India wrapped up a series whitewash over Australia yesterday by securing a six-wicket win on day three of the fourth Test in Delhi. Cheteshwar Pujara’s unbeaten 82 saw the hosts comfortably home with 158 for 4 after skittling their beleaguered opponents for 164 in their second innings.
“It’s extremely disappointing,” said Shane Watson, the stand-in captain replacing Michael Clarke, who went down with back trouble. “We came here with high hopes of having a good series and the 4-0 is what we deserved. The Indians have totally outplayed us.”
Australia, whose next series is the Ashes, might have arrived with high hopes but they fell foul of a committed Indian side and their own internal squabblings that saw four of their players, including Watson, stood down for the third Test as they didn’t hand in their thoughts on the first two Tests to coach Mickey Arthur.
“We haven’t played to our best unfortunately,” added Watson. “It certainly has been a big learning curve, and one of the biggest challenges for us as a team is continuing to learn very quickly.”
Asked about his inability to add to his two Test hundreds, the last of which came 30 months ago, Watson added: “Hopefully I haven’t rubbed off on too many of them because that would be a shame if they all get my disease. For all of us as top-order batsmen, it has been very disappointing.
“Michael continues to be in amazing form. It just hasn’t been good enough from all of us to be able to score the runs we know we needed, especially in the first innings.
“I’m the first one to put my hand up because I certainly haven’t been good enough in this series. For me as an experienced senior player, it’s part of my role to be able to stand up and score runs. It has been very disappointing not to be able to do that. I personally take a lot of blame for that.”
Ravindra Jadeja took 5 for 58 to do most of the damage to the Australians’ second innings, with only tail-ender Peter Siddle offering any resistance with 50 – following his maiden Test half-century in the first innings – as Australia’s batsmen undid all the good work of Nathan Lyon’s 7 for 94 in India’s first innings.
The chase always looked well within India’s grasp and was achieved with room to spare, despite two more wickets for Lyon, who finished with nine for the match. Siddle became the first No 9 to top score for his side in both innings of a Test.
The India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni spoke of the improvement since his side lost 2-1 to England in the Test series at the end of last year.
“The last one and a half years has not been great for us in Tests,” he said, “but the players have showed a lot of character. You need to battle it out.”
Jadeja was man of the match for his overall 7 for 98, and man of the series was R Ashwin, who took 29 wickets in the four Tests. He said: “There were a few changes I had to make after the England series. Very happy at how it has come out. I had to work on my delivery stride, I definitely needed a kick on the backside and the coaches gave me one.”
In what could be his final Test innings, Sachin Tendulkar was out lbw for one off the fifth ball he faced.