Travis Head leads charge to seal emphatic chase for Australia

Travis Head leads charge to seal emphatic chase for Australia

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 World Test Championship final with an emphatic nine-wicket victory over India in the third Test at Indore. India still holds its fate in its own hands; if they win the fourth test in Ahmedabad, they will also pass. But anything less than a win means they are confident New Zealand will not lose 2-0 to Sri Lanka.

After Nathan Lyon’s 8-for-64 dismissal of India for 163 on the second night, Australia needed 76 to record their first win in the series. It is not often that a field team, on the third morning of a Test, has as much hope as India of defending such a low target.
R Ashwin duly caught Usman Khawaja with the second ball of the day, but Travis Head and Marnus Labuschagne ensured India’s hope never really turned to belief. The two defended well and once they had their eye on they didn’t hesitate to attack either, bringing their side to the line in just 18.5 overs.

While Australia now has a chance to tie 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 unnerved them a little, if only momentarily, with Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja finding their turn, extracting the rebound, thumping the bat and hitting the pads.

During that phase, Head and Labuschagne focused on survival; racing was an afterthought. In the first ten overs Australia had just 13 on the board.

Then came the momentum change moment, or at least it seemed like one in hindsight. The referees noticed that a part of the seam on the ball had come loose and called for it to be replaced. On the first change with the ball replaced, Head hit Ashwin for a four and six. From the other end, Jadeja leaked two boundaries, one to Head and Labuschagne. That was enough to deflate India’s hopes.