PITCH SLAMMED AS ‘POOR’ AFTER AUSSIES WIN
THE pitch used for Australia’s third-Test victory over India in Indore has been rated poor by the ICC, hours after the visitors wrapped up a nine-wicket win before lunch on the third day. Australia inflicted India’s third home Test defeat in the last decade in a low-scoring match as spinners ran riot. Nathan Lyon claimed match figures of 11 for 99.
Match referee Chris Broad said in his ICC report: ‘The pitch, which was very dry, did not provide a balance between bat and ball, favouring spinners from the start. The fifth ball of the match broke through the pitch surface and continued to occasionally break the surface providing little or no seam movement and there was excessive and uneven bounce throughout the match.’
The pitch at the Holkar Stadium received three demerit points. A venue that accumulates five demerit points over a five-year period is suspended from hosting any international cricket for a year.
The result helped Australia seal a place in the World Test Championship final.
India lead the series 2-1 with the fourth and final test to be played in Ahmedabad from Thursday, and if the hosts win they will join the Australians at the Oval in June. Australia, without captain Pat Cummins after he flew home to be with his ailing mother, sniffed victory after claiming a first-innings lead of 88 on a turning wicket. They had only 76 to chase after Lyon took eight for 64 in the second innings to skittle India again. Australia got off to the worst possible start, losing Usman Khawaja before even making a dent in their target. Ravi Ashwin had him caught behind for a duck with the second ball of the innings. Travis Head scored 49 not out counter-attacking to lift the pressure and suddenly boundaries started flowing. Marnus Labuschagne, who made an unbeaten 28, sealed the victory with a boundary as the visitors romped home. ‘They are pretty hard to come by,’ stand-in captain Steve Smith said of the victory, only Australia’s second Test win in India in their past 18 attempts. ‘For us to get on top in this game, particularly after losing the toss, it shows the talent in this group and the belief we have got in ourselves.’