Australia into WTC final after thumping India by nine wickets

SUMMARY: Australia 197 (Khawaja 60, Jadeja 4-78; Umesh 3-12) and 78-1 (Head 49*, Labuschagne 28*) beat India 109 (Kuhnemann 5-16; Lyon 3-35) and 163 (Pujara 59; Lyon 8-64) by nine wickets


Australia sealed their place in June’s World Test Championship final with a nine-wicket win over India in the third Test in Indore.

Chasing 76 to win, Travis Head made 49 not out and Marnus Labuschagne an unbeaten 28 as the tourists won before lunch on day three.

Usman Khawaja was caught behind second ball, but Head and Labuschagne shared an unbroken stand of 78 to see them home.

They will face India or Sri Lanka in the final at The Oval in London.

India will secure their place if they beat Australia in the fourth and final Test of the series, which starts on March 9 in Ahmedabad.

However, a draw or defeat, coupled with Sri Lanka beating New Zealand 2-0 in their two-Test series, which starts at on March 8, would see Sri Lanka qualify instead.

The World Test Championship final will take place between June 7-11, a week before Australia face England in the opening Ashes Test at Edgbaston.

India currently lead the four-Test series 2-1 after big wins in the first two matches.

Australia dominated the third Test after bowling India out for 109 on the opening day, eventually establishing an 88-run first-innings lead.

Off-spinner Nathan Lyon then took 8-64 in the second innings to leave a comfortable chase for his side.

“It was a complete performance in the end,” said Steve Smith, who was captaining Australia with Pat Cummins in Australia with his ill mother.

“We’re really proud to clinch a spot in the final, but for us it is just about playing really good cricket.

“The way we’ve fought back here and played our style for longer periods of time than we did in the first two Tests, hopefully we can put up a similar performance and finish the series really well.”

Lyon, who has now taken a record 113 Test wickets against India, added: “It has been a pretty remarkable Test series, but to come out and put a really good team performance in is something I really proud am of.”

India skipper Rohit Sharma said: “We need to regroup and understand what we did right in the first two Test matches and no matter what the pitches are you’ve got to come out and do your job.

“On challenging pitches you need to be brave.” (BBC Sport)

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