Ravichandran Ashwin yet again proved why winning a Test in India, let alone a series, has become nearly impossible for the visiting teams in the past four years when his 21st five-wicket haul guided India to a massive 321-run win – their second biggest in terms of margin – over New Zealand in Indore on the fourth day of the third Test on Tuesday. By virtue of their win in the Indore Test, India completed a 3-0 series whitewash to reclaim the no 1 ranking in the format. Chasing a massive 475 to win, New Zealand succumbed to Ashwin’s career-best 7/59 and folded for 153 in the final session.

Batting in the fourth innings in Holkar was always going to be a tricky prospect but considering how New Zealand have put up close fights throughout the series should have given them some hope for extending the match to a fifth day. But, as it turned out, that wasn’t the case as Trent Boult gave Ashwin a return catch in the stipulated final over of the day as he finished with his career-best match figures of 13/140.

Simply put, Ashwin was on top of his game and he toyed with their clueless batsmen even though for a brief period Ross Taylor took on him with a counterattacking innings. But Ashwin eventually fooled him and others that followed. The surgical destruction had started when Kane Williamson fell to him for the fourth successive time in the series, pinned in front for 27.

Luke Ronchi (15), Mitchell Santner (14) and Jeetan Patel (0) all were castled by Ashwin while his partner-in-destruction Ravindra Jadeja polished off the first innings top scorers Martin Guptill (29) and Jeetan Patel.
Before the spinners got into the act, Cheteshwar Pujara shifted gears in the second session to an unbeaten eighth Test century as India declared their second innings at 216/3, thus leaving New Zealand five sessions to save the match. Pujara scored his first fifty off 98 deliveries and with the declaration looming large, picked up his scoring rate to score next 51 in 50 balls. The innings was built in typical Pujara fashion – rock solid defense, avoiding risk and full of ground strokes. Gautam Gambhir (50), Virat Kohli (17) and Ajinkya Rahane (23*) were the aggressors and Pujara provided the stability from his end, allowing them to go for quick runs. He kicked up the pace later one, picking boundaries via paddle sweep, late cuts and pull.