ADELAIDE, Australia - A resurgent Australia completed a 4-0 series sweep of India in imperious fashion on Saturday, mopping up the tourists' tail inside an hour of the final day to record a 298-run win in the fourth test at the Adelaide Oval.
India resumed on 166-6 needing to bat out the day for an unlikely draw, but Australia took just 58 minutes to take the final four wickets as the tourists were bowled out for 201.
Australia scored a match-controlling 604-7 declared and then dismissed India for 272. Then, electing not to enforce the follow-on, Australia batted again and set India 500 runs for victory.
Local spinner Nathan Lyon, who was a curator at the Adelaide Oval in the last Australian summer, took four wickets and fast bowler Ryan Harris claimed three to push India to its eighth straight defeat in overseas tests.
Fast bowler Peter Siddle, who took five wickets in the first innings on a good batting pitch, was named man-of-the match, while skipper Michael Clarke with 626 runs over six innings was named as player-of-the series.
Stung by recent poor results, Australia had remorselessly gone about out-batting, out-bowling, out-fielding, and even outthinking India throughout a series which most expected to be a hard-fought one but which turned into a whitewash.
Coming into the series off a rare home loss to New Zealand at Hobart, and with many of the senior players under severe pressure to retain their places in the team, Australia produced a defiant performance.
"A lot of hard work has gone into getting this result," Clarke said.
"The loss in South Africa and New Zealand is something every player in that changeroom has in the front of their mind ... and been a bit of an inspiration to make sure when we feel things are going well to keep pushing forward to make the best of the momentum.
"You need to go through those tough times individually and as a team to realize how hard test cricket is, (and) how special when you have days like these and win a series."
While Australia took 80 Indian wickets in the series, the India bowling attack managed just 36 wickets over the four tests. Australia scored five centuries in the series including a triple hundred and two double hundreds, while India managed just one in eight innings thanks to 116 by rookie Virat Kohli in the first innings here.
Australia's bowling dominance was made even more creditable for the fact it was achieved without regular opening bowler Mitchell Johnson and youngster Pat Cummins for the entire series and with fresh young quick James Pattinson sidelined for the last two tests.
"Our bowlers should be very proud of what they have achieved, to be able to get so many great players out, on a couple of wickets that were quite hard for batting but then also a couple of wickets that were very good for batting," Clarke said.
Coming off a similar 4-0 series loss in England, the previously No. 1-ranked India test team plummeted to a deeper low. It began the series with a 122-run defeat in the first test in Melbourne, followed by an innings and 68-run loss in the second test in Sydney. In the third test, it was hammered by an innings and 23 runs inside 2 1/2 days.
The subcontinent-like pitch here represented India's best opportunity to win a test and redeem some of its reputation, but once again its much-vaunted batting order was unable to withstand Australia's strong pace attack.
The poor performances in England and Australia have prompted calls for an overhaul of the aging batting lineup.
India's media manager G.S. Walia said after the game there was "no truth to these reports" about the immediate retirement of Rahul Dravid but he and V.V.S. Laxman will be among those worried about their places in the team, while 38-year-old Sachin Tendulkar is coming close to the end of his splendid career.
Stand-in skipper Virender Sehwag urged selectors and fans to stand by the experienced batsmen, and not to dwell on this series whitewash.
"We failed as a batting unit here," Sehwag said. "The best thing is to forget what has happened.
"The fans are upset and they have the right to feel so. But at the same time they should support the team at difficult times. They were all rejoicing when we won the World Cup (last year). We need the support then we're down as well. There should be a balance."
Australia meanwhile has had its confidence restored and it is beginning to play the brand of cricket that made it the No. 1 team for most of the 1990s and 2000s. With Clarke having now earned his stripes as captain, and his predecessor Ricky Ponting experiencing a late-career renaissance, the Australians will be ready to push again for that No. 1 ranking.
"We've shown a lot of people around the world that we're on the way up," Clarke said. "There's still a lot of improvement needed in all of our game individually and as a team."
In the official test rankings, India was clinging onto third spot with 111.10 points while Australia was fourth on 110.80. England remains at No. 1 and South Africa at No. 2.