Euro 2020 Special

India v Australia 3rd Test Review: Lyon Spins Australia to Victory

Australia responded to their defeat in the first two tests against India in style, beating the home side inside three days in the Third Test in Indore. In what proved to be a low-scoring match with no side passing 200, it was the Australian spinners who proved to be the difference.

He took 11 wickets in the match, whilst Matthew Kuhnemann, playing in just his second Test, took six.

Having dominated the opposition in the first two games, this was a rude awakening for India who never recovered from being bowled out inside 34 overs on the first day of the match.


Team News

Whilst India named the same XI as finished the last match, Australia were forced to make two changes.

David Warner had been struck on the head by a delivery in Delhi and was ruled out for the rest of the series following the concussion protocols,with Cameron Green fit again to take his place.

Meanwhile, captain Pat Cummins had flown home to be with his sick mother. Mitchell Starc, although still struggling with a finger injury, was fit enough to play instead, whilst Steve Smith took over as skipper once again.


Match recap

It was his opposite number Rohit Sharma who won the toss and decided to bat first on an Indore pitch that had a reputation as being good for batting. The decision backfired, though, as his team were bowled out for just 109, with Virat Kohli top scoring with 22.

Apart from a late run-out, all the wickets fell to spin, with Kuhnemann taking 5 -16 and Lyon 3 – 35.

When it was Australia’s turn to bat, Usman Khawaja and Marnus Labuschagne showed how it should be done with a second wicket partnership that almost brought the scores to parity.

At one stage, Australia looked like they would build a healthy first innings lead, but a late batting collapse saw six wickets fall for the addition of just eleven runs and they were all out for 197 in the end.

It was India’s own spin twins, Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin, who accounted for most of the victims, took 4 – 78 and 3 – 44 respectively, although Umesh Yadav chipped in with three quick wickets at the end,

Those figures were enough for Ashwin to take over from England’s Jimmy Anderson at the top of the world test rankings.

Faced with a first innings deficit of 88, India needed to bat better second time round. And led by Cheteshwar Pujara, who made 59, they did. However, wickets continued to fall at regular intervals with Lyon the main architect of their downfall.

He applied relentless pressure on a pitch that had resembled a lunar surface by this stage of the match. And helped by some excellent catching, India eventually crumbled under the pressure and were dismissed second time round for 163.

That signalled the end of play on the second day. And although the tourists needed just 76 for victory on the third day, there would have been some anxiety on their part given what had transpired so far in the match.

In the end, they should not have worried. Although they lost Usman Khawaja to Ashwin off only the second ball of the day, Travis Head and Marnus Labuschagne shared an unbeaten partnership of 78 as their side eased to victory,

Head was unbeaten on 49 at the end and Labuschagne finished 28 not out.

The match did not even get as far as lunch on the third day.

That is the third successive test between these two that did not extend to the fourth day of the match and is evidence of what happens when pitches are prepared with spinners in mind.

The tactic worked to India’s advantage in the first two games, so there was an element of karma to the way that it backfired on them this time round.


What this means

Australia are celebrating because not only have they reduced their deficit in the test series, but the win definitely confirms that they will be taking part in the World Test Championship final at the Oval in June.

India remain on course to play them in that match despite the defeat.


What happens next

The Fourth and Final Test in the series begins in Ahmedabad next Thursday 9th March. Australia will now have hopes of drawing the series, whilst India will want to show that what happened in Indore was just a blip.




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