After winning the first two Tests inside three days to retain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, hosts India tasted their own medicine at the Holkar Stadium. India suffered a nine-wicket loss to the visitors in little over two days on a rank turner.
According to Shastri, the Indian batters paid the price for “complacency and overconfidence” and were over-eager to dominate the Australian bowlers, on a wicket which offered sharp turn and uneven bounce from the first morning.
“This is what a little complacency, a little bit of overconfidence can do where you take things for granted, you drop guard and this game will bring you down,” the former India all-rounder told Star Sports.
“I think it was a combination of all these things when you actually cast your mind back to the first innings, see some of the shots played, see some of the over-eagerness to try and dominate in these conditions. You reflect back, take a step back or two to analyse.”
Opting to bat, India had lost seven wickets in the first session on day one, with left-arm spinner Matthew Kuhnemann claiming a maiden five-wicket haul, to be bundled out for a paltry 109.
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Australia posted 197 to take an 88-run lead and then returned to dismiss India for 163 in the second innings. The visitors achieved the target of 76 in 18.5 overs.
Former Australia opener Matthew Hayden too slammed the Indian batters, saying it looked like they were playing to save their spots in the team.
“Change of team too. KL Rahul dropped. Some of those things can be a bit destabilising, players playing for their spots and their opportunities can create a different mindset,” he said.
The legendary Sunil Gavaskar also criticised the Indian batters for their below-par show in the third Test, saying the “pitch played on their minds”.
Hayden, however, was full of praise for Australia opener Travis Head, who scored an unbeaten 49 to take visitors home.
“It’s incredible what happens when you show that attitude and intent. That adjustment in the mindset and within two overs (there are) 20 runs (and) bang. This was really, really good batting,” the 51-year-old said.
“This can be said about Travis Head. He was left out of the first Test but came out with a fire in the belly from the second Test, something Australians are known for. Punching above our weight, despite the conditions.
“What a good player Travis Head is. He is becoming one of the real forces in world cricket. A remarkable turnaround in momentum. Great fight and they have shown what they can do. Australia was knocked out in Delhi…like Lazarus, now they’ve emerged.”
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Former Australia captain Mark Taylor too was effusive in his praise for Head, who took the attack to the Indian bowlers.
“Australia had to be a little bit proactive, but as we saw in the second Test when they decided to reverse sweep and sweep everything, being proactive doesn’t mean being rash. It needed someone to push the button and say ‘I’ve got to put the pressure back on the bowler’,” Taylor was quoted as saying by Wide World of Sports.
“That was the moment Travis Head thought, well I’m going to go now, I’m going to go try and eat into this deficit quickly and put the pressure on the bowler, and it worked brilliantly.”
Australia had come into the match lagging 0-2 after being completely outplayed in the first two Tests.
In the third Test, the visitors were without their regular skipper Pat Cummins, who had left for home to be with his ailing mother. In his absence, the team had to make a few changes. was led brilliantly by Steve Smith.
“On a very average pitch – and that’s putting it nicely – the Aussies did really well. To lose the toss as well – they won the toss in the first two and had the advantage, and then sort of lost it as the games went on,” Taylor said.
“This match, they had players out, captain gone, then to lose the toss on a raging turner and still win by nine wickets, that’s a great effort.”
The two teams will face off in the fourth and final Test in Ahmedabad beginning March 9.
(With inputs from PTI)
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