BANGALORE, Oct 13 (Reuters) - Debutant Cheteshwar Pujara struck a sparkling 72 as India thumped Australia by seven wickets in the second and final test on Wednesday to sweep in the series and consolidate their world number one status.
Man of the series Sachin Tendulkar followed up his first innings double century with an unbeaten 53 to help India chase down the 207-run target.
India’s back-to-back wins not only prolonged Australia captain Ricky Ponting’s wait for his first test victory in the country but also pushed the tourists down to the fifth place, behind England, in the ICC rankings.
“We have played reasonably good test cricket but we were outplayed,” Ponting said during the presentation ceremony.
“I think (Ben) Hilfenhaus and (Mitchell) Johnson have done well and Shane Watson too has been good at the top. Others were a bit inconsistent. I hope we learn from our mistakes.”
Bowler Zaheer Khan and his pace colleague Shanthakumaran Sreesanth set the tone for the home side, taking less than an hour to polish off the Australian tail after they had resumed on 202 for seven.
The last three batsmen could add only 21 runs to their overnight score.
“The bowlers did a real good job. The bowling department really stepped up in both the games,” said India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
India lost Virender Sehwag early on but Pujara’s 72-run stand with opener Murali Vijay brought India’s chase back on track and Tendulkar completed the formality of victory in the company of Rahul Dravid.
“This series was a fantastic one,” said man-of-the-match Tendulkar.
“I would like to congratulate the whole team, starting from (Vangipurappu) Laxman who helped us win, along with Ishant Sharma.”
Laxman and Sharma played an important role in India’s one-wicket win in Mohali but were ruled out of the second test because of injuries.