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India v Australia 2023

‘This is catastrophic’ – Australia’s approach lambasted after spectacular 9-48 Delhi implosion

Australia collapse | Australia lost 9 wickets for 48 runs in a dramatic morning session on day three of the Delhi Test
by Wisden Staff 3 minute read

Australia’s batting suffered a capitulation for the ages, losing nine wickets for 48 runs in a rampaging morning session for hosts India on day three of the Delhi Test.

When Travis Head and Marnus Labuschagne made their way to the centre on a relatively clear morning, the Australia camp would have been hoping for a solid session to build on their overnight lead of 61. But things went downhill very fast.

Travis Head was the first to fall, caught behind courtesy of an R Ashwin ripper. The off-spinner, along with Ravindra Jadeja, then scythed through the rest of the middle order rapidly, pinning Steve Smith and Matt Renshaw lbw in the space of four overs. Jadeja cleaned up Marnus Labuschagne and Pat Cummins and had Peter Handscomb caught at slip for a three-ball duck. Alex Carey, their last frontline batter, was also bowled by Jadeja, trying to go for one reverse sweep too many. From 65-1, they stumbled to 95-7, and then to 113 all out.


On a pitch that seemed to have deteriorated from the first two days, and keeping low on occasion, Australia’s batters’ sweeping frenzy couldn’t help them survive for long. Labuschagne arguably went too far back on a pitch already keeping low, and Cummins went for a failed slog-sweep that impressed no one. Carey tried to reverse sweep his way out of the situation but only saw his stumps getting flattened.

Jadeja finished with figures of 12.1-1-42-7 – his career-best haul – with R Ashwin picking up the remaining three wickets.

Matthew Hayden, on commentary for the host broadcaster, said: “What we’ve seen here is a disaster for Australia. They’ve gone way over the edge in terms of their aggressive play”.

On Cummins’ dismissal for a first-ball duck, which saw him bizarrely trying to slog sweep a ball after Handscomb’s departure, Hayden said: “You have to trust your defence, especially here in the subcontinent. He’s gone in there with a premeditated plan to sweep from ball one.”

Dinesh Karthik, his co-commentator, said: “You have to use the word reckless”. “I don’t think Australia could have batted any worse,” said Mark Waugh.

There were plenty of other reactions on social media:

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