The World Number-1 Test Team, India routed New Zealand by 321 runs to claim the series 3-0 on day four of the third and final Test at Holkar stadium in Indore. This is India’s first whitewash under the captaincy of Virat Kohli.
India completed a 3-0 whitewash in a devastating fashion as a seven-wicket haul from R Ashwin shot New Zealand out for 153 in their last innings of the series. India declared just under an hour from tea, after Cheteshwar Pujara had completed his eighth Test hundred, to set New Zealand a target of 475 and give them a day and a half to take 10 wickets. They only required 44.5 overs, as New Zealand lost nine wickets for 115 runs in the post-tea session.
Ashwin's figures of 7 for 59 were his best in Test cricket, as were his match figures of 13 for 140. He picked up his 21st five-wicket haul, his sixth ten-wicket match haul, his seventh Player of the Match award and seventh Player of the Series award - fourth in a row - as well. Certainly no one has played a bigger part in India securing the No. 1 Test ranking than this most influential cricketer – Ashwin.
During the culmination ceremony, Virat Kohli was handed the ICC Test championship mace at the end of the match, in front of a capacity crowd in Indore. On behalf of the ICC, the mace was presented by former India captain and ICC Cricket Hall of Famer Sunil Gavaskar. “To be recognised as the best in the traditional form of the game is as good as it gets for any team and stuff that dreams are made of”, said Virat Kohli. “It’s an honour and a moment of great pride to receive the ICC Test Championship mace. To be recognised as the best in the traditional form of the game is as good as it gets for any team and stuff that dreams are made of,” Kohli added. The Indian Captain also credited his players for performing consistently to take the team to the top.Kohli has become only the second India captain after Mahendra Singh Dhoni and 10th overall to receive the mace.
The other captains to have received the mace are Steve Waugh, Ricky Ponting, Michael Clarke, Steve Smith (all Australia), Andrew Strauss (England), Graeme Smith, Hashim Amla (both South Africa) and Misbah-ul-Haq (Pakistan)
ICC Chief Executive David Richardson praised India for regaining the top ranking within weeks of losing it to Pakistan. “I congratulate India for some fine performances which have helped it win the ICC Test Championship mace during a great period for Test cricket. The number-one ranking has changed hands three times in as many months, indicative of the current competitiveness of Test cricket at the highest level, which is great for players and fans”, said ICC Chief Executive. However, the busy calendar means that the race to the top spot for the annual cut-off date of April 1 can be expected to be intense. The side that tops the ICC Test Team Rankings on that date will receive a cash award of $1 million. The side placed second will get $500,000 while those finishing third and fourth will receive $200,000 and $100,000, respectively.