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MOHALI: Australia resisted like a girl with an attitude, but gave in eventually to a relentless suitor as India won the third Test by six wickets to go 3-0 up in the series. The fourth and last match will be played in New Delhi from March 22 when India will attempt to win four Tests in a series for the first time in their history.
Set a target of 133 in a minimum of 27 overs, India hit the promised land for the loss of Murali Vijay (26), Cheteshwar Pujara (28) and Virat Kohli (34) and Sachin Tendulkar (21). For a brief while it appeared that Australia may confine India to a draw. Thirty were needed in fifty-six balls when Kohli flicked Peter Siddle to short mid-wicket.
Tendulkar and MS Dhoni (18*) played through a phase of quiet as the requirement escalated, and the maestro’s sharp run-out by David Warner gave Australia another look-in to enforce a draw. But Ravindra Jadeja walked in to cream boundaries against Siddle, setting an example for his skipper to follow: Dhoni decided things with three fours off Mitchell Starc and then uprooted a stump as a souvenir.
The win at Mohali was largely set up by Shikhar Dhawan’s blazing 187 on debut that was scored across two sessions on Saturday and made up for the time lost on account of the first-day washout. Dhawan was named Man of the Match, but did not come out to bat on Monday as he has injured his hand while fielding. India were also served well by Jadeja's left-arm spin, that claimed six wickets - three in each innings - in the match. Jadeja has dismissed Michael Clarke five times in this series.
Australia were effectively 79 for eight at lunch, with 52 overs remaining, and were rescued by two stubborn alliances: thirty-six in 16.1 overs between Starc and Haddin, and 44 in 18 overs between Starc and Xavier Doherty for the last wicket. Ravichandran Ashwin deceived Haddin with a ‘carrom’ ball immediately after lunch.
Starc and Doherty stretched the lead to 132 before the first innings scorer of 99 was done in by Jadeja for 35. This meant that India had 90 minutes plus a minimum of 15 mandatory overs to reach the target. The hosts got there, not in a tearing hurry, but well within the time stipulated, and will head to Delhi soaring on a first-ever 3-0 cushion over Australia.
Earlier, Australia resumed in the morning three down on 75, sixteen ahead, and were all out for 223 mid-way into the second session. They suffered the first jolt when night-watchman Nathan Lyon edged Pragyan Ojha to Dhoni. Australia’s spasm-wreaked captain, Clarke, lasted for 49 deliveries before Jadeja dismissed him for the fifth time this series – via an inside-edged bat-pad that was gobbled up by Pujara at short-leg.
The next dismissal was rather unfortunate. Phil Hughes (69) who had infinitely multiplied his series gains in the course of one attacking knock, was given out ‘lbw’ to Ashwin when the delivery seemed likely to miss leg-stump. All-rounder Moises Henriques (2) lasted ten balls before Jadeja flung himself to his left to accept a blinding return-catch. Siddle had his off-stump knocked back by Ojha, clearing the way for Haddin and Starc to delay the inevitable. Also Read