65th over: India 175-5 (Pant 12, Sundar 6) Hazlewood to Pant, who won’t mind the short stuff because it lets him play his pull shot. Not spooked at all by being hit in Sydney. He uses it to get off strike, and Sundar dips beneath bouncers with total calm.
64th over: India 174-5 (Pant 11, Sundar 6) Pant loves the gap behind point, and he makes use of it once more facing Pat Cummins. Uses his wrists to cut late but square of gully, picking up two with a deep backward point also out. Two gullies for him as there were for Rahane, with Wade standing quite a bit closer to the bat than Green. Otherwise hs’ got fine leg, short leg, mid on and mid off. Huge gaps at cover and midwicket, unprotected boundaries. So he simply drives to the cover boundary for three. That slow outfield again. Deep backward comes up to a regulation point for Sundar.
The deficit comes under 200. Down to 195.
63rd over: India 169-5 (Pant 6, Sundar 6) Washington plays a capital shot, leaning forward to an overpitched Hazlewood ball and driving it through mid off for four. Then dodges the short ball and defends the length ball, looking very solid thus far.
62nd over: India 165-5 (Pant 6, Sundar 2) Cummins goes to the short ball as well, and Sundar gloves a near-catch past short leg and gets through for a single. There’s some Benny Hill music with the batsmen attempting to run an overthrow, then bailing out, and the fielders running everywhere and fumbling in an attempt to stop it. Two singles from the over in the end.
61st over: India 163-5 (Pant 5, Sundar 1) Tough situation for Washington Sundar on debut. Batting at seven, probably a bit high for his talents, but he can bat. Ducks a bouncer and gets off the mark second ball, nudged to midwicket. Another left-hander, much taller and more slender than Pant. An exercise in sinister contrasts.
WICKET! Agarwal c Smith b Hazlewood 38, India 164-5
Second ball after the break, and Australia’s blue-chip option does it again. Not with a special delivery but thanks to a batsman who hasn’t switched back on. Width from Hazlewood, and Agarwal was so disciplined before lunch but drives hard at this ball and edges it to second slip where Smith juggles but holds on.
at 2.48am GMT
(Yes, two wickets in the previous session, not one. Kindly refresh your page, previous posts do get amended as we go.)
Lunch – India 161 for 4, trailing by 208
Honours even for that extended session? Australia took two wickets, and India added 99 runs, but the wickets were those of Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane which makes them worth more than the average. Lots of work ahead of India but that’s another two and a half hours of weariness put into the Australian bowlers. If the current pair keeps going after the break then we’ll be in for a really good Test match.
I’m going to grab a plate, in the meantime read Barney’s piece on this series.
at 2.43am GMT
60th over: India 161-4 (Agarwal 38, Pant 4) Rishabh Pant produced one of the most exciting Test innings one could imagine in Sydney, taking on the bowling when he really had no right to and changing the complexion of a match. He has a similarly big job ahead of him here, still a couple of hundred runs behind. He’s not rushing though, having a look at a few Lyon deliveries before flaying a cut shot backward of point for two runs. No short leg for him, but a bat-pad on the off side to get in his way. That’s lunch.
59th over: India 159-4 (Agarwal 38, Pant 2) Did we mention Agarwal looking comfortable out there? Starc overpitches and it’s creamed down the ground! Lovely straight drive from Mayank Agarwal, taken from right beneath his feet and driven directly beneath the bowler’s feet to hit the rope behind the non-striker’s stumps.
58th over: India 154-4 (Agarwal 34, Pant 1) Off the mark goes Pant, forcing square on the off side. Off to the races goes Agarwal, down the track and lofting for six! That was a sudden change. The bastman feeling confident now and wants to make sure that Australia’s spinner can’t just settle into a groove. Well struck, doesn’t try to murder it, just times it away over long on. Defends the rest of the over. The deficit dips to 215.
