On the final day of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, 2023, Australia managed to keep India searching for wickets after a solid show by Marnus Labuschagne and Travis Head.
India were boosted early in the day when R Ashwin got rid of the nightwatchman Matthew Kuhnemann with an undercutter that trapped him LBW. This also kickstarted a period of play where all three of India’s spinners found some amount of purchase from the pitch.
There were plenty of plays and misses right through, but Head and Labuschagne managed to put these behind quickly. Both batters tried to put the runs on the board whenever an opportunity was there, and they availed those lofting Ashwin whenever there was a chance of it.
Ashwin remained India’s spearhead on the day, posing many a question even though they did not always come through in his favour. He kept India’s search for wickets alive on a fairly benign surface otherwise. Head survived an LBW review late in the first session against Ashwin with the umpire’s call staying on, meaning India did not lose a review either.
In the second session though, Head and Labuschagne were more comfortable even as the runs came at a trickle. They managed to get into the lead and stretch it further without too much discomfort.
Head brought up his first Test fifty of the series and looked set to double it up when he was bowled through the gate while trying to drive off the rough. Labuschagne, meanwhile, fought his way to his first fifty of the series as well, and remained unbeaten until Tea. Steve Smith, in possibily his last innings in India, was dropped on duck by KS Bharat but managed to remain unbeaten.
Brief Scores: Australia 480 (Usman Khawaja 180, Cameron Green 114; R Ashwin 6-91) and 158/2 (Travis Head 90, Marnus Labuschagne 56*) lead India 571 (Virat Kohli 186, Shubman Gill 128, Axar Patel 79; Todd Murphy 3-113) by 67 runs