Cricket-India retain Border-Gavaskar Trophy after another three-day romp

By Amlan Chakraborty

NEW DELHI (Reuters) -India hammered Australia inside three days for the second time in a fortnight to retain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy on Sunday and are on the verge of qualifying for the World Test Championship (WTC) final in June.

Ravindra Jadeja, who claimed a career-best 7-42, and Ravichandran Ashwin bowled unchanged in the morning session, engineering a spectacular batting collapse that left India needing 115 runs to go 2-0 up in the four-test series.

India's top order did wobble but the meagre target meant their victory, which came in the second session, was never in doubt.

Captain Rohit Sharma made 31 and Cheteshwar Pujara, playing his 100th test, contributed the same number of runs, including the boundary that sealed victory.

Rohit, with his assured footwork and sweet timing, showed how to play spin on such tracks with a 20-ball cameo before being run out after a big mix-up with Pujara.

"Fantastic result for us," Rohit said.

"Looking at how things were yesterday. How we came back and finished the job was a great effort, particularly from the bowlers."

There was no sign of the impending mayhem when Australia resumed on 61-1 and Travis Head (43) slapped the third ball of the day from Ashwin to the boundary to signal his intention.


What followed was 90 minutes of madness in which Australia imploded and they were bowled out for 113 half an hour before lunch.

Only Head and Marnus Labuschagne (35) managed double digits as the Australian batters capitulated to the guile of India's spinners.

Some, like Steve Smith and Alex Carey, tried to sweep their way out of the trouble only to fall lbw or bowled.

Ashwin (3-59) wrecked Australia's top order before Jadeja ran through the bottom half for a match haul of 10 wickets to earn him his second successive Player-of-the-Match award.

Five of Jadeja's victims were bowled.

Once Jadeja bowled Labuschagne with a ball that kept low, the wheels came off Australia's innings at the Arun Jaitley Stadium.

Their collapse on Sunday was reminiscent of their second innings meltdown in Nagpur where they were all out for 91 losing all 10 wickets in one session.

Australia had made a bold selection gamble picking a three-pronged spin attack and going with skipper Pat Cummins as the sole fast bowler.

Opener David Warner suffered concussion, and a fractured arm, and Matt Renshaw replaced him for the match.

"I thought 260 was a decent score on that first day wicket (but India) batted quite well," Cummins said, referring to their first-innings 263.

"I think this one is particularly disappointing, having been ahead of the game for a lot of it. Those opportunities don't come often in India, so you've got to grab them.

"So unfortunately we missed this one and it hurts a bit. The review over the next few days will be what we could have done differently."

While Australia continue to lead the standings, India would seal a place in the WTC final with victory in the third test in Indore beginning on March 1.

(Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in New Delhi; editing by Michael Perry and Ed Osmond)