Australia has survived a tricky run chase to win by nine wickets on a spinning pitch and secure a memorable Test victory in India.

Set just 76 to win in the third Test at Holkar Stadium in Indore, Australia brought up only its second win on Indian soil since it claimed the Border-Gavaskar Trophy in 2004.

Travis Head (49 not out) and Marnus Labuschagne (28 not out) were there at the end for the rare victory, which marked an extraordinary turnaround for Australia after the tourists were humiliated in the first two Tests in Nagpur and Delhi.

A chase of less than 100 would ordinarily have been straightforward, but the pitch spinning and bouncing sharply meant Australia started day three with some apprehension.

India was dismissed for 109 and 163, while Australia’s first innings of 197 ended with a dramatic collapse of 6-11.

Usman Khawaja, who top-scored with a gritty 60 in Australia’s first innings, was dismissed for a duck on the second ball after nicking a Ravichandran Ashwin delivery to wicketkeeper KS Bharat.

Australia was forced to defend for the first 10 overs, but Head and Labuschagne started to play with a sense of freedom after Ashwin was rattled by the state of the ball.

The bowler complained several times to umpires about the ball and continued to express his frustration even after it was changed at the 10-over mark.

Head and Labuschagne then took on the star spinner, smashing several quick boundaries to ease any tension in Australia’s dressing room.

Steve Smith shakes hands with Travis Head after Australia defeated India in Indore.
Steve Smith (right) congratulates Travis Head after his role in helping Australia to victory.(Getty Images: Robert Cianflone)

Head’s unbeaten 49 came from just 53 balls, adding evidence that he plays his best in Asia, batting at the top of the order following his promotion to open after David Warner’s exit from the tour.

Star spinner Nathan Lyon was named player of the match for his 11-99, including a legendary spell of 8-64 to run through India in its second innings.

Australia’s victory handed India only its third defeat at home in 45 Tests over the last 10 years.

Australian hopes of winning the series are already gone, but it would be a monumental effort if the visitors could finish their India tour level at 2-2.

Marnus Labuschagne plays a shot aginst India at Indore
Labuschagne looked confident at the crease during his unbeaten 28.(Getty Images: Robert Cianflone)

The victory also confirmed Australia’s spot in the World Test Championship (WTC), to be played at The Oval in London in June.

India remains Australia’s likely opponent, with captain Rohit Sharma saying before the third Test the hosts could prepare a green pitch for the fourth match in Ahmedabad if they won in Indore to get ready for the WTC final.

That green top appears a long shot now, with India determined to bounce back next week in the final Test and win the series 3-1.


Look back at how the action unfolded in our blog.

Key events

Live updates

Next stop, Ahmedabad

3h agoFri 3 Mar 2023 at 6:01am

By Simon Smale


A relatively short turn around until the final Test of the series at Ahmedabad, which starts on Thursday.

Will Australia take an unchanged team to the world’s largest cricket stadium?

You’d think so.

We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it though.

For now though, we’re going to wrap things up.

Thank you very much for joining me for the last three days.

We’ll have plenty more reaction to come over the next few days on the ABC Sport website, so keep your eyes on that.

But until then, it’s time to say goodbye.

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Nathan Lyon is man of the match

3h agoFri 3 Mar 2023 at 5:57am

By Simon Smale

Here is Nathan Lyon, who took 11 wickets in the match.

“It’s been a pretty remarkable Test series,” he says.


“But to put a really good team performance in is something I’m very proud about. “

He says he believes in his best stock ball and that’s what he can build his performances on.

He says he does not think he’s “mastered” spin bowling in India.

“I just love challenging myself at this level.”

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Smith: ‘I really enjoy captaining in this part of the world

3h agoFri 3 Mar 2023 at 5:56am

By Simon Smale

Smith says he enjoyed captaining.

“We’re thinking of Pat [Cummins] back home. Our thoughts are with him,” he says.

“I really enjoyed this week.

“I enjoy captaining in this part of the world, I really feel like I understand the conditions really well and the intricacies of the game.

“It’s a place I really enjoy [captaining] and I think I did a good job.”

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Steve Smith hails ‘complete performance’

3h agoFri 3 Mar 2023 at 5:54am

By Simon Smale

Steve Smith, Australia’s skipper is speaking at the presentation now.

“Our bowlers just got the ball in the right areas … we just took wickets,” he says.

“All of our bowlers contributed and bowled in partnerships.”

He credits the batters, particularly Usman Khawaja.

“Yesterday I thought we had to toil really hard,” he says.

“We really stuck at it, Nathan got all the rewards with eight wickets but I thinkourt bowlers as a collective were really good.

“It was the complete performance in the end.”

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Some early, minor awards are handed out

3h agoFri 3 Mar 2023 at 5:52am

By Simon Smale

Pujara wins an award for hitting the longest six.

The strongest performer of the match.

And Usman Khawaja is the game changer of the match.

Neither are man of the match though.

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India needed to be braver with the bat: Sharma

3h agoFri 3 Mar 2023 at 5:50am

By Simon Smale

“When you play on challenging pitches you have to be brave,” he says.

“We allowed their bowlers to bowl on one particular spot – not taking any credit away from their bowlers.

“They kept challenging us, hitting their length.

