Marnus Labuschagne of Australia is congratulated by Steve Smith after Australia defeated India during day three of the Third Test match in the series at Holkare Cricket Stadium on March 03, 2023 in Indore, India. (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)
AUSTRALIAN captain Steve Smith was overjoyed after leading the country to a nine-wicket victory in the third test in Indore on Friday (3) as he is aware of how challenging it is to win a test in India.
Australia, who had been outplayed in Nagpur and Delhi, recovered in the four-test series with a convincing victory well inside the first three days of the low-scoring, spin-dominated match.
Leading the side as regular skipper Pat Cummins flew home to be with his ailing mother, Smith marshalled his bowlers well and took a stunning catch to dismiss Cheteshwar Pujara whose second innings 59 was the only half-century by an Indian in the low-scoring match.
“They are pretty hard to come by,” Smith told reporters, referring to wins in India, after only the second Australia has notched up in their last 18 attempts.
“For us to get on top in this game, particularly after losing the toss … it shows the talent in this group and the belief we’ve got in ourselves.”
Australia fought tooth and nail in Delhi only to be thwarted by India’s lower order, who set up India’s six-wicket victory.
“We screwed up, I suppose, in Delhi is one way to put it,” Smith said.
“We had an opportunity there and let that slip, but we had a good break and a good preparation coming here and it was just about getting our mental state right.”
Smith captained Australia during the 2014-2018 period but was stripped of the role following a ball-tampering scandal in South Africa.
Cummins is expected to return before the final test next week but chances are Smith may continue to lead the side in the final test in Ahmedabad next week.
“India is a part of the world I love captaining … it’s probably my favourite place in the world to captain,” the 33-year-old said.
“Every ball is an event and therefore can dictate what happens after, which is something that I really love and you’ve got to be ahead of the game.
“So I thought I did it well this week and it was good fun.”