3rd Test: Australia beat India by 9 wickets in Indore, qualify for WTC final
Indore: In the end, there were no miracles, but plenty of twists and turns, mixed with mind games by players on both sides. With only 76 needed, Australia secured a 9-wicket victory against India at the Holkar Stadium in Indore on Friday.
With this victory on Day 3, Australia sealed their World Test Championship final spot. India lead the four-match Border-Gavaskar Trophy series 2-1 with one Test to go in Ahmedabad, which India will need to win to reach the WTC final.
AS IT HAPPENED
Ravichandran Ashwin bowled the first over of the day and he instantly made an impression by having Usman Khawaja caught behind by Srikar Bharat on the second ball of the day. Khawaja took the review but the replays showed an edge much to the delight of the Indians.
Travis Head (49*) and Marnus Labuschagne (28*) ensured there were no more hiccups and guided Australia to victory.
The momentum changed decisively in favour of Australia after the ball change following the 10th over.
Ashwin was not happy even after the change of ball and that reflected in his bowling. Head smashed the star Indian spinner for a four and six over mid-on in the 11th over as the premier spinner was guilty of bowling too full.
Head took the attack to Jadeja in the following over, hitting one straight over the bowler’s head, and that also gave confidence to Labuschagne who went for the sweep in the same over to take the score 35 for one in 12 overs.
After that, there was no looking back for the Australian duo who had gained enough confidence to go for their shots.
Labuschagne hit the winning runs, a four over mid-wicket, to complete a memorable victory.
In the end, India paid the price for preparing a rank turner, eventually, falling-in-one’s-own-trap.
Captain Rohit Sharma, who had said a day before this Test, “what has happened to them (Australia) in this series could happen to us, because of the (turning) pitches”, proved to be prophetic.
Nathan Lyon tore the heart out of the Indian batting line-up earning his second-best Test figures in the process. Lyon took 8/64 in India’s second innings to turn the match on its head on Day 2.
The match was set up for Australia on Day 1 when they skittled out India for 109.
Wins in India come rare for the visiting teams and it was no different for Australia, who recorded their first victory on Indian soil in six years.
For India, it was only their third defeat in the last 10 years and they will need to rework their plans ahead of the final Test, beginning in Ahmedabad from March 9.