“When the bowlers are doing that, you have to try different things, be a little brave, and I thought we were not.

“We were slightly behind and we didn’t adapt as we would have liked to.”

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Rohit Sharma: ‘We didn’t bat well’

3h agoFri 3 Mar 2023 at 5:48am

By Simon Smale

Here’s Rohit Sharma, the Indian skipper.

“When you lose a Test match there’s a lot of things that didn’t go our way,” he says.

“We didn’t bat well in the first innings.

“We understand how important it is to put runs on the board in the first innings.

“When they got 90 runs lead obviously we had to produce another innings with the bat and we were not able to do that.

“If you bat well in the first innings things would be slightly different.

“We have some time to think about what we do there … we need to regroup.

“We need to understand that no matter what the pitches are, you have to do your job … keep your plans.”

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Steve Smith is 3 wins from 3 as stand in Test skipper

3h agoFri 3 Mar 2023 at 5:44am

By Simon Smale

(Getty Images)
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Australia’s 14th Test win in India

3h agoFri 3 Mar 2023 at 5:42am

By Simon Smale

Australia has played 53 Tests on Indian soil.

This is the 14th victory, to go with the 15 draws and one famous tie in 1986.

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India’s third defeat in their last 45 Tests at home

3h agoFri 3 Mar 2023 at 5:41am

By Simon Smale

Just to underline how impressive winning in India is, that is just the third time India has lost a home Test match at home in their last 45.

It’s Australia’s first Test win in India since 2017, when Australia won by 333 runs in Pune after Nathan Lyon and Steve O’Keefe spun India out for just 107 in the fourth innings.

India’s only other defeat in the last decade at home was when Joe Root’s 218 helped England to a 227-run victory in Chennai in 2021.

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I reckon the GOAT deserves this souvenir

3h agoFri 3 Mar 2023 at 5:38am

By Simon Smale

(Getty Images)

Stick that stump in the pool room next to his eight-fa ball that he got.

One of Nathan Lyon’s most impressive performances for Australia.

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An innings of two halves?

3h agoFri 3 Mar 2023 at 5:36am

By Simon Smale

Loading Twitter content

The change came when they changed the ball, as it happened.

Incredible how much of a difference it made.

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Deep breaths everyone…

3h agoFri 3 Mar 2023 at 5:34am

By Simon Smale

Great, we can breathe again!!

– MikeR

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Head: ‘There was some shift in thinking’

3h agoFri 3 Mar 2023 at 5:33am

By Simon Smale

Head said the key to Australia’s fight back in this Test was just to be able to execute their plans.

“Make sure we execute as good as we can in the first innings,” he says.

“In the lead up to the Test match when things aren’t going well you drew back really well to [what we did in] Sri Lanka and Pakistan and the plans we had set in those conditions.

“Obviously there was some shift in thinking and what we wanted to do and achieve and everyone does that individually and when it comes to the toss we executed exceptionally well.

“I thought we did a fantastic job to come back … from the first two Tests.

He said his slow start in this innings was just about making sure he was set before he was able to cut loose.

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Head: It was important to stay prepared

3h agoFri 3 Mar 2023 at 5:32am

By Simon Smale

Head led Australia to victory in this chase.

He was, however, not even in the side for the first Test.

He says after not being picked for the first Test, it was just important to be able to contribute when his time did come.

“It’s just nice to contribute … not everything goes your way and not everything is going to be clean sailing,” he says.

“Just stay prepared .. make sure when my chance came I was ready enough to take it.”

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Travis Head: Taking it one ball at a time

3h agoFri 3 Mar 2023 at 5:31am

By Simon Smale

Here’s Travis Head.

He says that Australia’s plan was that there was “to take it one step at a time.”.

“We’ve seen throughout this series with the wickets, the quality of bowling, that anything can happen,” he says.

“It was just trying to take it, as clichéd as it is, just one ball at a time and take my opportunities.”

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A superb victory

3h agoFri 3 Mar 2023 at 5:23am

By Simon Smale

What a finish! I should have expected the unexpected.

– Mike

I think that ended up being a lot easier than anyone expected, that’s for sure.

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Australia has qualified for the World Test Championship final

3h agoFri 3 Mar 2023 at 5:21am

By Simon Smale

Just a small subplot of course, but Australia has booked its spot at the Oval in June for the World Test Championship decider.

India are yet to do so, as it happens…

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Australia wins by nine wickets!

3h agoFri 3 Mar 2023 at 5:18am

By Simon Smale

Key Event

(Getty Images)


Such incredibly level-headed batting from Australia.

Under extraordinary pressure after losing that early wicket, Travis Head (49) and Marnus Labuschagne (28) have guided Australia home comfortably!

On a pitch so heavily favouring the strengths of the home side, after losing the series and their skipper, that’s just an incredible victory.

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19th over – Ashwin to Travis Head

3h agoFri 3 Mar 2023 at 5:17am

By Simon Smale

FOUR! Head takes a step and hammers the ball down the ground. He moves to 48 from 52.

Australia needs 3 runs to win

A single now – Head had to be quick and the direct hit did make some in the crowd at least a little bit interested.

Australia needs 2 runs to win

Marnus has no thought for Head’s milestone and has a big heave but misses.

Now he defends.


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