Mitchell Starc came steaming in to bowl the first over of the match. The ball moved a bit and Rohit Sharma poked at it. The keeper collected the ball cleanly and the whole Aussie unit went up in unison. The local man and India’s Number 1 umpire, Nitin Menon, shook his head to deny the appeal. The Australians considered taking a DRS, but it was perhaps too risky on the first ball of the innings. The timer went up and the replay showed that Rohit had in fact got a slight edge. There were smirks and head-shaking all around the Aussie camp. The Australians had lost a massive opportunity. India Vs Australia Third Test at Indore had started with a bang!

It had started with luck favouring India, however it ended with the Aussies playing better cricket on a track where the ball was turning 4.8 degrees on Day 1. The Australians won the Test Match, comfortably at the end, with 9 wickets in hand, raising serious questions on the Indian Top order batting.

Result – Australia Won by 9 Wickets

Player of the Match – Nathan Lyon

WTC Scenario –

WTC Final scenarios with India Vs Australia Third Test at Indore going Australia’s way –

The 4th Test between India and Australia and the 1st Test between New Zealand and Sri Lanka both start on March 9.

Stats Update –

This is the first defeat for India in a home Test where they have batted first since losing to England in Kolkata in 2012/13.
India Losing a home Test Inside Three Days
Vs Aus Indore 2022/23
Against Aus Pune 2016/17
Vs SA Ahmedabad 2007/08
Against Aus Mumbai WS 2000/01
Vs SA Mumbai WS 1999/00
Against Eng Kanpur 1951/52
Shortest Home Tests that ended in a Defeat for India
1135 balls Aus vs Ind Indore 2022/23 *
1459 balls Eng vs Ind Kanpur 1951/52
1474 balls WI vs Ind Kolkata 1983/84
1476 balls Aus vs Ind Mumbai WS 2000/01

Match Report – India Vs Australia Third Test at Indore

Disastrous First Hour for the Indians

The Indians would have felt that they got up on the wrong side of the bed in the morning on March 1st when the match commenced. The Captain Rohit Sharma survived two chances, thanks to the poor on-field umpiring decisions. The Aussies, however, did not have much to regret as Rohit never appeared comfortable in any of the balls he faced in his short stint at the crease. The Indian captain was ultimately stumped by Alex Carey for 12 while trying to take on the rookie spinner Kuhnemann. The Indians were just starting to feel the jitters of playing on a rank-turner. The much-anticipated comeback of Shubhman Gill did not yield any benefit for Team India as he was caught at slip by Steven Smith. The young bowler Kuhnemann, playing in his second match, had two prized wickets to his name.

Lyon, Kuhnemann on Fire

India’s on-field soldier, Pujara, came on to the field and the Indians sat back to experience some old-fashioned Test cricket. However, this day it was just not to be. Lyon was then bought into the attack and did not take much time in taking out Pujara’s stumps. The left hander Ravinder Jadeja was sent in next to maintain the Left Hand – Right Hand combination. With Nathan Lyon getting a massive turn of 4.8 degrees within the first hour of play, it was a tough wicket to survive on. And Jadeja did not have luck on his side. He was caught by Kuhnemann off the bowling of Lyon after barely surviving an LBW appeal.

Kuhnemann is a Big Fan of Ravinder Jadeja

Virat Kohli was standing stunned at the other end as he watched each batter make atrocious mistakes. He had a look of disbelief and frustration pasted on his face. Shreyas Iyer was next to come in and the Indian fans were now praying for some stability. However, it was not to be. Spinner Kuhnemann again came to the party and took Iyer out of the equation for a duck. The Indians were 5 down within the first hour of play. There were thoughts of 36 All Out at Adelaide creeping in. The Indians had landed themselves in big-big trouble.

The second half of the First Session was no better for the Indians. Todd Murphy trapped Virat Kohli in his fourth over. The master batter took a DRS. However, it was a waste of a review. Murphy has got Virat Kohli’s wicket thrice in three games now. The Indians ended their innings at 109.

Australia Get Early Advantage in the First Innings

The Australians started their first innings tentatively against the Indians. Travis Head fell early and Jadeja got Labuschagne on a no-ball. That proved to be extremely costly for the Indians as Khwaja and Labuschagne managed to stitch a partnership of over 90 runs. Jadeja made a good comeback by bowling some tight overs. He was successful in getting top 4 Australian wickets by the end of play. The Aussies were leading by 47 runs with 6 wickets in hand at the end of Day 1.

