India took just an hour after Lunch on the fourth day’s play to wrap up an innings and 198-run victory in the third and final Test against New Zealand at Nagpur. The morning session was a total disaster with the visitors losing as many as 7 wickets though two of them were due to wrong umpiring decisions.
All the bowlers except Sreesanth got amongst the wickets to see New Zealand get bundled out for 175 in 51.2 overs. The first wicket of the day’s play was taken by Pragyan Ojha after Brendon McCullum going back to an arm ball for a flick shot got hit on the pad by one that straightened around middle and leg. McCullum got out in the last ball of the third over of the morning for a 38-ball 25. Ojha picked up the wicket of Guptill with his very next ball, the first ball of the 16th over to reduce the Kiwis to 38 for 3 and find himself on a hat-trick which he couldn’t achieve. Guptill (0 from 1 ball) was unlucky to be given out lbw by Simon Taufel to a ball that pitched outside leg, no matter that it turned enough to hit the frontpad plumb infront of middle.
Now that Ojha had struck twice, it was the turn of Harbhajan also to strike twice to leave New Zealand at 93 for 5. His first victim today was night watchman Gareth Hopkins who inside edged a flick shot onto his pad and got brilliantly caught one handed by Gambhir at short leg. Harbhajan got the ball to turn in sharply to get the better of that flick shot from Hopkins (8 from 35 balls). About 8 overs later, lady luck smiled on Harbhajan when Umpire Nigel Llong gifted him with the wicket of Ross Taylor (29 from 41 balls) who was given caught bat pad though the ball only hit the pad and nothing else.
With the spinners taking half of the Kiwi side, it was Ishant Sharma getting the ball in his hands and coming up with the wicket of Kane Williamson (8 from 25 balls), cleaning up his stumps with a short of length delivery that stayed very low. Jesse Ryder, who was batting with Guptill as the runner lost patience as he stepped down the track to Suresh Raina but only to lose his wicket after smacking the ball flat in the air and safely into the hands of Ishant at mid off. Ryder scored 22 from 53 balls and his dismissal saw New Zealand sink to 123 for 7. Vettori (13 from 20 balls) continued to have a poor series with the bat and he became the sixth victim of Suresh Raina’s Test career after going back for a flick and missing a ball that straightened to hit the pad in line of the middle stump.
New Zealand went to Lunch at 140 for 8 in 44 overs. A few lusty blows off the spinners after the break from Southee paved the return of Ishant Sharma and he took two wickets in two balls to end the match without a fuss. Ishant first defeated an ugly slog across the line from Southee (31 from 25 balls with 3 sixes) to hit the stumps and then went through Chris Martin’s zero defences to strike timber again.
Ishant Sharma finished with 3 for 15 in 6.2 overs only while taking his match tally to an impressive 7 for 58! Harbhajan Singh took 3 for 56, Ojha 2 for 67 and Suresh Raina came up with dream figures of 2-1-2-2! Rahul Dravid got the Man of the Match for his 191 and Harbhajan Singh with his two hundreds and bowling efforts got the Man of the Series award.