India vs Australia, 3rd Test, Day 3 Highlights : Australia defeated India by nine wickets in the third Test on a ground with vicious spin and inconsistent bounce, securing their place in Friday’s World Test Championship (WTC) final in Indore. Travis Head (49 not out) and Marnus Labuschagne (28 not out) overcame jitters to lead Australia to victory in 18.5 overs, completing the match in just over two days. Wins in India are exceptional for visiting teams, and Australia’s first victory in six years was no exception.
It was only India’s third defeat in the last 10 years, and they will need to reconsider their tactics before the final Test, which begins on March 9 in Ahmedabad. The pitches in the series have also been harshly criticised, and it remains to be seen whether India’s preference for spin-friendly tracks will change in the future, with the home side’s batters unable to cope with the difficult circumstances.
In their two innings, India only managed 109 and 163.
After Australia’s collapses in the second innings of Nagpur and Delhi on Friday morning, “everything” was imaginable. Australia were favourites to chase a meagre 76, but R Ashwin boosted hopes of a miracle when he caught Usman Khawaja behind in the second ball of the day.
On its way to the wicketkeeper, the ball took a fast turn and a light tickle. The wicket added to the tension in the Australian dressing room.
Labuschagne calmed the jitters by square cutting Ravindra Jadeja for the day’s first boundary.
Both Labuschagne and Head, who is known for his offensive attitude, looked to defend in the first 10 overs, with Australia reaching 13 for one.
However, the momentum switched dramatically in Australia’s favour once the ball was changed after the 10th over.
Even after changing balls, Ashwin remained dissatisfied, and it showed in his bowling. Head whacked the great Indian spinner for four and six over mid-on in the 11th over because the premier spinner was bowling too full.
In the next over, Head attacked Jadeja, hitting one clean over the bowler’s head, giving Labuschagne the confidence to go for the sweep in the same over, bringing the score to 35 for one in 12 overs.
There was no turning back for the Australian pair who had gained the confidence to take their chances.
To finish off a thrilling victory, Labuschagne scored the winning runs, a four over mid-wicket.
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