Indian Bowlers Strike Back in Style

Drinks completely changed the game on Day 2 of the India Vs Australia Indore Test Match. Australia made 30 without loss in the first hour. After drinks they lost six wickets in 34 balls to bowled out for 197. It was a stunning turnaround, and it was sparked by Ashwin and Umesh Yadav, the two bowlers Rohit Sharma has not really used in the first hour. Ashwin finally extracted some extra turn to find the inside edge of Peter Handscomb’s broad bat and he was well held by Shreyas Iyer at short leg. Then Umesh Yadav proved why he is so effective in India. He has targeted the stumps and knocked over three. He now has more than 100 wickets in India at a remarkable average. His bowling strike rate of 46.1 at home is the best among the bowlers with 100-plus Test wickets for India.

Umesh Yadav Rattles the Aussie Lower Order

Umesh got a slice of luck with umpire Joel Wilson giving Cameron Green out LBW. It was just clipping the outer edge of the leg stump. But there was no doubt about his other two, uprooting the off stump of both Mitchell Starc and Todd Murphy. Alex Carey was correctly adjudged LBW to Ashwin in between after trying to defend with a big stride and getting beaten on the inside. Ashwin picked up Nathan Lyon sweeping to finish Australia off. The visitors were all out for 197 after losing 6 for 11. It is the joint-third lowest for Australia and the joint-lowest in the last 40 years. India was surely back in the game.

India’s Poor Start in Second Innings

Gill, Rohit falls to Lyon

It was a great start for Australia after Lunch on Day 2. Lyon struck in the first over with Shubman Gill trying to take him on. He came down the track and tried to swing him hard on the onside. Gill missed and he was OUT bowled. The Indians had lost their first wicket on this dry pitch, which was then responsible for a horrendous collapse. Rohit Sharma was then trapped for 12 runs by Nathan Lyon.

Kohli falls to Kuhnemann

When King Kohli walks on to the field, there is a cheer around the ground. These days the cheer is more out of respect and support and not out of expectation. His consistent failures, especially against spin, has become a sore subject even amongst his most ardent followers. Walking on to a dry pitch which was virtually unplayable, when his team was in some trouble, was not the ideal conditions for him. Kohli was trying to fight it out in the middle. He had played consecutive maiden overs, hurt his thumb and punched a boundary. However, his age-old problem of playing cross-batted on the back foot to a spinning ball did him in.

The crowd was stunned into silence with King Kohli departing for a mere 13 runs. Kohli had slapped the previous ball, which was short, through cover for a boundary. He got another short one but on leg stump and he missed the pull to be struck plumb in front. Kohli playing the spinners cross-batted and playing it late is a story which has been repeated time and again. He goes without reviewing looking furious with his own self for playing the ball on the backfoot yet again.

Virat Kohli's Cross-Batted Backfoot Shor to Spinners
Virat Kohli’s Cross-Batted Backfoot Shot to Spinners

Nathan Lyon struck another spear in the Indian hearts when he got Ravinder Jadeja out for LBW. Jadeja was hit on the pad trying to defend but was adjudged not out on field. Australia was confident though and went for the review and got it in their favour. Pujara was the only Indian batter who was showing some resistance against this overpowering Aussie spin. India went into Tea trailing by 9 Runs with 6 wickets in hand.

Pujara Puts Up a Great Fight

This game was hanging on a knifeā€™s edge. It was not wrong to say that it was hanging on the bat of Cheteshwar Pujura. He stood firm but he never stood still in nearly two hours of batting to keep India alive. Having learned from his mistake in the first innings, he played exclusively with a vertical bat, always played in front of his pad and used his feet superbly to smother the spin of Nathan Lyon, Todd Murphy and Matthew Kuhnemann. It was something his teammates could not manage. 

