Australia’s win in Pune wasn’t just incredible, it was illuminating. Here’s what we learnt about the match:
One. Should the ICC ever introduce Timeless Tests again, we know our boys are adept to excel on 13th and 14th day pitches. Indeed, if they ever play cricket on Mars, we know Smith and co could draw upon this Pune experience as part of their acclimatisation!
Fair dinkim, has there ever been a dodgier pitch? That shamelessly doctored thing in Pune was more suited to a dirt bike track than the Border-Gavasker series. And yet our boys prevailed. Better still, they dominated!
Just brilliant fellas, and you do realise you’ve caused headaches for our local curators, yeah? I mean, now they’re not gonna know whether to go with green and bouncy or cratered and grubbing? But fear not, Channel 9 will insist we keep turning out roads so they get 5 days of content, so it’ll be less a conundrum and more a hypothetical.
Two. When Steve O’Keefe makes someone eat their words, he makes ‘em choke on them. His 12 for 70 emptied a bottle of Tabasco sauce on Shane Warne’s baked beans and then insisted he snort wasabi with every forkful. Actually, Tabasco doesn’t quite do his figures justice. Make that ‘Professor Payne’s Sphincter Shrinker Hot Sauce,’ which has 1.5 million Scoville Units. (That’s 700 times hotter than Tabasco!)
Warnie’s utterly graceless dismissal of O’Keefe’s merits in the months leading to this series was something many hoped he’d eat. Well, we got our wish, alright. O’Keefe force fed every one of those criticisms down Warne’s throat and did the world a favour by shutting him up for 3 glorious days. It was as satisfying a comeback as there’s been and surely will have Warnie marrying his opinions with trepidation going forward (and if not marrying, at least staying the night!)
Three. India use DRS as well as Gomer Pyle would use missile navigation technology. Fair dinkum, how do you squander all your reviews so early in so many innings?
The BCCI resisted adopting DRS all these years maintaining they weren’t satisfied with the technology. Well, perhaps they had other misgivings? Perhaps they were concerned their egocentric players would continually burn through reviews in acts of desperation leaving little left for howlers. If so, Pune vindicated that prognostication; and if the BCCI felt this would put them at a disadvantage, they were right.
Four. Mitchell Starc is more than just a handy tailender.
We’ve always thought Starc was a competent bat, and his calculated hitting in both innings validated that appraisal. He surely now has claims on being labeled something just under an all-rounder. Perhaps, a ‘nigh-on-rounder’ or a ‘I-can’t-believe-it’s-not-butter,-margarine-rounder.’ Either way, he’s a star, and it’s great to see him digging deep like O’Keefe and making an ass of Warne for writing him off back when.
Five. Steven Smith has furthered his claims to being our best since Bradman.
What more can you say about the likable Smith? Nothing can stop him from piling on runs. Sure he had a slice of luck here and there, but it took more than just the rub of the green to make runs on that pitch. You had to be a batsmen of rare skill to find a way. Just ask the clueless looking Indian top order if you doubt it.
Smith continues to astound with his feats and will be a worthy number two to Bradman should he finish his career averaging 60.
Six. Matt Renshaw has the courage of an ANZAC.
Just when we thought he might be soft for retiring in the first dig, he bewitches us with a bravery you’d associate with Weary Dunlop.
To see him finding his way back to his feet after throwing up on his haunches was as inspiring as it was distressing. It also put his retirement in the first innings into perspective. I mean, if he could get up off the canvas like that, then that call of nature must have been debilitating. I just hope he didn’t go with a half-flush for the sake of people queuing for that cubicle!
Seven. Bangalore is going to be fantastic!