Australia v India – First Test, Day 1: Experiences and Observations





Experiences and Observations from Day 1 17/12/2020


by Daryl Schramm


It started with a bang. Second ball of the Test in fact and the bails and stumps were set alight. What a start. Just what we needed.

Hazlewood appeared to be often overstepping from my vantage point, but not called on field or in the stand. Why? I don’t recall any no balls called by either on-field umpire throughout the day. Slack.


The first 5 overs took 29 minutes to bowl. A minute a ball. Really! The next 6 overs took 26 minutes and at drinks it was 12 overs (72 balls) in 60 minutes. Far too slow. It took another 30 minutes to get to 18 overs when India were 1/32 at well under 2 runs an over.

Then Cummins bowled Argarwal with a pearler. See what happens when you pitch the ball up. Too many half trackers between the first and second wickets.


2/41 at dinner after 25 overs. Yes, it was tense, and India were hell bent on survival, but had all the no-balls been called the over rate would have been worse (or maybe had they been called earlier and on field it may have prevented problems later.

Three reviews each team? Hasn’t it been two in the past? A 40 minute dinner break at 4:30. All previous day-nighters had the 40 minute dinner break later in the day. What other goodies were the Indians able to negotiate or was it what we wanted as well? Still, it didn’t stop me from raiding my bag of goodies an hour after the start of play. That’s what normally happens.


A couple of what appeared to be chances close in during the first two sessions went begging. Where is Cam Bancroft when you need him?
Jeez, it’s slow. India’s 50 up in the 30th over. 2/71 after 40 overs, but at least we are on track for 30 overs in the session, which was in fact achieved despite a delay initiated by Kohli. There was noticeably more urgency in the field.


What is with this insistence of throwing the ball hard back to the keeper from the field even if a run is not on? Wouldn’t most keepers want to save their hands? It nearly came unstuck when Marnus nearly created some freebee overthrows just after drinks in the middle session.
The 100 came up in the 50th over, then we got the much-needed wicket of Pujara on review caught around the corner close in. I had been freezing in the western stand for some time so I went to find some sun in the outer for a while. It was comfier and there was more atmosphere but I couldn’t escape the wind.


3/107 after 55 overs (they dropped under 2 per over again) at the 20 minute tea break with 66 runs off 180 balls for the session. The final session should be interesting with Kohli looming large.


3/124 after 60 overs (back above 2!) and Kohli’s 50 came up the next ball. Batting beautifully. So that’s 30 overs to bowl in 130 minutes. It won’t happen as the new ball will slow things down.


3/140 after 65 overs, the 50 partnership between Kohli and Rahane of 111 balls, became 3/179 after 75 overs at 8:58 pm leaving 32 + 30 minutes to bowl the last 15 overs. Fat chance, especially with India taking the initiative with a six from Rahane off Cummins the next over.


I’m back in the western stand now. It’s becoming easier for the Indian batsmen. Oh shit! A runout! What were they thinking? Rahane did come a long way down after driving the ball to Hazlewood, Kohli responded but a late change of heart call from the striker meant Kohli was stranded. I’m sure I noticed a huge sigh of relief from Lyon after taking the ball cleanly and removing the bails. Not quite the pressure cooker of Headingley last year (which I was there to witness), but a relief all the same even though this time the throw coming in was easier to handle.


80 overs up at 9:18 pm, India are 4/193 with 42 minutes left for the day with the new ball. Two more wickets would be nice. I raid the food bag again for my second yoghurt and finish off the choc coated licorice twists. Very silly leaving the Barossa Valley cabanas I had bought earlier in the day on the kitchen bench. I’m peckish.


Starc M has done it again with the 4th ball of the new ball getting Rahane LBW. It was the 2nd ball earlier in the day. He is a new ball bowler after all! Three overs later Vihari is trapped lbw by Hazelwood. There are the two wickets I hoped for. Can there be more? Australia have the initiative now.


At 10:00 pm we had bowled 88.2 overs. Not good enough. 6/233 off 89 overs is the stumps score. India got to a 2.5 run rate and the Ashwin/Saha partnership has to be broken early tomorrow to maintain the marginal advantage we currently have.