Pujara Leads the Indian Fight back in Second Innings
Pujara Leads the Indian Fight back in Second Innings

Nathan Lyon Takes a Eight Wickets in 2nd Innings

Nathan Lyon picked up his fourth with KS Bharat playing for turn from around the wicket and the ball sliding on past the outside edge to crash into middle and off. Ashwin coming to the crease at No. 8 ahead of Axar Patel was a surprise move keeping in mind the last two matches. Axar has averaged 85 with the bat in the series and his batting has been one of the key differences between the two sides. However, Ashwin also played an important role in Delhi with the bat and has five Test hundreds.

Despite looking more comfortable than many other Indian batsmen Ashwin was adjudged LBW on DRS. Ashwin was struck on the front pad first with one turning in from round the wicket, and the ball-tracker showed that it would have been hitting the leg stump.

Nathan Lyon was ultimately successful in getting 8 of the Indian wickets in the second innings. It was a display of great bowling by the experienced spinner. He was instrumental in restricting the Indians to 163 runs in the second innings, making sure that the Aussies have only 76 to chase on the Third Day of the India Vs Australia Third Test at Indore.

Australia Play Positively to Register First Win

The third day on the India Vs Australia Third Test started in the worst possible manner for the Australians. Usman Khwaja was sent back by Ashwin in the second ball of the start of the day. He feathered the ball to the keeper and KS Bharat made no mistake. However, there was a definite shift of balance when ICC World Number 1 Test batsman Marnus Labuschagne walked in. The Aussies did their grind out in the middle. There were some mind games between Ashwin and Marnus, but Travis Head decided to take the attack back to India.

Travis Head showed some bravery and got rewarded as Australia broke free from Ashwin’s stranglehold. Ashwin got the ball changed at the start of the 11th over due to some damage on the seam. But he was also unhappy with the replacement ball. Ashwin overpitched three times and Head took full advantage. He whipped one against the turn wide of mid-on. Head’s bravery opened the door for Marnus Labuschagne to attack and he swatted a slog sweep off Jadeja forward of square. Australia picked up 22 vital runs in 12 balls. This released the pressure on the batsmen and caused a shift in momentum in favour of Australia.

The Australians made it home with 9 wickets in hand to win their first Test Match on Indian soil in the Border – Gavaskar Series 2023.

The Player of the Match Speaks –

Nathan Lyon: It has been a pretty remarkable Test series. But to come out here and put a really good team performance that is something I am really proud about. Today to see the boys get there one down is pretty special. I don’t have all the tricks or all the trades in the game but one thing I do have is belief in my stock ball and that is the biggest thing in world cricket, if you believe in your best ball then you can challenge the best players in the world for longer periods of time. I don’t think I have mastered it (bowling to Indian batters), I have been lucky enough to get some of the best players like Virat and Pujara and the others, I just love challenging myself at this level and get a big thrill out of that.

Aussie Stand-In Captain Speaks –

Steve Smith: Everything I guess (on what he attributes the win to). The first day losing the toss, having to bowl first.. Our bowlers got the ball in the right areas and put India under pressure. I thought Kuhnemann was really good on the first day. All our bowlers contributed and bowled in partnerships, first innings Usman was outstanding and he’s been really good for us this series. Yesterday India fought back and I thought we had to toil really hard, Puji played an outstanding innings but we really stuck at it, Nathan got all the rewards with 8 wickets but I think our bowlers as a collective were really good.

It was a complete performance. We are thinking about Patty, who’s gone back home, our thoughts are with him. I really enjoyed it and like captaining in this part of the world as I understand the conditions really well. There’s an event every ball and a lot different to the other parts of the world, and I did a reasonable job this week. Much the same, we will wait and see what the conditions are like, but we are really proud to clinch a spot in the WTC final. Hopefully we can put a similar performance and draw the series.

Indian Captain Speaks –

Rohit Sharma: When you lose a Test match, there are a lot of things which didn’t go our way, to start with we didn’t bat well in the 1st innings, we understand how important it is to put runs on the board in the 1st innings and when they got 80-90 runs lead, we had to produce another innings with the bat but we were not able to do that again. We got just 75 on the board, if we batted well in the 1st innings, things would have been slightly different. Haven’t thought about it yet (WCT final), we have sometime to think about what we need to do there (Ahmedabad Test). Need to regroup and try and understand what we did right in the first 2 games.