57th over: India 147-4 (Agarwal 28, Pant 0) Starc sends down an entire over at Agarwal, who so far in this innings has been unimpeachable. Entirely patient outside the off stump, but scoring every time a bowler gets straight. Another brace for him in that fashion.
56th over: India 145-4 (Agarwal 26, Pant 0) No attacking strokes to start from Pant, who blocks out most of this Lyon over.
55th over: India 144-4 (Agarwal 25) Last ball of the over when the wicket falls. Pant in next.
WICKET! Rahane c Wade b Starc 37, India 144-4
Rahane does have that weakness, and we’ve seen it already today. Reaching for deliveries that he doesn’t need to. Starc angles across him again, fast and fairly full, and Rahane wants a piece. Paine has changed his field: instead of the three slips with one gully, he now has Wade move across from slip to a second gully. And it works. They plug the gap, and the ball goes straight there.
54th over: India 143-3 (Rahane 37, Agarwal 24) Double change, Nathan Lyon comes back to partner Starc. Wicket tally reading 397, keen to move it on. Rahane on-drives a single. Slip, short leg, and short midwicket in place for Agarwal, who pulls through the short leg and into the deep for a single.
53rd over: India 141-3 (Rahane 36, Agarwal 23) Mitchell Starc is back, having switched around to the Stanley Street end. Slinging the ball down fast, angled across Agarwal, who wants none of it. Nasty bouncer and Agarwal goes under it. But there’s the traditional Starc wildcard delivery to end the over, down the leg side, and Agarwal can comfortably glance for four.
That trailing distance creeps down to 228.
52nd over: India 137-3 (Rahane 36, Agarwal 19) Green continues, and these batsmen are very happy to tuck the odd single here and there without trying anything major. Half an hour until lunch.
To answer David, I wouldn’t say there are any dramatically inspiring captains in the Shield. In Australia we tend to make safe and uninspiring choices based around seniority. Paine is the most inventive choice in a long time. There are also no state wicketkeepers demanding selection with big runs, so even if he weren’t captain I think he would still be the Test keeper at the moment. The idea that fast bowlers can’t captain has never sat right with me: the only decent argument being that they’re more likely to miss with injury. But that’s speculative given that any player can do the same. Shaun Pollock is a decent example in relatively recent memory of a quick / skipper.
51st over: India 135-3 (Rahane 35, Agarwal 18) Another scoring edge here, this time from Agarwal reaching out at Cummins. That ball was fairly full and the edge I fancy would have bounced before the cordon had there been a catcher in its path. Instead it hits the gap for four. The deficit drops to 234.
at 1.30am GMT
50th over: India 130-3 (Rahane 34, Agarwal 14) Rahane clips Green for a run. Agarwal has a short cover now, Labuschagne, who leaps and stops a drive from clearing him on the bounce. Agarwal goes leg side instead, working through midwicket for two.
Sorry I haven’t got to many emails, it’s been a cricket-focused morning. David Reynolds has written back regarding a captaincy discussion we were having yesterday.
“My Green idea was certainly far-fetched, and I can see the appeal of Cummins. We do not have much encouragement from the past regarding strike bowlers as captains as an Englishman, Bob Willis serves as a chastening example. We have seen some good spinner captains, none better that Richie Benaud, of blessed memory, but the only good example of an opening or first-change bowler as top-notch captain (in my admittedly limited memory) is the magnificent Wasim Akram. On the other hand, Paine is the rare Australian example of a skipper who is primarily in the team to be the captain, rather than being a great player whose indispensability makes him a candidate for captaincy (I don’t mean that he would be dropped otherwise, but that it’s his primary claim on selection). Particularly in this Langer era of culture shift, is it more important to find a decent cricketer who would make a great skipper than a great cricketer who would make a decent skipper? (The Armageddon dilemma, if you will – do you train a well driller to be an astronaut or an astronaut to drill a hole? For the record, they clearly made the wrong choice.) In other words, are there any Mike Brearleys out there in Shield cricket? Perhaps the Smith experience demonstrates that being a good bloke is not enough to set the tone if there are more forceful and senior voices in the team.”
