India regain Border-Gavaskar Trophy
India thumped Australia by 172 runs to win the four-match Test series 2-0 and lift the Border-Gavaskar Trophy in Nagpur, reports Atreyo Mukhopadhyay. See video 1 | See video 2 | Podcast on Indo-Aus Test series. | Stats | For the record.cricket Updated: Nov 11, 2008 12:39 IST
In the end, it happened too quickly. Australia's Mission 382 climaxed and crashed early to hand India a 172-run victory at tea time, making sure that the Border-Gavaskar Trophy will rest snugly at the BCCI's Cricket Centre in Mumbai for some time.
The chase began at good pace but the visitors lost one wicket too many before lunch to sustain it. Matthew Hayden was trying to brave the odds but the speed he set was too much for himself and once he was dismissed in the seventh over after lunch, Australia's hopes were gone.
Even though the spinners did more damage, as expected, it was a medium-pacer once again who kept India in the driver's seat each time Australia threatened to mount a challenge in the opening session. With Zaheer Khan going for 31 in his first five overs including four edges through or past the slips, Ishant Sharma did what is making him Australia's nemesis.
Like during India's last trip to the southern hemisphere, the latest owner of a Toyota Altis didn't strike too many times. But he separated an opening pair that was taking chances and getting away with them. Bowling with eight on the off side once again, he induced a pull Simon Katich had to manufacture and pay for.
Michael Clarke was building a partnership with Hayden after Ricky Ponting was run out, and it was important for India to take another wicket in the first session to ensure that Australia resumed with just two specialist batsmen remaining.
Having got Clarke earlier with one that holds its line after slanting in, Ishant forced an edge with a ball which went through straight.
Waiting for movement, the batsman poked at it at the last moment. The car that came as the Man-of-the-Series award was just reward of this healthy habit of doing limited but serious damage.
An alarming over rate of 21 in two hours forced India to start the second session with spin from both ends. Hayden's frontal assault saw Australia hammer 37 in five overs. M.S. Dhoni introduced Amit Mishra in place of Harbhajan and in another example of things rolling in the skipper's favour, he got Michael Hussey second ball. Hayden was hitting the spinners with power and an element of risk. Harbhajan got him next over coming from the pavilion end. Having hit Virender Sehwag through deep mid-wicket and long-on, he fell trying to repeat it against the bowler who has tormented him since the "obnoxious little weed" saga.
Yesterday for a moment
It took a little longer for the formalities to be completed and gave Dhoni a chance to hand Sourav Ganguly a task he had done rather well. The former captain was asked to take charge after the fall of the ninth wicket. "He told me to do the job for five overs, but I told him after two-three it's his job and he should do it," Ganguly said. What has recently become past made another appearance, in Anil Kumble at the prize distribution function. The man supposed to lead through this series, who said 'over up' after the third Test, touched the Border-Gavaskar Trophy first before Dhoni and Kumble held it jointly. Happy ending it was, in many ways.
First Published: Nov 10, 2008 10:02 IST