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3rd Test, Indore, March 01 - 03, 2023, Australia tour of India
109 & 163
(T:76) 197 & 78/1

Australia won by 9 wickets

Player Of The Match
3/35 & 8/64

Travis Head leads charge to seal emphatic chase for Australia

Australia's counter-punching Indore victory confirms their spot in the WTC final this June

Hemant Brar
Hemant Brar
Australia 197 (Khawaja 60, Jadeja 4-78, Umesh 3-12) and 78 for 1 (Head 49*) beat India 109 (Kuhnemann 5-16, Lyon 3-35) and 163 (Pujara 59, Lyon 8-64) by nine wickets
Australia sealed their place in the final of the World Test Championship with an emphatic nine-wicket win over India in the third Test in Indore. India still have their destiny in their own hands; if they win the fourth Test in Ahmedabad, they will be through as well. But anything less than a win means they rely on New Zealand not losing 2-0 to Sri Lanka.
After Nathan Lyon's 8 for 64 bowled out India out for 163 on the second evening, Australia needed 76 to register their first win in the series. It's not often a fielding side, on the third morning of a Test, has as much hope as India had of defending such a low target.
R Ashwin duly had Usman Khawaja caught behind with the second ball of the day, but Travis Head and Marnus Labuschagne made sure India's hope never really transformed into belief. The two defended well and, once they had their eye in, didn't hesitate to attack either, taking their side over the line in just 18.5 overs.
While Australia now have a chance to draw this series 2-2, India would still retain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, having won the previous series between these two teams.
Australia had lost their last six wickets in 11 runs in their first innings. So Khawaja's wicket early this morning might have made them a little bit nervous, even if momentarily, with both Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja finding turn, extracting bounce, beating the bat, and hitting the pads.
During that phase, Head and Labuschagne focused on survival; runs were an afterthought. In the first ten overs, Australia scored only 13.
Then came the momentum-shifting moment, or at least it looked like one in hindsight. The umpires noticed that a part of the seam of the ball had come off, and asked for it to be replaced. In the first over with the replacement ball, Head hit Ashwin for a four and six. From the other end, Jadeja leaked two boundaries, one each to Head and Labuschagne. That was enough to deflate India's hopes.
Four more boundaries came in the next three overs as Australia raced to 56 in 15 overs. Rohit Sharma introduced Umesh Yadav into the attack after the drinks break but by then the result was a foregone conclusion. There was more interest in seeing if Head could bring up his fifty. He couldn't, staying unbeaten on 49 off 53 balls as Labuschagne wrapped up the game with a four.
Before this Test, Rohit had hinted that India could request a green pitch in Ahmedabad if they win in Indore. They might have to revisit that now.
What will be the final scoreline?
9.1K votes
India 3-1 Australia
India 2-1 Australia
India 2-2 Australia

Hemant Brar is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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