49th over: India 127-3 (Rahane 33, Agarwal 12) Cummins goes pretty short and leg side against Agarwal through the over, and Paine reviews for a glove down leg at one stage. Not out.
“Geoff, maybe it’s poverty of imagination but I’m going to need an explanation of what the chef’s finger gesture is. Can you help?”
Henry Lane, hold your hand up in front of you, palm facing you. Place the pad of your thumb against the pads of your index and middle fingers. Let your remaining two fingers curl against your palm. Kiss the raised three digits at their point, and optionally say something about being delicious or about spicy meatballs. There you have it.
48th over: India 127-3 (Rahane 33, Agarwal 12) Not sure what to make of Green. He’s quick enough, he does a decent job putting the ball in the right spot, he’s tidy with his economy rate. Not much about him as actually looked threatening to the batting team though. Maybe it’s just the way that he strolls up to the crease. Optical illusion. One run from his over.
47th over: India 126-3 (Rahane 33, Agarwal 11) So much riding on this partnership. Rishabh Pant due in next, who is boom-bust, then Washington Sundar on debut before the four fast bowlers. Cummins returns to try breaking it, Stanley Street end. Agarwal immediately drives through cover, nicely timed but Labuschagne takes half the pace out of it diving across and keeps him to two. Plays to the same area with a slightly sliced drive for a single. Rahane plays a crisp front-foot defence to a decent length ball to end the over. The Indian captain is third on the runs list for the series behind Labuschagne and Smith.
46th over: India 123-3 (Rahane 33, Agarwal 8) Very full from Green, so Agarwal is able to drive down the ground. The outfield hasn’t been very fast throughout the match and that ball slows up for three runs. Rahane has a decent look at Green’s offerings without playing.
45th over: India 120-3 (Rahane 33, Agarwal 5) Cat and mouse again between Rahane and Hazlewood. The line outside the stumps he won’t play. The line on off stump he’ll play late. The line at the body, looks to score. Pulls a not so short ball for a couple more runs. The deficit is under 250. A long way to go.
44th over: India 118-3 (Rahane 31, Agarwal 5) Cameron Green to bowl after the [sponsor name] scheduled hydration interval. His fourth over for the innings, first of the day. Yet to take a Test wicket in his fourth match. Has made runs. Speeds in the high 130 kph range in this over. Agarwal wants nothing to do with any of it.
43rd over: India 118-3 (Rahane 31, Agarwal 5) Rahane sticks to a pretty basic plan against Hazlewood. Defends on off stump, evades the bouncer, looks to score from the straight ball. Two runs through midwicket. It works for this over. Hazlewood looks much the most dangerous of the bowlers this morning though. Drinks, with the first-innings gap at 251.
42nd over: India 116-3 (Rahane 29, Agarwal 5) Lyon’s off-spin gives Agarwal the chance to get off strike, sweeping a single to deep backward square. He’s given the strike back and follows up with his first boundary of the day, making some room so that he can square drive to the fence. Nicely timed.
41st over: India 110-3 (Rahane 28, Agarwal 0) Josh Hazlewood, stop it. After getting a ball to seam in and smash Rahane on the pad, the bowler gets another to ever so slightly move away and just beat the edge. Gorgeous delivery. Rahane keeps his cool enough to pull a couple of runs when the length shortens.
40th over: India 108-3 (Rahane 26, Agarwal 0) Lyon to Rahane, who plays to deep point again. Three more runs. Agarwal uses his feet decisively in defence to Lyon, first going back, then coming forward.
39th over: India 105-3 (Rahane 23, Agarwal 0) India’s rock has been broken, and Mayank Agarwal is now back in the team and in the middle order after having been dropped as an opener after Melbourne.
