ADELAIDE, Jan 28 (PTI): India�s under-fire cricketers succumbed to their second successive Test whitewash overseas after Australia humiliated them by 298 runs in the fourth and final Test to clinch the Border-Gavaskar Trophy in one of the most lopsided series in recent memory here today.
Chasing a mammoth 500 for a win, India�s tailend resistance did not last long before the listless visitors were bundled out for 201 runs in 69.4 overs in their second innings to give the resurgent Australians an emphatic 4-0 series triumph.
The fifth and final day of the only Test that went the whole hog in the entire series started with Australia needing just four wickets to wrap it up in style and the home side took just 59 minutes to complete the formalities. India, thus, suffered their eighth straight overseas defeat after having been whitewashed 0-4 in England last year. Resuming at 166 for six, the Indians lasted 13-odd overs during which they added 35 runs before being bowled out for 201.
The famed but miserably out of form top order had failed the team yesterday itself and not much was expected of the tail that rarely wags.
It went perfectly to the script for the Australians, who were considered too inexperienced to handle the sheer weight of runs that the Indian batsmen brought with them at the start of the series. But the sprightly home unit, under an in-form and shrewd Michael Clarke, turned the tables magnificently.
In fact, the result has left the much-vaunted batting trio of Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman battling to save their career after failing to score a single hundred against an inexperienced but disciplined and spirited bowling attack.
Earlier today, the sight of Indian tailenders prompted Clarke to start the proceedings with his faster bowlers and they responded to his skipper�s call by removing the two overnight batsmen Ishant Sharma (2) and Wriddhiman Saha (3) in the first three overs of the day. Ishant was the first to depart, poking at a Ryan Harris delivery which wicketkeeper Brad Haddin had no problem in pouching.
Next over, Saha followed suit in identical fashion, caught by Haddin off Peter Siddle.
Zaheer, unlike his previous innings in the series, seemed determined to spend time at the crease rather than flashing at every delivery.
He batted for 18 balls from which he scored 15 runs with the help of four boundaries before Ben Hilfenhaus sent him packing. Zaheer lobbed a simple catch to David Warner in the covers while trying to pull a short delivery off Hilfenhaus.
Umesh Yadav was the last wicket to fall, handing Haddin his third catch of the morning off Nathan Lyon�s bowling. Ravichandran Ashwin remained unbeaten for India on 15 which came off 31 balls.
Off-spinner Lyon turned out to be the best bowler for Australia, finishing with impressive figures of four for 63, while Harris picked up three wickets for 41 runs. The result was a grim reminder of India�s batting inadequacies on foreign tracks and the over-dependence on Zaheer Khan in the bowling department. Barring the young Virat Kohli, no other Indian batsman scored a century and some astonishing selection decisions only added to the frustration.
Despite repeated failure of Laxman, a promising Rohit Sharma was made to warm the benches. In fact, Kohli�s hundred here only reaffirmed the belief that youth could have made the difference.
The result has led to India dropping a rung to third in the ICC rankings, another setback for the team which was world number one not so long ago.
If the batsmen were a failure, the bowling was no better, given that Australia were allowed to go off the hook despite their own top-order failures.
Clarke and the veteran duo of Ricky Ponting and Michael Hussey plundered runs, feeding off India�s inconsistency. Both Clarke and Ponting accumulated over 500 runs in the series.
The 38-year-old Ponting, who was one the verge of being thrown out of the team due to prolonged lack of form, was back in his elements and broke his two-year-old hundred drought in style to secure his place at least for the time being.
Australia 1st Innings: 604 for 7 decl & 167 for 5 decl
India 1st Innings: 272
India 2nd Innings: (Overnight 166 for six) Gautam Gambhir c Haddin b Harris 3, Virender Sehwag c Ponting b Lyon 62, Rahul Dravid c Hussey b Harris 25, Sachin Tendulkar c Cowan b Lyon 13, VVS Laxman c Marsh b Lyon 35, Virat Kohli run out 22, Ishant Sharma c Haddin b Harris 2, Wriddhiman Saha c Haddin b Siddle 3, Ravichandran Ashwin not out 15, Zaheer Khan c Warner b Hilfenhaus 15, Umesh Yadav c Haddin b Lyon 1. Extras: (LB-3, W-2) 5. Total: (all out in 69.4 overs) 201. Fall of wicket: 1-14, 2-80, 3-100, 4-110, 5-162, 6-166, 7-166, 8-170, 9-193, 10-201. Bowling: Harris 19-5-41-3, Hilfenhaus 11-2-35-1, Siddle 14-5-47-1, Lyon 21.4-4-63-4, Hussey 2-0-3-0, Clarke 2-0-9-0.