Australia v India – Adelaide, Day 1: A genuine struggle

ADELAIDE DAY 1

 

It was a long road from Mildura at 4am this morning but the excitement of the series made the trip a treat.  Not many Double Vees on the road and strangely enough no live kangaroos.  Plenty of dead ones however.  I know it is a different game but as I drive I wonder how the Kangaroos will go out in the middle today?

 

When dawn broke at 5.18am the one thing that struck me was the beautiful green sports grounds. It is a pity we do not see any money coming from the powers that be  to “grass roots”. Listening to Ali Clarke on ABC radio interviewing the CEO of SACA Keith Bradshaw this morning about the proposed hotel development at the Oval, Bradshaw said,”Any profits from the venture will be going to both cricket and football at grass roots level.”  Where have I heard that before?

 

Speaking with two country people this morning from Parkes and Mildura they said they have never seen a dollar from CA for grass roots cricket.

 

Oh, how I love the radio!  The first person I heard Ali interview this morning was “The Prince of Cricket Mildura”.  One of the icons of Test cricket James Walder. Anyone worth their salt in cricket knows James and his brother Robert.  Between them they have witnessed 300 Test matches around the world.  James arrived at the ground at 5.15am to make sure he did not miss out on a seat.

 

There is a lover of the great game.

 

It is hot in Adelaide as only City of Churches can be.  Whoever wins the toss will bat despite a tinge of green on the wicket.

 

Kohli does.

 

Early it is Hazlewood who looks the more impressive of the bowlers with good line and length and it is not long before he tempts Rahul (2) to play an injudicious shot and he is well taken by Finch at third.

 

Starc warms to his task and despite bowling wide of the off-stump on occasions he has Vijay (11) playing well away from his body for Paine to take.  A great start for the Australians at 2/15.

 

A very disappointing crowd for the start of play.  The Croweaters have just got into the swing of day-night tests but the belligerent Indians said “NO”!  Officials are still expecting between 20 and 25,000 today.

 

Australia are right on top when Khawaja brilliantly catches King Kohli (3) in the gully from Cummins. Uzzie’s diet has paid dividends already.  It was a superb effort.

 

At 3/19 the visitors are in big trouble and at this stage it is hard to see them scoring 100.  Each of the Three Amigos has taken a wicket and the catches of Finch and Khawaja have been a real bonus as I have thought these two were the weak links in Australia’s fielding.

 

India 3/25 at the first break and Australia have won this part of the session handsomely.

 

The bowlers are well on top and it is surprising when Rahane dances down to Lyon and lifts him over long on for six. The Indians will not want to be contained for long.

 

New short leg Harris is finding it difficult and possibly should have had two catches to date. If Khawaja is going to be at slip then I would have given Handscomb, Australia’s best fieldsman, the job.  Why does it always have to be the new boy?

 

The crowd on the hill looks sparse but the weather has driven then back to under the Moreton Bay Figs. The cheapest and best air-conditioning at a sporting arena that I know.

 

Rahane (13) is dropped at short leg but he flashes at Hazlewood and Handscomb takes a simple catch, for him.  4/41.

 

Easily Australia’s session with India going to lunch at 4/56 and they will need sterling work from Pujara and Sharma if they are to make a game of this.   Full credit to the Australian attack and skipper Tim Paine.  They have dominated the morning with a workmanlike performance and no bowler has been over taxed.

 

Surprised at lunch where the locals were promoting Jacob’s Creek wines where all the prices were in rupees.  Probably a little-known fact that when it comes to wines in India where women are rising consumers with 43% of all wine purchases made by women and 57% men which is huge compared to beer and spirits.

 

The shot of the day as Sharma beautifully executes a cover-drive of Cummins. This is what we love to see – the batsman taking on the bowler in an endeavour to arrest the ascendency.

 

Even the Indian spectators are finding it hot with two huge flags draped over three rows but nary a person in sight.

 

No, it is not Aussie Rules! How long does it take to signal a Sharma six?  Not that it makes much difference as he again attempts to hoik Lyon over the fence and is well caught by Harris. Out for 37 and India are 5/86.

 

It has been very undisciplined batting from India and nearly every batsman showing his annoyance in getting out.  Shades of the home side.

 

Pant spoons Starc for six a most unusual shot and then he snicks the next one for four.  Pujara has been solid and is acting the sheet-anchor.

