Indore, March 3 (IANS) Australia opener Travis Head revealed that their plan for successfully chasing 76 in the third Test against India here was to play one ball at a time in day three’s play which lasted almost an hour and a half.
Head and Marnus Labuschagne slammed unbeaten knocks of 49 and 28 respectively to take Australia to a comprehensive nine-wicket win. The duo were able to make short work of the target of 76 and got the job done in 18.5 overs to make the four-game scoreline 2-1.
“I just tried to take it one step at a time. We have seen throughout the series that with the wickets, and the quality of bowling, anything can happen. So we were just trying to take it one ball at a time. It’s just nice to contribute,” said Head after the match ended.
Head also felt Australia got their plans right in Indore after heavy losses in Nagpur and New Delhi.
“Make sure to go out and execute in the first innings and I think we did that really well. In the lead-up to the test series, we had to make sure to be clear in our plans. We had to make some changes, but I think we’ve done a fantastic job to come back after being under pressure in the first two games.”
Off-spinner Nathan Lyon also played a crucial role in the win through his eight-wicket haul in the second innings to bowl out India for 163 in 60.3 overs and keep the target for Australia to 76.
“We knew it wasn’t going to be clean sailing. There were going to be times when India were going to be on top, times when we could get the runs. It was important that we just kept a calm head. There was no message coming from the top. Unbelievable. He (Nathan Lyon) does what he does. He has the most wickets in the subcontinent for an Australian bowler. Long may he continue,” added Head.
The nine-wicket victory is also Australia’s first Test win in India since winning the Pune Test in 2017 and got them to qualify for the World Test Championship (WTC) final, to be held from June 7-11 at The Oval in London.
“Just needed to make sure that whatever it is, we are there. They bowled beautifully and we held the fort down. But luckily after that period, it opened up. I think the most important thing in a partnership is if you’re under pressure and you see that your partner is going well, you just make sure you hang in there. That’s what I did today, I locked down one end,” stated Labuschagne.
Asked about what changed for Australia in Indore, Labuschagne pointed towards batters revising their plans on batting in spin-friendly conditions. “Everyone just revisited their options, their plans, their technique. For me, I batted five or six different ways. I’ve ramped, I’ve swept, I’ve done a lot.”
“But as the series goes on, you’ll see that I didn’t play as many shots. And I think you just need to keep trusting your defence. And once you get a feel, the game will open up naturally.”
Labuschagne also said Australia have realised that the game is never over in India at any point in time. “One thing we’ve learned here is that it’s never game over here. It just shows you the conditions, how tough it is. But I think as a unit we have the right combination. I think it’s just about trusting in each other’s skills and continuing to grow and learn.
“As I was telling Rohit when we were walking out ‘I want to do what you do. You guys are the best in these conditions. It just comes down to a partnership. And we knew that it was about getting one partnership and we’ll break 76.”