WICKET! Pujara c Paine b Hazlewood 25, India 105-3
My days. That is fast bowling of the absolute highest quality. I’ve long argued that Hazlewood has the best bouncer in this attack, even though he’s regarded as the least scary behind Starc and Cummins. His bouncer is fast, fierce, and very accurate, and has a tendency to zero in on the helmet rather than go astray as the other two often do. He starts this over with a fine example. Pujara sees it dropping short and shapes to play his cross-bat steer, which then becomes an uppercut, but the ball keeps coming in at him. In the end there’s no width, and he can only flinch his gloves into the way to protect his grille. It loops towards gully but doesn’t carry. But it does affect his footwork somewhat. A couple of balls later, Hazlewood bowls the perfect line and length, right on the off stump, forcing Pujara to play, then decking away off the seam. It kisses the edge through to Paine. I’m doing the chef’s fingers gesture in between typing.
38th over: India 105-2 (Pujara 25, Rahane 23) And on Pujara goes! Lyon’s first over of the morning, second ball, and Pujara skips down and flicks him off the pads behind square for three runs. Trés aventureux. Lyon got a huge ovation again when he came on, he really is the crowd favourite at the Gabba and has been since 2016 here, the summer that “Nice Gary” went mainstream. It doesn’t help him when he drops short and Rahane pastes him through point for four. India’s ton is up, the gap is 264.
37th over: India 98-2 (Pujara 22, Rahane 19) It’s time for a visit from Josh Hazlewood, which is of course French for “has the wood”. Tall and mighty, thundering up on his giant hoofs like something from the Book of Revelations. Even the cautious Pujara now has the juices flowing enough to push a single to cover third ball instead of just absorbing the bowler’s first five or six overs to get his eye in. This is very good stuff from Che so far today. His team is 271 behind.
36th over: India 97-2 (Pujara 21, Rahane 19) Five dot balls from Starc, then Pujara plays a simple checked drive through cover for three. He’s so compact and controlled when playing those, and they rarely go to the rope because he doesn’t hit so hard that he’ll lose control.
I’m looking at stats and Pujara has currently faced around 13,350 balls in Test cricket. Since his debut in October 2010, there aren’t many who have faced more. Steve Smith, by about 100 balls. Che could pass him today. Kane Williamson by about 300. Azhar Ali by about 1000. Joe Root by 1300, and Alastair Cook by 4000-plus. Cook finished with 17, 534 balls faced in that span.
The ridiculous part there is that Cook retire… what, three years ago? And he still palyed 101 Tests in the span since Pujara debuted. Root played 98. No one plays as much as England, so the others are Azhar 77, Williamson 83, Smith 75, Pujara 81.
35th over: India 94-2 (Pujara 18, Rahane 19) More initiative from Pujara, who drops a ball to point and dashes for the run as Green has a long way to get down to the ball. Rahane strides into another Cummins length ball and drives on the up through cover for three. High-class shot but it’s risky, that’s the sort that he could easily get wrong. The sun has just come out at the Gabba, and you’d think that playing those drives might be more sensible a bit later once any early moisture has dried out. Then add another bye to the tally as Cummins goes too short again and this time a vertically rising Paine is able to get the very tip of his glove flap to the ball and slow it up to prevent it reaching the fence.
Glove flap. Baby, glove flap.
34th over: India 89-2 (Pujara 17, Rahane 16) Pujara cuts away for four again. Each scoring stroke seems notable from this long-innings player. He’s been quite active this morning, willing to take on certain deliveries. That ball from Starc around the wicket is angled in at him, short, and he just has to lean away from it and hold the bat in position, cross-bat style, to divert behind point. Then he glances a single and Rahane flicks a brace in front of square. Seven from the over.
33rd over: India 82-2 (Pujara 12, Rahane 14) Another little bit of fortune for the Indians, as Cummins bounces Rahane but the ball takes off, clearing Paine’s leap and going for four byes. Aside from that, Rahane defends.
