg 18.56
Ashwin 21, avg 27.38
O’Keefe 19, avg 23.26
Lyon 19, avg 25.26https://t.co/37Oq6JfLyt
— ESPNcricinfo (@ESPNcricinfo) March 28, 2017
India’s famous victory
India has taken out one of the most memorable Border Gavaskar series on record after the home side cruised to a triumphant deciding victory in Dharamsala.
The emphatic eight-wicket win sealed before lunch on day four was a cruel way for Australia to end a campaign where they’ve battled to the death in every match.
Even when India was only 60 runs from the finish line, Pat Cummins and Glenn Maxwell threatened one more dramatic twist to the tale.
Cummins nicked off Murali Vijay and Maxwell executed a deadly run-out of Cheteshwar Pujara in one thrilling over, but in the end the measly target of 106 Australia set India was just too small to contain.
Resuming with only 87 needed, opener Lokesh Rahul (52 not out) did what he’s done all series and led from the front to bury Australia.
Fittingly, Rahul hit the winning runs to bring up his sixth half century of the series before launching into raucous celebrations.
Stand-in captain Ajinkya Rahane was also there at the end to finish unbeaten on 38.
After what’s been a hostile and at times bitter series, both teams came together at the close, with Steve Smith’s respect for Rahane clear, and handshakes all-round for chief villain Virat Kohli.
In the end Smith’s men were left to rue the brutal fact that they had this Trophy at their mercy, only to blow it with two batting collapses in Dharamsala.
Their 13-year drought on Indian soil will sustain another four years at least.
The middle session on day one – when Australia went from 1-144 to 6-208 – and again the middle session on day three when they capitulated to lose five wickets was where the series was lost.
— BCCI (@BCCI) March 28, 2017
Otherwise there was nothing between these two teams and even a target of 200 for India to chase batting last would have made for a thrilling conclusion.
Indian captain Rahane relished the chance to captain the side in Kohli’s absence and made the most of it.
As soon as India got within sight of the victory target yesterday, Rahane swung for the fences slaughtering Cummins for back-to-back sixes.
Critics felt the loss of Kohli would prove devastating for India.
Instead it seemed to liberate them, with his replacement, left-arm wrist-spinner Kuldeep Yadav taking four-wickets in the first innings that could be looked back upon as match-winning.
A brilliant 63 which featured four boundaries and four sixes by Indian tail ender Ravi Jadeja – India’s first innings top score – was just as decisive.
Australia pushed the No.1 team in the world – that had not lost a match in 20 games leading into this series – right to the limit.
At stages India were panicked and clueless.
The only flogging handed out all series was Australia’s three-day smack down of India in the first Test in Pune, otherwise the matches were all evenly matched.
— Ben Horne
India reclaims Border-Gavaskar Trophy
Lokesh Rahul and Ajinkya Rahane guided India to victory in style as they easily picked off runs against the Aussie attack.
The pair piled on 60 runs from 59 balls as Australia watched all their fine efforts this series disappear down the gutter.
Clarke goes after Smith captaincy
Former Australian skipper Michael Clarke has criticised Steve Smith’s field settings against India on day four.
Smith chose to bring on Nathan Lyon after India had suffered a double blow at 2/46, but selected a field that had three fielders on the boundary.
Clarke was clearly frustrated Smith was not attacking when he had such few runs to defend in India’s second innings.
“What is that field,” Clarke asked on Star Sports.
“You’ve got the Indian captain on zero and the game on the line and you’ve got three fielders on the boundary?
“What is the difference if India makes 59 runs in the next hour or it takes them until tomorrow?”
Australia makes double strike
Australia has a tiny glimmer of hope after a double wicket over.
Pat Cummins dismissed opener Murali Vijay with a good length ball on the batsman’s fourth stump that enticed the batsman forward and collected the outside edge.
Just four balls later India lost Cheteshwar Pujara in a rare moment of madness. Pujara bunted a ball just in front of point and took off for a quick single before freezing half way down the pitch.
He was left well short of his crease when Glenn Maxwell pounced with a direct hit at the non-striker’s end.
— FOX SPORTS Cricket (@FOXCricketLive) March 28, 2017
Australia fail to appeal gloved ball
— FOX SPORTS Cricket (@FOXCricketLive) March 28, 2017
A missed opportunity has summed up the miserable finish to Australia’s tour of India when the Aussies failed to challenge a knocked-back dismissal that would have gone their way.
Pat Cummins hurled a short ball at Lokesh Rahul’s body early on day four and collected the batsman’s glove as he tried to tickle it down the leg side.
Keeper Matt Wade took a good catch moving to his left and was the only Aussie to appeal for the catch.
Aussie captain Steve Smith elected not to review the decision of not out.
Replays showed the delivery clearly hit Rahul’s glove when the batsman was not out on 29.
The vision was also played on the big screen inside the Dharamsala venue and the clip clearly horrified Smith.
“Uh oh. Nothing is going my way,” Star Sports cricket commentator Ravi Shastri said of Smith’s frustration.