 

They take the score to 127 when Pant (25) gets the faintest of edges ever seen on snicko from Lyon and the Indians are now 6/127.  Should see the home side in later on today.

 

There has been no fire and brimstone in the batting.  In fact, it has been very, very average.  There is good depth in the Indians batting but they have not committed themselves to the task at hand.  In fact, they have been very disappointing.

 

On the other hand, the four Australian bowlers have performed splendidly.  Their commitment has been excellent.

 

At tea India 6/143 and Australia win another session.

 

Pujara and Ashwin have been around cricket for a few years now and they new the game was already in the balance.  They reacted accordingly, Ashwin playing the sheet-anchor and Pujara going for his shots.  Reaching 50 in fine style he is the problem for the bowlers who must be tiring after an exceedingly hot day in the field.

 

There are very few spectators out in the sun.  One group that is surviving must have had their seats as part of a “fine-dining deal”.

 

India should be on the attack now but lack of wickets left has left them playing each ball on its merits.  The bowlers are looking very tired as their energy is sapping.  To Tim Paine’s credit he is using them very well indeed in short bursts.  At 6/171 all the speed men have bowled 15 overs each and Lyon 22.

 

India won this part session by not losing a wicket and adding 67 runs. A good fight-back by the veterans.

 

23,802 in attendance.  Not bad considering the weather.

 

Cummins got one to just move slightly away from Ashwin (25) and the ball went to the safe hands of Handscomb.  7/189.

 

Cheteshwar Pujara has proved to be a real stumbling block for the Australians and his has been a fine innings that has kept his team in the game.  At one stage during the afternoon it looked as if a three-day test was imminent.

 

Ishant Sharma (4) tries to hit Starc out of the ground and is bowled. A rather foolish shot when stumps are nigh. Why is he still in the team?    8/210.

 

Pujara reaches his one hundred from 231 balls with 6 fours and 1 six.  A fine knock. He also bought up 5000 runs in Test cricket when he reached 99. Gigs?

 

Extra half hour called for by the umpires and the Indians made hay on the tired bowlers until the last over when Cummins magnificently ran out Pujara (123.  A wonderful inning that has kept his team in with a chance.)

 

Finished up an interesting day’s play with India 9/250 Shami 6 not out. Starc 2/63, Hazlewood 2/52, Cummins 2/49 and Lyon 2/82 .

 

In summing up Australia have a slight advantage with a wonderful first half of the day but to India’s credit they fought back hard and a great day is on order for tomorrow.

 

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About Bob Utber

At 75 years of age, 'Citrus Bob' Utber is doing what he wanted to do as a 14-year old: writing, talking and watching sport. How good is that!?! He lives in Mildura with his wife and 'furry kids'; a labradoodle "Freddy Flintoff" and a groodle named "Chloe on Flinders".

Comments

  1. Lake Cullulleraine had a magnificent irrigated playing field in the 60’s. Is it still there? The only landmark between Renmark and Mildura back then. There is a lyrical romance to the names of many Australian country towns.
    Will you be in Perth for the next Test? Should be tumbleweeds blowing around the stands. Just when they build a 60,000 seat stadium the WACA now looks oversized for the current demand.
    If ever there was a concrete canyon and weather perfect for day-night tests it is Perth’s new Optus. Great for spectators but the time difference is no good for TV. Dubai on the Swan.
    Onya for keeping the faith. Mine waned after lunch.

  2. Lake C gets a mention in Confessions of a Thirteenth Man PB.

    Citrus, I found that cricket gripping. While still critical I am not as critical of the Indian batsmen as some others. I think they went out to take control early. The problem with that, it was the wrong tactic on a 40 degree day. They would have had control from 2.30 had they been 1/105 then.

    Thanks for your report.

  3. John Butler says:

    Glad the roos didn’t cause an issue, Citrus.

    It looked a tough day at the office, given the heat. Which makes to Aussie effort most commendable.

    Cheers

  4. Citrus it is disgraceful that India have so much authority to deny the day night test,Handscomb struggled at bat pad disagree that,Sharma was trying to hit the ball out of the ground good to see 1 player actually value and understand test match batting a very costly non referral thanks Citrus

  5. Marvellous to be reading of your observations, Citrus Bob.
    That’s an impressive effort of yours – to drive from Mildura on the morning of the game.

    Unlike others, I am very happy to experience the end of pink ball cricket (for now).

    Test cricket such a long game.
    Full of hope and despair and many events that lead up dead-end tracks.
    Rapt for TD Paine.

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