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Harbhajan And Mishra Spin India To Victory

441 (Tendulkar 109, Krejza 8-215) & 295 (Dhoni 55, Harbhajan Singh 52) beat
Australia 355 (Katich 102, Hussey 90) & 209 (Hayden 77, Harbhajan Singh 4-64) by 172 runs
Airtel Border-Gavaskar Trophy, fourth Test, Nagpur
By John Pennington

Spinners Harbhajan Singh and Amit Mishra shared seven wickets as India inflicted a series defeat on Australia for the first time since September 2005 by bowling them out for 209 to secure a 172-run win in the fourth and final Test on the final day in Nagpur.

Australia were 111 for three at lunch before Indian spinners Harbhajan Singh (4-64) and Amit Mishra (3-27) struck in the afternoon to take back the Border-Gavaskar Trophy with a 2-0 series win.

Matthew Hayden hit 77 in 93 balls as he shared in a partnership worth 68 with Michael Hussey (19) before India took control.

Harbhajan had Hayden trapped in front shortly after Mishra had Hussey caught by Rahul Dravid and that was almost immediately followed with Brad Haddin departing, caught by Sachin Tendulkar as Australia lost three wickets for 11 runs.

Shane Watson (nine) and Brett Lee (nought) fell victim to Harbhajan's off-spin and Jason Krejza was stumped by Mahendra Singh Dhoni off of Mishra.

Cameron White was left unbeaten on 26 when Mitchell Johnson was trapped in front by Harbhajan for 11 to end the match shortly before tea. Outgoing former captain Saurav Ganguly had been given the reins by Dhoni enabling him to finish his career with a win, and in charge.

"We had motivation, we had plans, the best part was we executed them very well," captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni said afterwards.

In the morning session, Ricky Ponting, heavily criticised for his use of part-time bowlers on day four to avoid punishment for a slow over rate, made eight before he was brilliantly run out by Amit Mishra.

"This tour we've just been totally outplayed," Australia captain Ricky Ponting said afterwards.

"There's no doubt they've used the conditions (better), they've used the ball, they've had a chance to bowl on older wickets.

"Losing three tosses in a row if you don't actually get yourself back in front after the first innings it's very hard to win here.

"We've bowled first in the last three tests where it's hard to get the ball reversing till really late in the day's play. Their batsmen have out-batted us as well."

1-0 down in the series following a 320-run loss in the second Test in Mohali, Australia started the day with little to lose chasing what would be the fifth highest successful run chase in Test history.

Resuming on 13 without loss, Hayden and Katich added just 16 before Katich was caught by captain and wicket-keeper Mahendra Singh Dhoni when he miscued a pull off of Sharma.

Eight balls later Ponting was on his way back having struck two fours in a six-ball stay at the crease when he took on Mishra at mid-off and was run out by some distance by a direct hit.

Third-Test centurion Clarke added 45 with Hayden before he too was caught by Dhoni off of Sharma before Hayden and Hussey took Australia past three figures and ensured there was no further loss of wickets before the lunch break.

The other two Tests in Bangalore and New Delhi were drawn.

© Cricket World 2008