Australia outplayed India to register a 9-wicket win in the third test of the ongoing Border-Gavaskar Trophy. On 9 March, the two sides will face off in the 4th and final match of the series in Ahmedabad.
India led 2-0 in the series before the 3rd test match at Indore. Rohit Sharma’s men had every reason to believe that they would win the 3rd test and book their place in the World Test Championship final. India prepared a spin-friendly track to help accomplish their goal. As it happened, the move rebounded on the hosts.
India Fell into Own Spin Trap
On a wicket that helped spinners from the first session, the Indian batting collapsed against Australia’s trio of spinners. Todd Murphy, Nathan Lyon and Matthew Kuhnemann blew away India for just 109 runs in their first innings. India never recovered from that start. On day three, Australia — set to score 76 to win the match — accomplished the task while losing just one wicket.
India faced a rude reality check as they lost a test match at home for the first time in two years. Nathan Lyon — who grabbed 11 wickets — was adjudged Man of the Match.
Win Helped Australia Qualify
Their victory in Indore ensured Australia’s smooth passage to their maiden WTC final. In 2020, Australia failed to reach the final in the inaugural WTC, after being docked 4 points for a slow over rate. In the event, New Zealand and India played the final that the Kiwis eventually won. India can still qualify if they win the 4th match against Australia in Ahmedabad.
How can India qualify?
India will reach the WTC final if they beat Australia in the 4th test in Ahmedabad. Incidentally, India can qualify even if they lose the Ahmedabad test. However, their fortunes would then depend on how Sri Lanka fare on their upcoming tour of New Zealand. If India draw or lose in Ahmedabad, Sri Lanka can qualify if they beat New Zealand 2-0 in their 2-test match series.
The first Sri Lanka-New Zealand match is scheduled to be played between 9 and 13 March in Christchurch’s Hagley Oval. The second match in Wellington will begin on 17 March.
Will Sri Lanka Qualify?
I will stick out my neck and say no! On paper, the Sri Lankans can qualify with a clean sweep against New Zealand. In reality, they are not strong enough to achieve the task. Consider Sri Lanka’s test record against New Zealand. Sri Lanka have played 17 matches versus New Zealand at home. They have won 7, lost 5 and drawn the rest. However, Sri Lanka’s record against the Kiwis in New Zealand is much less impressive. In 19 matches played, they have won 2, lost 11, and drawn the remaining. Their last win came back in 2006 when a team led by Mahela Jayawardene drew a 2-match series 1-1. Sri Lanka last toured NZ in 2018. Led by LD Chandimal, that Lankan squad lost 1-0 in a 2-match series.
Get ready to cheer for India in the WTC final against Australia in June!