With a 2-1 series victory over Australia after the fourth and final test ended in a tie on Monday, India kept their vice-like hold on the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.
The cherry on top was being selected to play Australia in the World Test Championship (WTC) final, albeit with a little help from New Zealand earlier in the day.
With a 2-0 series victory over Tim Southee’s team, Kane Williamson helped New Zealand pull off a thrilling last-ball victory in Christchurch, ending Sri Lanka’s chances of competing in the WTC final.
India has won 16 straight test series on home soil, and they currently hold the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.
India had a 91-run first-innings advantage, putting them in an invincible position, but Australia’s collapse was what would determine whether they would win the series again.
However, the Narendra Modi Stadium pitch did not deteriorate as much as their spinners would have liked, as only 21 wickets fell there in five days.
Before the sides decided on a draw, Travis Head scored 90 runs and added 139 runs to a stand with Marnus Labuschagne, who hit 63 runs while remaining unbeaten.
“It was a really hard fought series,” India coach Rahul Dravid said.
“Australia is a very good team. They’ve come here well prepared, they are the number one side in the world.
“To be able to compete with them, to be able to get the better of them, even though it was in our conditions… I couldn’t be prouder.”
With a draw looming in Ahmedabad, Dravid said they were following the match in Christchurch.
“Nice also to make the World Test Championship final.
“It’s not easy. Over two years, you got to produce results home and away.”
India took advantage of the fact that Australia was playing them at home by rolling out ferocious turners that suited their spinners.
The first three tests were all completed in less than three days each, drawing criticism for the pitches where spinners from both teams ruled the day.
The Ahmedabad pitch proved to be still another extreme, as only 21 wickets were lost in five days of play as the game drew to a dreary conclusion.
Australia had a difficult tour because of a string of injuries and other problems.
Due to finger injuries, Mitchell Starc and all-rounder Cameron Green missed the first two tests, while paceman Josh Hazlewood went home without taking part in a game.
Their erratic starter David Warner broke his elbow in the second test and was forced to return home, ruining the series.
After the second test, regular captain Pat Cummins also took a flight home to be with his dying mother, leaving Smith in control of a depleted team.
Smith believed that despite dominating the first part of the second test in Delhi, their loss damaged them in the series.
“Guys were pretty upset with the way we went away from our methods in that game, it was disappointing,” Smith said.
“Obviously at that point we knew there was plenty to still play for in the series and guys responded really well and as a group we are proud of the way we bounced back and play some good cricket in the last couple of test matches.”
For his meticulous 186, Virat Kohli was named player of the match. This was his first test hundred since November 2019.
Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja, teammates on the spin unit, split the player-of-the-series honour.
A three-match one-day series between the clubs will now begin on Friday in Mumbai.
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