Virat lifts Test mace as India clean sweep New Zealand


Indore (India)—Spinner Ravichandran Ashwin claimed seven wickets to lead India’s whitewash of New Zealand as the hosts romped to a 321-run victory on day four of the third and final Test on Tuesday.
Ashwin with career-best match figures of 13-140 helped India skittle out the visitors, who were chasing a daunting 475-run target, for 153 in under two sessions of play at Indore.
Ashwin, the highest wicket-taker in the three Tests with 27 scalps, was named both man of the match and player of the series. With the series victory, India snatched the prestigious ICC Test mace from Pakistan.
India, who climbed to the top of the world Test rankings after their series-clinching win in Kolkata, remain in number one position ahead of Pakistan.
Test captain Misbah-ul-Haq was handed the mace last month at Qaddafi Stadium, Lahore after the last Test between the West Indies and India ended as a draw due to rain.
Earlier, Pakistan had made a thumping return in the four-match series against England with a 10-wicket win at The Oval, London to level the series that saw Pakistan stay at number two spot. New Zealand, whitewashed in India for the second successive time after their 2-0 loss in 2012, suffered an early blow when Umesh Yadav trapped opener Tom Latham lbw for six.
The visitors took tea on 38 for one but lost nine more wickets in the final session of play.
Ashwin, who registered his 21st five-wicket haul in Tests, took charge in the evening session to remove skipper Kane Williamson for 27.
It was the fourth time in a row that the Black Caps’ star batsman, who missed the second Test due to a viral infection, had been dismissed by Ashwin.
Ross Taylor showed some aggressive intent with 32 off 25 balls including five fours and a six, but did not last long before he was bowled by another Ashwin turner.
Left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja soon joined forces with Ashwin to dash New Zealnd’s hopes of surviving the day after getting the all-important wickets of Martin Guptill and James Neesham.
Ashwin then disposed of the tail as the hosts celebrated their 3-0 series triumph.
Earlier in the day, a century by Cheteshwar Pujara put the hosts on course to set New Zealand a daunting victory target at India’s newest Test venue, Indore’s Holkar Stadium.
Pujara struck an unbeaten 101 as India, who started the day on 18 without loss, declared their second innings on 216 for three in the afternoon session.—AFP