Ajinkya Rahane, India, Australia, Dharamsala Test, KL Rahul
Ajinkya Rahane had the perfect Test match as captainIANS

A minor hiccup or two, plenty of oohs and aahs, lbw shouts and balls flying through the slips, but at the end of it all, India did what they needed to do, knock down the 87 runs that were remaining, get to that 106-run target and wrest back the Border-Gavaskar series from Australia.

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What has been an absolutely riveting series, ended in somewhat of an anti-climax, with India knocking down the runs with eight wickets to spare to clinch the fourth Test match and with it the series 2-1.

"See the first half hour and the match will be done" would have been India's thinking, and credit must be given to KL Rahul, who started the day off in a positive fashion.

While Vijay was happy to defend, Rahul showed the attacking intent that meant Australia found themselves on the backfoot. The right-hander spanked a few boundaries off Steve O'Keefe, who started off the proceedings along with Josh Hazlewood.

Hazlewood was outstanding in his opening spell from one end, getting the ball to nip-back in sharply and causing a bit of strife to both Rahul and Vijay.

However, with such a small target to defend, all India had to do was find a boundary from somewhere and the pressure would be released, which, in turn, would deflate the Australia.

Pat Cummins got the breakthrough that Australia wanted last evening when Vijay (8, 35b), too defensive and too in his shell, even if the chase was such a small one and there were two days to do it, edged one through to wicketkeeper Matthew Wade, in the fast bowler's second over of the day. Vijay should have gone in the previous over, when he gloved one down the legside, and while Wade made a stifled appeal, nobody else from Australia seemed interested.

A little while later, after defending four balls, Cheteshwar Pujara (0, 5b), desperate to get off the mark, went off for a suicidal single, with Glenn Maxwell smashing down the middle stump with the batsman well off his ground.

KL Rahul, India, Australia, Dharamsala Test match, Ajinkya Rahane
KL Rahul celebrates after hitting the winning runs, March 28, 2017Reuters

The cat was making a plan to get amongst the pigeons and in order to alter that plan, India needed a "let's settle down boys" partnership. Ajinkya Rahane said, "na forget settle, let's go for the jugular," and the captain and Rahul (51, 76b, 9x4) hit a glut of boundaries which quickly brought the target down below 50.

And then, Rahane (38 n.o., 27b, 4x4, 2x6) thought why not get some practice for the IPL. As Cummins came from round the wicket, looking to get the short ball in to try and trouble Rahane, the India skipper, knowing what was coming, decided to put the middle of that willow to good use.

First ball – a short, but not quite high, saw Rahane smash a pull shot into the stands.

Next ball, Rahane played one of the shots of the match – making room for himself and thumping the ball over covers for another massive six.

In such a small target, every run was going to hurt Australia, and those runs, so quickly after a double blow, punctured any momentum that might have been building, the cat went back to cleaning himself again, and India celebrated a momentous win.


First innings: Australia: 300 all out in 88.3 overs.

India: 332 all out in 118.1 overs.

First innings lead: India, 32 runs.

Second innings: Australia: 137 all out in 53.5 overs.

Target: 106 runs.

India: 106/2 in 23.5 overs.

Result: India won by eight wickets.

Series result: India clinched the four-match series 2-1.

Bowling: Second innings: Australia: Pat Cummins 8-2-42-1; Josh Hazlewood 6-2-14-0; Steve O'Keefe 4.5-1-22-0; Nathan Lyon 5-0-19-0.

Fall of wickets: Second innings: India: 46/1, Murali Vijay (13.1 overs); 46/2, Cheteshwar Pujara (14 overs).