The deficit on the first innings is now 287.
32nd over: India 78-2 (Pujara 12, Rahane 14) Starc to Rahane, edging through the same gap for four! A different shot this time, it’s a straighter ball and Rahane tries to play through midwicket. Gets a leading edge and it flies through exactly the same window in the cordon. Starc just smiles and shakes his head. Whaddyagonnado? He follows up with a single to mid-off, and the very next ball Pujara cuts for four! Now Che is away: a shot with a bit of flourish, swishing his wrists through the shorter ball outside off and placing it just behind point along the ground.
31st over: India 69-2 (Pujara 8, Rahane 9) Cummins rolls on, and he’s making Che Pujara play, which is the first step. Two slips and a gully for El Che, as well as the leg slip that the Australians like having in place. Rahane with the conventional off-side cordon. Another maiden. Pujara has faced 16 balls this morning without scoring.
at 11.57pm GMT
30th over: India 69-2 (Pujara 8, Rahane 9) Starc to Rahane, edged for four! A proper nick flying through the air, but into the gap between Green at gully and Wade at third slip. Rahane gets very lucky. Don’t know why he played that shot. He takes a big stride forward and pushes at a very wide ball, hard hands, on the up. No upside in that shot, except he wins the smile of fortune. He goes back to leaving from that point on.
at 11.57pm GMT
29th over: India 65-2 (Pujara 8, Rahane 5) Cummins goes a little shorter and Rahane pulls that firmly behind square for a single. The bowler follows up with some good zing to Pujara, getting the ball to lift and leap through to Paine behind the stumps. Pujara sees off four more balls.
at 11.57pm GMT
28th over: India 64-2 (Pujara 8, Rahane 4) Starc from the Vulture Street end, the left-armer bowling around the wicket to the right-handed Pujara, who unsurprisingly blocks out a maiden. Starc is less measured than Cummins, bowling a couple at the body, a couple wide of the stumps, a couple drawing a forward defence.
27th over: India 64-2 (Pujara 8, Rahane 4) Pat Cummins has the ball and he’s started with Stanley Street at his back. Rahane gets going quickly. doubling his score by punching through the covers for a couple of runs. A very restrained push at the ball. Cummins otherwise lands the ball tight on the line of off stump as you’d expect.
We’re close to getting underway. Players walking out. Lots of discussion about a few cracks opening up in the pitch. It will likely be a difficult opening hour with the bowlers fresh. Have at it.
And for those of you who like to see what some of your OBO accompanists look like, here’s me and Adam Collins at the Gabba with the remnants of last night’s thunderstorm glowering in the background, going through some of the detail from day two.
For your convenience, last night’s report from the wire service about what happened yesterday.
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It’s day three. The centre. The fulcrum point. The Wednesday of Test matches, whatever day of the week it comes. It’s a Sunday in real terms here in Brisbane and it’s a sticky overcast day. Let me tell you a bit about the heat in Brisbane. It’s close. It’s intimate. It comes and stands too close to you and breathes in your ear. The amount of moisture in the air means that the air wraps around you. Then, when the sun peeks through the cloud even a little, the Australian UV index means that it cooks you faster than the sun anywhere else. It heats up all that water, and your human self starts to cook inside your own confines like a chunk of meat in a sous vide bag. It’s a very physical place to be, you’ll never be unaware of your own body in this city.
That’s what the players face when they’re out in the middle in Brisbane. India will resume after an abbreviated start to their first innings, having lost the entire third session of the second day. They’re 62 for 2 responding to Australia’s 369 all out. Another big effort required from the senior pair, Pujara and Rahane, after Rohit Sharma looked a million bucks yesterday but sold his wicket at Cash Converters prices. Australia’s bowlers are out there warming up as I type. Might be a few sprinkles of rain about but nothing that will hold us up for long. Should be another good day.
Source by www.theguardian.com