Ravichandran Ashwin’s career-best Test figures helped India thrash New Zealand by 321 runs in the third Test at Indore and take the series 3-0. Set an impossible target of 475, the Blackcaps were bowled out for 153 and handed India their second-biggest Test victory on day four.
Cheteshwar Pujara’s first century of the series was followed by India’s swift declaration with the score at 216/3. A target in excess of 450 was always going to be difficult even if New Zealand had time on their hands, in the end, Ashwin’s seven-wicket haul meant they didn’t even last the day.
Kane Williamson’s advice to England, Bangladesh and Australia
New Zealand captain Kane Williamson admitted that he knew it was going to be tough but India were better in all areas. He said: "That's fair, we knew coming in, it was going to be tough. We wanted to show better cricket than we did, but full credit to India. They outplayed us in all areas and we have to weather these wounds.”
Speaking about his advice for England, Bangladesh and Australia, he said: “Winning the toss would be helpful.”
On this game, he said: "I suppose in this match, we can look at a number of areas we didn't do too well. India from the start outplayed us, getting such a big total. And we knew it would be a tough task batting on this pitch last. They’re No. 1 in the world, a fantastic effort.”
“(Speaking about the takeaways from the series) The beauty of it is that we have a young side, and being exposed against the best bowling attack in the world is that we can learn. It's a shame we haven't done so quickly enough. It's tough to swallow, but the opportunity to learn playing against some of the best bowlers in the world in these conditions is a big thing”
For his career-best Test figures and 27 wickets in the series, Ravichandran Ashwin took home the Man of the Match and the Man of the Series awards.
"First things first, I would like to thank the crowd of Indore, coming out in large numbers. It felt like a Test from the 90s,” he said. “It was a wicket where you had to work hard, be patient. there was a little bit of help outside the off stump, in terms of footmarks. Second innings, they helped us out with their shots. The reason we were slow was because he wanted to get them driving. There was not much bounce to get catches at short leg. I knew Boult was coming, and he’d give me footmarks, so I wanted them lunging out.”
Speaking about the bowling attack, he added: “I have to give special mention ot Shami, Bhuvi and Umesh, they got us a lot of wickets with reverse swing and Jaddu is a perfect foil. Virat had told me he was trying to rotate the bowlers, and it did help, Jaddu got the wicket of Guptill. I feel really good about myself and my confidence is sky high.”
India captain Virat Kohli admitted he “couldn't have asked for anything better”.
"Absolutely, couldn't have asked for anything better. The bowlers have responded beautifully every time we've been in pressure. Someone has always put up their hand. And that's the difference, this team is up, we get wickets in bunches, we have that attitude and we do get the results,” he said.
"We made it clear that the bowlers deserve to be in this position and it's time they express themselves. Don't hesitate in playing your shots. If you see Pujara hitting a fast bowler back over his head, it is the best example of expressing yourself.”
About the series, he says, “This is a proper team series win. It wasn't just one individual. You can leave Ash aside, he is not to be mentioned in the XI. Jadeja with the bat in the first game, Saha in the second, Rohit with those crucial knocks. We keen his numbers, we discuss his Man of the Series awards after every series. No. 6. No. 7... Credit to him I wish him well”
Kohli speaks about No.1 Test ranking
"I've got a few Man of the Match awards, so have the boys. This is much more special. The last time India got the mace, I was watching on Tv. The key right now is maintaining our game. We’re working really hard on the areas needing improvement and we've been able to correct the wrongs quickly and we'd like to continue that and give the people what they want to see,” Kohli said.
Here are the reactions from the cricket fraternity.
Looks to me that @imVkohli is turning India into a formidable Test Team..They look energised,fiery,focused,mixed with a lot of skill#INDvNZ— Michael Vaughan (@MichaelVaughan) October 11, 2016
Superb start for the long Indian cricket season ...congratulations #TeamIndia on 3-0 series win !!— zaheer khan (@ImZaheer) October 11, 2016
Plenty of praise came Ashwin's way as well. Damien Fleming:
Had no doubt that India would win the test series against New Zealand but not in this fashion, they have been crushed. #INDvNZ— Tom Moody (@TomMoodyCricket) October 11, 2016