CRICKET

India claim series win over Aussies

Australia's bid for a rare Test series win in India, so full of promise during the past six weeks, was snuffed out when they suffered an eight-wicket belting early on day four of the Dharamsala decider.

Steve Smith's side threatened to complete Australia's second Test series win in India since 1969 after shocking the top-ranked side during the series opener in Pune.

They had control of the second and third Tests early on, lost it, then showed good fight to front up to the fourth and final Test with the series level 1-1.

But Australia's collapses in their first and second innings of the final Test ensured that it all ended not with a bang, but a whimper.

India hauled in the victory target of 106 with ease to complete a 2-1 series win.

Ajinkya Rahane, leading the side in the absence of injured captain Virat Kohli, smacked consecutive sixes off Pat Cummins before KL Rahul stroked the winning runs before lunch on Tuesday.

Both sides turned up to the scenic venue at the foot of the Himalayas on day four knowing Australia required a miracle to make things interesting, let alone genuinely threaten to snatch victory.

The top-ranked Test side resumed at 0-19, requiring a further 87 runs to reclaim the Border-Gavaskar trophy.

Fittingly in a series stacked with spats, twists and momentum shifts, the routine run-chase hit a snag during a dramatic 14th over.

Cummins had Murali Vijay caught behind then Glenn Maxwell uprooted middle stump at the non-striker's end, running Cheteshwar Pujara out for a duck.

India required a further 60 runs at that point.

It could well have been a nail-biting finish if the visitors had not suffered collapses of 3-21, 2-5 and 3-1 on the preceding day, but they didn't have anywhere near enough runs to play with.

STATE OF PLAY - India finished 2-106 in their second innings, winning the Test by eight wickets and the four-Test series 2-1.

MAN OF THE DAY - Ajinkya Rahane. Came to the crease after two wickets fell in an over and showed strong leadership as stand-in skipper, belting a quick-fire 38 off 27 balls.

KEY STAT - This was the fourth occasion ever that India have won a Test series after losing the series opener.

KEY MOMENT - Rahane cracked consecutive bouncers from Pat Cummins for six, calming any nerves in his dressing room and ensuring there would be no late twist in the series.

BEST QUOTE - "I've been pretty intense throughout this series. I really wanted to do well for my team and lead from the front with my performance. At times I've probably been in my own little bubble and let my emotions slip a little bit, so I apologise for that," Australia skipper STEVE SMITH admits he got carried away at various points in the series.

AAP