Wed, Mar 29, 2017 - Page 16 News List

‘Unbelievable’ India rout Aussies, win series

AFP, DHARAMSALA, India

India’s Ajinkya Rahane plays a shot against Australia on the fourth day of the fourth Test in Dharamsala, India, yesterday.

Photo: Reuters

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 No. 1 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 Border-Gavaskar trophy from Australia.

India 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 consecutive Test series, a run that began 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 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 apologized for letting emotion get the better of him.

On Monday, footage indicated he called Murali Vijay a “cheat” for wrongly claiming a catch.

“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 apologize for that,” Smith said.

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

“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,” Kohli said.

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