India win Mohali Test, seal series 3-0
Dhawan doubtful for fourth Test
Revenge is always sweet but MS Dhoni displayed little signs of delight following India’s six-wicket win in the third Test that sealed a 3-0 series win over Australia on Monday.
Having survived some anxious moments during the chase of a 133-run target on the final day here at the PCA stadium, Dhoni clobbered Mitchell Starc for three consecutive fours to complete one of India’s most significant wins, pulled out a stump to add to his souvenir collection and quietly moved on to shake hands with the Australians.
Dhoni’s body language barely suggested that this was only the first time India have won three Tests against Australia in a series. Come to think of it, not since Mohammad Azharuddin led his side to a 3-0 triumph over Sri Lanka at home in 1993-94 have India managed to win three Tests in a series.
For the vanquished Australians, too, this was the first instance in almost 24 years when they have lagged 0-3. Allan Border’s young side had crashed to a 1-3 defeat against the West Indies way back in 1988-89 at home.
The victory keeps alive India’s dreams of a 4-0 sweep (the final Test begins in Delhi on March 22) which appeared a distant possibility after the first day’s play had been washed out. The task seemed even harder once Australia coasted to 408 all out in their first innings. But few would have imagined that debutant Shikhar Dhawan (187 off 174 balls) would change the course of the game with a knock that stood out as much for its audacity as for its elegance.
It was a pity that he couldn’t bat in the second innings—and is doubtful for the final Test as well—after injuring a finger on his left hand while fielding during Australia’s second innings, but the Delhiite would be more than happy to have set up the match for the hosts.
Having showed little spunk during the first two Tests, Australia finally signalled they were ready for a scrap. After frustrating India to stretch their second innings, overnight 75/3, to 223 all out, the tourists made India earn each run in what turned out to be an exciting chase. Though the drama was largely of India’s making, an under-fire Aussie attack put the high-flying home batsmen under pressure with a hitherto missing verve and purpose.
Even the normally-unruffled Dhoni appeared uncertain in the face of a few quick dismissals and some incisive fast bowling from Starc and Peter Siddle. Ravindra Jadeja, who cut short Australia’s second innings with three wickets, eased the nerves with two fours in three balls off Siddle before Dhoni finished off things in style.