CRICKET

Ashwin to the fore as India seal whitewash of New Zealand

Ravichandran Ashwin was named man of the match and the series as the hosts completed a 3-0 win in the final Test in Indore on Tuesday

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Ashwin to the fore as India seal whitewash of New Zealand
PUNIT PARANJPE AFP

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's 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 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.

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.

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.

"The bowlers have responded beautifully every time we've been in pressure. Someone has always put up their hand," said Indian skipper Virat Kohli.

"And that's the difference: this team is up, we get wickets in bunches. We have that attitude and we do get the results."

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 he had dismissed the Black Caps' star batsman, who missed the second Test due to a viral infection.

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 Zealand'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 home side celebrated their 3-0 series triumph.

Ashwin (left) celebrates with his team-mates after taking the wicket of New Zealand's Ross Taylor during the third day of third Test in Indore.

Earlier in the day, a century by Cheteshwar Pujara had put India on course to set New Zealand a daunting victory target at their 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.

Pujara, who recorded his eight Test hundred, put on 76 for the second wicket with Gautam Gambhir (50).

"If you see Pujara hitting a fast bowler back over his head, it is the best example of expressing yourself. This is a proper team series win. It wasn't just one individual," said Kohli.

India had already gained the upper hand after bowling out New Zealand for 299 in response to their massive first innings score of 557 for five declared.

Kohli's second Test double-century paved the way for India's dominance as he registered his career-best score of 211.

The star batsman put on a record 365-run fourth-wicket partnership with Ajinkya Rahane (188) to keep the New Zealand bowlers on the field for close to six sessions.

"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," said a disappointed Williamson.