We need to understand, no matter what the pitches are, you gotta come out and do the job. We need to keep it simple and follow the plan. When you are playing on challenging pitches, we need to be brave. We allowed their bowlers to bowl on one particular spot. Not taking any credit away from their bowlers. especially Nathan Lyon, he kept challenging us hitting the right lengths. When the bowler is trying to do that, gotta be a little brave which I thought we were not. Things happen like that, but we can take a lot of credit about how we batted in the first 2 games.

Its all about everyone coming together and chipping in. We want few guys stand up and put their hand up to take the team through. You will falter in your plans and that’s what happened in this game, we didn’t adapt as well as we would have liked to.

Toss – India Won the Toss and opted to bat.

Indian Team Changes – Shubman Gill, Umesh Yadav IN. KL Rahul, Shami OUT.

Australia Team Changes – Cameron Green, Starc IN. Warner, Renshaw OUT.

Preview of the Match

In the previous two Test Matches, there were times when the Australians were seen with a slight grasp on the match. However, that grasp, in both Test Matches, did not last for more than a session. Whether it may be the century partnership between Axar Patel and Ravinder Jadeja in the First Test or Axar and Ashwin’s resistance in the Second Test, India pulled the matches back… and how! If the Aussies had been able to uproot Axar Patel or played sensibly against Jadeja, they would probably have expected to have levelled the series by this time. However, as it panned out – it was not to be. The visitors go into the India Vs Australia Third Test at Indore lagging behind by 0 – 2. They are on the brink of losing another Border – Gavaskar Series.

The Aussie captain, Pat Cummins, is back home due to a personal emergency. Star players – David Warner and Josh Hazlewood are out with injuries and Ashton Agar has also opted to return. The Aussies now look a different side than those who had landed in India with high hopes about a month ago.

Will it be Gill or KL Rahul?

On the Indian side, the only question on everyone’s mind before the start of the India Vs Australia Third Test at Indore is if the Coach favourite KL Rahul will be given a chance again or justice will prevail, and Shubman Gill will find himself in the team.

Rohit Sharma, the captain of the most followed cricket Team in the world, has only one selection call to make. Stick with the ex-vice-captain KL Rahul or bring in the in-form Shubman Gill. Both batters have had long preparatory net sessions for two days in the India Vs Australia Third Test at Indore. However, it was Gill that turned up alongside his captain for an optional net session.

The Indian captain, however, stated that training routine or the removal of KL Rahul from vice-captaincy were no indication of the final eleven. He states that “players with potential going through a tough time will be given enough time to prove themselves.” Despite these mixed signals, common sense and balanced opportunities suggest that KL Rahul may just sit out and the stylish opener from Punjab may be included.

Australia have a new captain in the form of Steve Smith. Smith’s Playing XI have fairly new-look bowling attack for this Test. The left-arm seamer, Mitchell Starc, will come in for Cummins and the all-rounder, Cameron Green, is likely to return in place of Matt Renshaw. Australia is likely to play their three spinners from Delhi and go with a more aggressive five-man attack.

India’s Probable Playing XI for Third Test: 

Rohit Sharma (c), Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, KS Bharat (wk), Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel, Ravichandran Ashwin, Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj.

India Vs Australia Border Gavaskar Trophy – Cricket Maiden

Australian Probable Playing XI for Third Test:

Usman Khawaja, Travis Head, Marnus Labuschagne, Steve Smith (c), Peter Handscomb, Cameron Green, Alex Carey (wk), Mitchell Starc, Todd Murphy, Nathan Lyon, Matthew Kuhnemann

Pre – Match Press Conference

“I played 200 balls in Nagpur and never felt settled. It just takes one ball to grip or keep low and you are out. On pitches like this, you are never in. What has happened to them can happen to us. We cannot take things lightly. Yes, we have quality spinners who can change things around just like that but that does not give us the guarantee that we are going to win the Test or roll them over in one session. We have got to keep the discipline going.” – Rohit Sharma on the importance of staying focussed on these challenging pitches.

“We probably just rushed things a little bit and it’s something we’ll talk about tomorrow when we meet. When we’ve got them on the ropes, we can slow things down. We don’t have to play at such a high tempo and risky tempo. Because we had them where we wanted them, we had men out and the ability to get off strike. We just rushed it.” – Steve Smith on the importance of slowing things down when in control in India.

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