Ravichandran Ashwin mesmerised the New Zealand batsmen with another magical spell of spin bowling as India completed a 3-0 whitewash of the visitors by winning the third and final Test by a whopping 321 runs here today.
Chasing an improbable 475-run target, Ashwin ripped through the brittle New Zealand batting line-up with a sensational spell of 7 for 59 to skittle the opposition for a paltry 153 in 44.5 overs with an entire day to spare at the Holkar Stadium, which hosted its first ever Test.
The 30-year-old finished with a match haul of 13 for 140 and ended the series with a bagful of 27 wickets to emerge as the standout performer in a thoroughly one sided series which helped India to regain number one position in Tests.
Earlier, resuming at 18 for no loss, the hosts rode on Cheteshwar Pujara’s unbeaten 101, his eighth Test ton, and an aggressive 50 by comeback man Gautam Gambhir before declaring their second innings at 216 for three an hour before the tea break.
There was hardly any resistance from the Kiwi batsmen as Ashwin scalped one wicket after another to demolish the opposition in just about three hours of play, much to the delight of a near capacity Dussehra crowd.
The pitch in this match did not turn as much as it did in the earlier two games but still New Zealand batsmen looked clueless against the Indian spinners.
Indian coach Anil Kumble and his entire staff erupted in joy in the dressing room as Ashwin fittingly took the last wicket with a return catch of Trent Boult, triggering wild celebrations on the field as well. It was also Kumble’s first series win at home after the success in the West Indies.
The focus will now shift to the five match ODI series beginning at Dharamsala from October 16 with Mahendra Singh Dhoni taking over the reins of the team from Kohli.