“It can be a cruel game.”
‘Very interesting’ swipe at Aussie character
Indian cricket legend Sunil Gavaskar has reignited Steve Smith’s DRS “brain fade” scandal after putting forward “very interesting” evidence that Australia were systematically cheating earlier in the series.
Kohli suggested Australia had a system for cheating the Decision Review System by looking to the Australian dressing room for some form of indication if they should challenge an on-field umpire ruling.
It came as Smith was busted, but not punished, for looking at the Australian dressing room during the second Test.
Kohli then claimed he had spotted Australia cheating throughout the first and second Tests and said he had registered his concern with match officials, but no evidence has since surfaced.
Now Gavaskar has breathed life back into the biggest scandal of the series by suggesting Australia’s DRS referrals have worsened since Smith was busted.
“I would like to make one point,” Gavaskar told NDTV.
“It would be very, very interesting and have a look at it, after the “brain fade” Australians have had 12 referrals and they’ve got only one right.
“Before that, out of 16, I think they got seven right. Maybe I think you should do a little bit more and that might be a question that will have an interesting answer.”
‘Shaun Marsh’s Test career over’
Shaun Marsh helped save the third Test for Australia, but he seems friendless after a double failure when it mattered most in the fourth Test.
ABC Grandstand commentator Glenn Mitchell says the No. 4 batsman is today playing his final day of Test cricket after failing to kill-off the constant questions surrounding his Test career during the series against India.
— EON Sports Radio (@EONSportsRadio) March 28, 2017
Marsh was injected into the team at the expense of Usman Khawaja, touted by some as an Indian-conditions specialist.
In Pune he scored 16 and zero.
In Bangalore he scored 66 and nine.
In Ranchi he scored two and 53 (helping to save the Test).
And in Dharamsala he scored four and one.
Warner singled out by national selector
Australian selector Mark Waugh has declared senior opener David Warner is the only Australian player to fail to make an impact during the four-Test series against India.
Waugh said every other player has had moments of contributing to the team, but singled Warner out for his miserable series, which featured just one half-century (which came after he was dropped in the slips while on single figures.
“It’s really only David Warner who has left a lot of runs in the bank,” Waugh told Sky Sports Radio from India.
“He’s been the one player that’s struggled and he’s one of our bigger players. There’s no doubt his form has hurt the results in this series, but I think almost every other player could say they’ve done well and at times they’ve shone.”
Warner has averaged just 24.12 runs this series, his worst batting average in a series of four or more Tests.
Aussie batting coach Graeme Hick admitted after day three the Aussie opener got his approach wrong this series.
“David will be very disappointed with his series aggregate on tour,” Hick said.
“He was desperate to have a very big tour and very big influence here.
“Whether he put himself under too much pressure to do so, only he can answer that. He’ll reflect on it as your champions do and assess it himself.
“Without doubt he’s one of our major players — you would have hoped for a little bit more from him.”
Tensions high after firey day three
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has published a video of an on- field verbal stoush involving Ravindra Jadeja and two Australians, which took place when the Test series decider was in the balance.
The BCCI posted the footage, complete with stump-microphone recordings, on its website and social media channels. Some of the sledging was broadcast on Star Sports during play, but not all of it.
Jadeja, who top-scored in India’s first innings with a knock of 63 in Dharamsala, swapped barbs with Matthew Wade and Steve Smith on the morning of day three.
Wade needled the allrounder about his love of selfies on Instagram then started probing Jadeja about his struggles to get a game on India’s tour of the West Indies last year.
“How come you don’t get picked outside India? Why is that? Why don’t you get picked?” Wade said.
Smith quipped during Jadeja’s game-changing dig that ‘this’ll be his last Test for a while, they’re going away”.
“You don’t deserve to play anywhere but here because you’re useless,” Smith barked.
Jadeja recently became the top-ranked Test bowler on the International Cricket Council’s charts. He will almost certainly finish the leading wicket-taker of the series with 25 scalps.
Jadeja helped push India to a point where they have complete control of the series decider. The hosts will resume at 0-19, needing a further 87 runs to win the match and series.
Players around the world have long harboured concerns about the use of stump mics.
Many feel uncomfortable placing so much trust in host broadcasters, who generally ensure most conversations on the field stay on the field. Jadeja, nicknamed ‘Rockstar’ by Rajasthan teammate Shane Warne during the inaugural Indian Premier League season in 2008 because of his immense confidence, laughed off the incident.
“Nothing happened. You know and I know what’s happens on the ground in these situations. I was just telling Wade that we will meet and have dinner once you guys have lost the Test,” he told reporters after play.
Jadeja, who wore a delivery on his helmet and belted a six before falling to Pat Cummins amid a bouncer barrage, taunted Australia’s exhausted attack. “When they were bouncing our No.9, No.10 and No.11, we were already in a good position. They were taking out the frustration of not getting a wicket early in the day when it mattered,” he said.
“That is how a fast bowler takes out his frustration.”