Australia v India – Adelaide, Day 2: Ashwin puts India on top

I took my wife and two sons to a restaurant called Zucca about ten years ago. Pete and I went back after the second day’s play to find a half-filled establishment, full of Chinese waiters. It seems my favourite Greek restaurant is being run by Chinese staff. The new Chinese owners serve you quickly, a thing that the original owners never did, but the food is now pedestrian rather than challenging.

 

Ashwin, the great Ashwin, always challenges. Pujara was never challenged as he calmly went about accumulating a ton and the efforts of these two Indian warriors have put India right on top after two days.

 

The day started with Shami playing a heave at a wayward Hazlewood delivery. Now Shami has form as I remember him trying to hit Ryan Harris back over his head, second ball, four years ago. Harris was ranked in the top three bowlers in the world at the time so I think you can guess the outcome and my thoughts about the intelligence of the player. I have ranted about this shot for four years and I love my prejudices being confirmed.

 

It was then the Aussies turn and immediately Finch showed why he is a handy middle order batsman for Victoria but has failed continually as an opener. His head in the air heave at a straight ball from Ishant in the first over. I immediately looked up the Hindi word for finch on google translator. Finch had the Indian disease and would not have looked out of place in the Indian top order.

 

After this appalling shot it all looked fairly pedestrian for the Australian batsmen until Ashwin came on and stayed on. Thirty odd overs of challenging off spin, on a pitch that did not turn, showed the mastery of his craft that Ashwin has achieved. The wickets that fell at the other end were the results of poor shots and it showed India error of not playing their second-best Test bowler Jedaja. Another good spinner at the other end, or any bowler asking questions, would have seen India back batting in the final session.

 

Handscomb played about as poor a stroke imaginable to edge to the keeper. Finch I have spoken about and Paine fell while I was getting a sandwich out of my bag. I missed none of Ashwin’s wickets though as everyone at the ground (including me) could sense the tension at his end. We weren’t going to miss a ball.

 

Head played attractively until the end of play but the two star players, Pujara and Ashwin, have put India right on top and I cannot see Australia avoiding a defeat in this first Test match.

 

Two tough days of Test cricket but I met my good friends Dennis and Jim sitting in their spots under the Moreton Bay Fig tress at the other end. Many reading this will have met the late Neville Turner, Law lecturer and President of the Cricket Society. I first bumped into Neville under the trees when he sauntered over to me and challenged me to name the (then) seventeen players who have made one hundred hundreds in first class cricket.

 

I said “not a problem”, grabbed a piece to paper and a pen and within a few minutes I had sixteen written down but I could not remember the last one. Neville was delighted with my effort but more delighted that I had forgotten Bradman. We became firm friends immediately. This is the first Adelaide Test without Neville for many, many years.

 

Australia does not have a Bradman. Australia does not have a player that can win this game but let’s hope that they do not roll over quickly and I am still in Adelaide on Monday.

 

Comments

  1. Phil admit disagree re not turning yes not turning square but both Lyon and Ashwin have gained more than enough turn our batting exactly as expected a lot of people have forgotten how much,Smith carried this team.
    I expect,India to be in control of the game by the end of play tonight hope I am wrong

  2. Colin Ritchie says:

    Food for thought there Phil. Enjoying your reports. Today should be a cracker, the game is up for grabs I believe, and whoever takes the initiative should become the eventual victor. We’ll have to wait and see though. Cheers, Col

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