An interesting day in interesting times. Will pack the hoodie and take more care in packing my food tomorrow. Might even attempt a smuggling operation with some port as insurance against the coolness of sundown.




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  1. Good to read a report from a fellow Curmudgeon in Arms.
    I’m jealous of anyone who gets to spend a day at Adelaide Oval. That dreamy view over the Victor Richardson gates to St Peters Cathedral spire and the majestic hills is locked in the boyhood memory. But enough of that “western stand” nonsense. John Creswell, Mostyn Evans. Edwin Smith or George Giffen please. Those wooden benches are a bit character building aren’t they.
    Enjoy the second day. Bumrah will wreak some havoc under the lights.

  2. Daryl, I have been an observer of umpires for the Mercantile Cricket association and in one season I saw just over 100 uncalled no balls but no legal deliveries called incorrectly a no ball. All umpires undercall these and there is a reason why this occurs. If you call lots of no balls you will get poor captains reports and so you will not progress up the system. This is the inbuilt bias in all cricket associations.

    I favour a three hit system. Three front foot no balls and you are banned from bowling in this innings. You can put your foot anywhere from the bloody boundary line to the popping crease. I call many more no balls than most umps as I have seen how we miss so many.

    Did you notice Green running in the protected area? Anderson of England has done this his entire career. The huge divot his foot made in the protected zone at the MCG last ashes series amused me greatly. Once again if you enforce this Law, bad captains reports etc etc

  3. I have instituted the following system to get over rates up in the Merks this season.

    I expect all bowlers, having delivered the ball, not involved in fielding, to walk back to their marks quickly and immediately. If they don’t I use the Time Wasting by the Fielding team (42.10) and that gets them going.

    My games all go at above 17 overs per hour.

    One simple thing they should do is when a review is called for the next batsman should come out, take block and be ready to go is a wicket has fallen. The fielding team should be in their fielding position ready to go.

  4. Daryl Schramm says

    Hi PB. I admit to having to research the word curmudgeon. Not sure if the cap fits although I admit my words may have indicated so. The western stand is the ticketek term for our allocated seating (at least I don’t have to get there 2 hours before play to fight over my seat of choice this year, the system already did that and you take what you get given, for which I am thankful). Looking forward to today again. Something tells me that neither team is going to be in total control during this test.

    Hi PH. I have seen the non calling at district level as well. I can understand the self preservation attitude at lower levels, but not at international level. It’s been going on for years, and the technology is being used for the wrong reasons. More important to call them as they occur and use the technology to help the umpire to get the dismissals correct in my view. Technology and umpiring decisions and approaches in all high level sport makes the job a lot harder for those performing the roles at lower levels. Go to a parkland footy match and watch and listen to patrons that believe they are watching through an AFL interpretation lens.

  5. In terms of uncalled no-balls, the mind goes back to the time Shane Warne holed out when on 99, in the Perth Test against NZ in late 2001. Years later, it was revealed that Daniel Vettori (who was a spinner, I might add) had blatantly overstepped the crease.
    Daryl, I’m glad to finally read someone else mentioning this thing about fielders pegging the ball to the keeper when there’s no prospect of a run. It seems ridiculous and unnecessary to me. Another thing I don’t understand is the following: when a bowler fields the ball from a defensive shot that rolls up the pitch (i.e in the bowler’s follow through), why does the bowler then throw the ball to a fielder? Why doesn’t the bowler just hang onto the ball, considering the bowler needs it by the time they get back to their mark for the next delivery?

  6. A good read, thanks Daryl.
    I am most envious

  7. Luke Reynolds says

    Fantastic write up Daryl.

    Re the throwing the ball back hard to the keeper, it’s a common practice even at much lower levels. Think the theory is to get in the habit of good throws to the keeper while looking sharp and professional as a team. To show the opposition that “you are on”. Who knows if it actually works.

  8. Daryl Schramm says

    Thanks for the comments.
    Liam. I just do not understand some aspects of the modern game. As a bowler I wanted the ball back asap so I could work on it the way I wanted (nothing sinister I might add).
    Darren. R U more envious not witnessing live the day 3 first session?
    Luke, you are ‘not on’ if anyone does a Marnus and nearly causes runs. It’s just not something I get. I’d rather have a shower and a beer on time than to delay proceedings.

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