India completed a series sweep against New Zealand after winning the third and final Test against the visitors by a massive 321 runs. R Ashwin was the destroyer in chief as he mastered another New Zealand batting collapse.
Ashwin ran through the visitors batting line-up as India picked up nine wickets in the last session of the fourth day to end the Indore Test inside four days. Ashwin finished with seven wickets for 59 runs, his career best figures.
The off-spinner picked the last New Zealand wicket on the penultimate delivery of the day when he caught Trent Boult off his own bowling. This was Ashwin’s 13th wicket in the match and 27th of the series. Ravindra Jadeja chipped in with two wickets while Umesh Yadab picked a wicket as well.
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Earlier, Cheteshwar Pujara scored his eighth century in Test matches to help India set a 475-run target for the Black Caps. Pujara, alongwith with Gautam Gambhir, led India’s charge in the second innings and scored some quick runs. Gambhir fell after scoring his fifty. India declared their second innings at 216/3 with Pujara unbeaten at 101.
New Zealand chase never took off as Umesh rocked them in the second over, dismissing Tom Latham LBW. The visitors went into Tea at 38/1. But it was after Tea that Ashwin weaved his magic and picked up wickets in a heap.
His first wicket was New Zealand captain Kane Williamson. Shuffling across too much, Williamson was hit on the pads and umpire adjudged him LBW. This was the fourth time in six inning that Ashwin dismissed him. He then castled both Ross Taylor and Luke Ronchi to end New Zealand hopes of saving the match.
Virat Kohli rotated his bowlers to a great effect and brought on Jadeja, who picked up wickets of Jimmy Neesham and Martin Guptill.
Ashwin completed his 21st five-wicket haul in Tests when he bowled Mitchell Santner. The number one bowler in the world had Matt Henry caught at mid-off in the same over.
BJ Watling and Trent Boult tried taking the match into the fifth day but Ashwin had the latter caught and bowled on the second last ball of the day.
The off-spinner was awarded the man-of-the-match and man-of-the-series awards and Kohli was presented the ICC Test championships mace for attaining the number one ranking in Tests with his team.
This was India’s first win after claiming the number one ranking after winning the second match against New Zealand in Kolkata.