Ravichandran Ashwin stars again as India demolish New Zealand to seal Test series sweep

Ravichandran Ashwin claimed seven wickets to lead India's whitewash of New Zealand as the hosts romped to a 321-run victory on Day 4 of the third and final Test on Tuesday.

Ravichandran Ashwin, right, took 27 wickets in the Test series to be named man of the match and man of the series. Punit Pranjpe / AFP
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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 4 of the third and final Test on Tuesday.

Ashwin, with career-best match figures of 13 for 140, helped India skittle the visitors, who were chasing a daunting 475-run target, for 153 in under two sessions of play at Indore.

Ashwin, the highest wicket-taker in the three Tests with 27, 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 No 1 position ahead of Pakistan.

Pakistan can reclaim top spot with victory in their upcoming series against the West Indies in the UAE.

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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.

Ashwin, who registered his 21st five-wicket haul in Tests, took charge in the evening session to remove captain Kane Williamson for 27.

It was the fourth time in a row that New Zealand’s star batsman, who missed the second Test due to a viral infection, had been dismissed by Ashwin.

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 hosts celebrated their 3-0 series triumph.

Earlier in the day, a century by Cheteshwar Pujara put the hosts on course to set New Zealand a daunting victory target at India’s 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 recalled opener Gautam Gambhir (50).

Gambhir had retired hurt on Monday after aggravating his shoulder injury while diving to save himself from being run out.

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.

Captain Virat 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.

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