On the last day of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy 2023, Marnus Labuschagne and Travis Head did a good job of keeping India from getting any wickets.
Early in the day, India got a boost when R. Ashwin got rid of Matthew Kuhnemann, the night watchman, with an undercutter that got him LBW. This also set off a stretch of play in which all three of India’s spin bowlers got some help from the pitch.
All the way through, there were plays and misses, but Head and Labuschagne were able to get past them quickly. Both batters tried to score runs whenever they could, and they took advantage of those chances by lofting Ashwin whenever they could.
Ashwin was India’s leader for the day. He asked many questions, but not all worked out in his favor. He kept India’s search for wickets on what was otherwise a pretty easy surface. Late in the first session, Head survived an LBW review by Ashwin. The umpire’s call stood, so India did not lose a review either.
But in the second session, Head and Labuschagne felt more at ease, even though the runs were still slow. They could take the lead and make it bigger without too much trouble.
Head got his first Test fifty of the series, and it looked like he would get another when he tried to drive off the rough and was bowled through the gate. Labuschagne, on the other hand, had to fight to get his first fifty of the series, and he didn’t lose until Tea. In what could have been Steve Smith’s last game in India, KS Bharat dropped him on a duck, but he was still able to stay unbeaten.