STILL INVINCIBLE

‘Un­be­liev­able’ In­dia thrash Aus­tralia to main­tain Test run

New Straits Times - - Sport -

IN­DIA thrashed Aus­tralia by eight wick­ets yes­ter­day to seal a Test se­ries marked by out­bursts and con­tro­ver­sies 2-1 and un­der­line their sta­tus as the world’s num­ber one side.

Chas­ing 106 on the penul­ti­mate day of the Fourth Test, opener Lokesh

Rahul hit 51 not out in Dharamsala as In­dia seized back the BorderGavaskar tro­phy from Aus­tralia.

In­dia’s stand-in skip­per Ajinkya Ra­hane (38 not out) hit two sixes in a row off Pat Cum­mins en route to the com­pre­hen­sive win, as fans waved gi­ant In­dia flags and danced in the stands.

In­dia have now won seven Test se­ries win in a row, a run that kicked off with their tri­umph in Sri Lanka in 2015, and in­cludes vic­to­ries over New Zealand, Eng­land and Bangladesh in an ex­tended home sea­son.

Skip­per Vi­rat Kohli, who was forced to sit out the fi­nal Test with a shoul­der in­jury, said the hard-fought win over Aus­tralia was the most sat­is­fy­ing of the re­cent run.

“Un­be­liev­able. This is the best se­ries win so far,” said Kohli, who re­ceived the Test mace on be­half of In­dia for end­ing the sea­son as the world’s top side.

“The way the Aus­tralian team gave us a fight was re­ally amaz­ing, but the way the guys kept bounc­ing back showed the true char­ac­ter of the side.”

Aus­tralia cap­tain Steve Smith apol­o­gised for let­ting emo­tion get the bet­ter of him. On Mon­day, footage in­di­cated he called Mu­rali Vi­jay a “cheat” for wrongly claim­ing a catch on Mon­day.

“I have been pretty in­tense through­out this se­ries. I re­ally wanted to do well for the team. At times I have been in my own bub­ble and have let my emo­tions slip. I apol­o­gise for that,” said Smith.

It was one of sev­eral in­ci­dents dur­ing the bad-tem­pered se­ries, in­clud­ing Kohli ac­cus­ing Smith of sys­tem­at­i­cally abus­ing the de­ci­sion re­view sys­tem dur­ing the se­cond Ban­ga­lore Test.

In the maiden Test played in Dharamsala, In­dia scored 332 in their first in­nings in re­ply to Aus­tralia’s 300, be­fore the tourists col­lapsed for just 137 on the third day.

On day four, In­dia lost Vi­jay to fast bowler Cum­mins and Chetesh­war Pu­jara to a run out, but they were the only scares for the hosts who reached their tar­get in less than 24 overs.

In­dia owed their win to all­rounder Ravin­dra Jadeja, who top-scored with 63 runs in the first in­nings be­fore tak­ing three wick­ets with his left-arm spin dur­ing Aus­tralia’s se­cond knock — and was duly named man of the match and man of the se­ries.

“The way the guys han­dled sit­u­a­tions and the way Ajinkya led was out­stand­ing. But the ma­tu­rity and the re­spon­si­bil­ity shown by all the guys in the team was pleas­ing to see, espe­cially from the out­side,” said Kohli.

The contest will also be re­mem­bered for the form of Aussie skip­per Smith, who amassed 499 runs with three cen­turies, be­com­ing only the sixth vis­it­ing bats­man to hit as many tons.

Kohli, who was dis­parag­ingly com­pared to US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump as he came un­der fire from Aus­tralian me­dia, had a se­ries to for­get, scor­ing only 46 in the first three Tests. AFP

AFP PIC

In­dia cap­tain Vi­rat Kohli (left) and Ajinkya Ra­hane (right) re­ceive the Bor­der -Gavaskar tro­phy from Su­nil Gavaskar af­ter beat­ing Aus­tralia 2-1.

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