India claim 2-1 series win after tie last Test

Impressive as Head’s clear aggression was, he also made his mark with calm and robust defensive play when the moment called for it; not least on the fourth night of that game or in the early overs of a little chase at Indore.


Labuschagne, meanwhile, swallowed many more defensive performances as he tried to atone for a streak in which he had made many starts without scoring a single crucial result.

So worried were the tourists about their ability to end the day against Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja and company that Khawaja tested his leg and range of motion in the nets before the game, watched by head coach Andrew McDonald.

Due to his absence from the field, Khawaja should not have batted until after lunch, but Head and Labuschagne got through the morning and afternoon without too many alarms.

It had looked from the start the Australians would only need to play focused and direct to force a draw, as night watchman Matt Kuhnemann was able to negotiate 35 balls before giving Ashwin lbw.

Kuhnemann, suspecting the ball slipped past the leg stump, paused to consider a check with Head before deciding Australia’s No11 was not eligible to attempt one. As it turns out, he should have – the ball was actually fading down the leg.

Travis Head fell 10 short of a first Test hundred overseas.

Travis Head fell 10 short of a first Test hundred overseas.Credit:AP

Labuschagne came in to join Head for the same union that amassed the 76 difficult runs needed to win the third Test in far more difficult conditions than these a week ago.

Like Khawaja, Green and Virat Kohli, Head and Labuschagne found they could pretty much count on their defenses and there was no undue rush to roll up the 91-run deficit in the first innings and force India to strike again .


Labuschagne advanced a couple of times to flick cleanly across mid-on while Head interspersed some striking cut-shots with straight sixes reminiscent of some of his most pivotal work at Indore.

News of New Zealand’s win at Christchurch, defeating Sri Lanka in the process, arrived shortly after the afternoon’s resumption, not that it looked like India were likely to stage an onslaught of wickets anyway.

For the most part, Ashwin and Jadeja looked like a couple of tired Operators after their early match and innings travails.

Meanwhile, with some of his longest bowling stints of the series, Axar Patel was able to find a tricky spot from which to roll Head through the gate while the left-hander tried to drive through the covers. It was only his third wicket of the series.

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Ryan Sederquist

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