India v Australia – Pune Test, Day 1: It just didn’t feel like cricket!

The footy season is approaching and dates have been noted in the diary for the next six months. Not just the footy days but those required for travelling around the country to see my team perform. I love March to September!

My diary each year seems to contain an abundance of sport: anything involving Queensland teams, cricket – particularly Shield and Tests – and of course all nine games each week of the footy season. Time is also made for rugby league – especially the Broncos, and if Australia is playing union, well, I’ll watch that too, even though I don’t really understand the rules. In fact, if Australia is playing anything, the Foxtel recording device will get a good working over.

The current Test in India has been pencilled in since the dates were announced. We even thought of going there for the series, but decided that travelling Australia for the Ashes would take precedence this year. Somehow, any event against the Poms rates just that little bit higher on the sporting scale. And, in retrospect, Marshall wouldn’t have been able to travel this month anyway.

Day 1 of the Test against India: just finished watching it and quite unexpectedly, I’m feeling a little disappointed. The score at stumps looks good on paper 9/256. It has to be good, if Warnie tell us so, especially on a crumbling pitch that will only deteriorate by the 4th innings. But, I’m still feeling a little disappointed.

Where were the sublime strokes off the bat that we’re used to seeing? Apart from Renshaw’s innings and Starcs’s wonderful 57 which included three sixes and five boundaries, the batting was nothing more than the spinners would allow – defence, defence, defence. I actually found it quite boring at times. It just didn’t fell like cricket to me.

Don’t get me wrong. I love spin, and watching the greatest spinner himself work wondrous miracles with the ball will often be at the forefront of my mind when I think about Test cricket. But Warnie was the only spinner in the team, and the anticipation and intrigue that followed each arm movement and subsequent trajectory of the ball became a focus – something to look forward to. Something that occurred occasionally.

On this, the first day, apart from the 59 runs and 4 wickets off the two quicks, it was all just spin. I wanted more stroke play. I wanted to see the bat do more than simply take a straight vertical position to defend yet another slow ball. And that’s coming from someone who dislikes 20/20!

However, Mitchell Starc’s performance, against all bowling actions, did leave me smiling at the end of the day. And for that, I am grateful.

About Jan Courtin

A Bloods tragic since first game at Lake Oval in 1948. Moved interstate to Sydney to be closer to beloved Swans in 1998. My book "My Lifelong Love Affair with the Swans" was launched by the Swans at their headquarters at the SCG in August 2016.

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