India clinch 2-1 series victory on day five in Ahmedabad

India clinch 2-1 series victory on day five in Ahmedabad

The fourth and final test of the series petered out to a draw on day five in Ahmedabad as the trend of batting dominance continued on a pitch unwilling to show any signs of life. Travis Head and Marnus Labuschagne added fifties before the captains decided to shake hands on a draw, helping India secure another Border-Gavaskar series victory and clinch their place in the final of the ICC World Test Championship at the Oval.

India extend their extraordinary dominance at home in red-ball cricket with this victory as the Men in Blue completed their 16th consecutive Test series win at home. Rohit Sharma’s side also continued their recent trend of outmatching Australia in the longest format, with India winning their fourth Border-Gavaskar series in a row by a margin of 2-1.

Australia began day five with a deficit of 88 runs, needing to survive just two of the three sessions to avoid defeat. India faced the uphill task of taking ten wickets on a benign pitch to claim an unlikely victory, and the hosts started on the front foot as Ravichandran Ashwin removed the night-watchman in the first half-hour. The off-spinner trapped Kuhnemann on the pads with a straighter one, but the left-hander would have been spared had he chosen to review the decision, with the ball going on to miss leg stump.

The Indian spinners kept things tight throughout the opening hour of the day and received some assistance from the surface, but the batters still found life straightforward on a pitch lacking any rough patches or uneven bounce. Travis Head went on the offensive after a sedate start, taking on the Indian spinners down the ground.

The runs came at a faster rate after the Lunch break, with Head bringing up his fifty and taking Australia into the lead. The left-hander was motoring on his way to a century before Axar Patel burst through his defences on 90, finding the top of off-stump to pick up his 50th wicket in Test cricket in just his 12th Test match.

Patel also found the outside edge of Steve Smith on nought, only for KS Bharat to drop the skipper behind the stumps. Smith and Labuschagne batted through till the final session of the day without much discomfort, including comfortably seeing out some part-time spin from Shubman Gill and Cheteswar Pujara, before the two captains shook hands on a draw to finish the series at 2-1 in favour of the hosts.