Australia v India – First Test, Day 1: Tight Test cricket








by Citrus Bob Utber


There are no surprises in Test cricket anymore. Once upon a time you heard about THE team 10 minutes before the game commenced. Nowadays, and in particular the Australian hierarchy, telegraph the team so that we can spend hours discussing who should be playing etc. etc.


Coach Langer quoted last year that he wanted players to get big scores to make the team. How come then that Joe Burns with an average of about 12 for this season got a guernsey?


Likewise, India selected Prithvi Shaw who had little going for him before this game.


The traditional national anthems before the game commenced saw the Australians trying to sing their anthem but the one who belted it out best and with eyes shut was the South African Marnus Labuschagne.  A bit like the Islanders in the Rugby Union team.  What is it about sportsmen with an Anglo-Saxon heritage?  Are they too embarrassed to sing proudly of their country?


Kohli won the toss on a greenish pitch and decided to have first dig.


Shaw (0) played on to the second ball in what was a superb opening over from Starc who beat Pujara and Agarwal as well. The Indian selection had failed without a whimper.


Noticed the bowlers leaving their caps beyond the boundary when they came on to bowl. Much better than the absurd new practice of someone wearing two caps on the playing field.


Starc and Hazlewood were sharp early and causing the batsmen some concern.  Numerous nicks were just falling short of the slips cordon.


After 10 overs Pujara is starting to move into stride with a couple of nice drives from Hazlewood.


Despite the fall of Shaw, the Indian batsmen have weathered the initial onslaught and were leaving the majority of balls that were short and outside the off-stump. Pujara in particular was very circumspect with his shot making.


Paine keeps swapping his three musketeers around and keeps Green waiting despite the TV screen introducing the tyro to the crowd with applause. Cummins gets one to nip into Agarwal (17) and is bowled.  India 2/32 and the master Virat Kohli strides to the crease for his only test of the summer.


It is hard to visualise the crowd as with the COVID regulations they are strategically placed. What stands out is that there are no crowds on the grass at the Cathedral End. An historic moment in itself.


Australia’s “new great hope” Cameron Green does come on 10 minutes before lunch. He is a massive young man more akin to a centre-half-forward in the AFL than a Test cricketer. Will he be the next “Big Ship”?  Only time will tell and the off-field team (who number many) will be in charge of his development.


The Green Machine looks very relaxed in his approach to the wicket with his action and smooth follow through. Dare I say Keith Miller with a longer run-up?


At lunch/dinner? India are 2/41. Sounds and looks slow but the bowlers after their initial burst bowled to wide of the stumps and the resolute Indians were not tempted. Cummins is the most impressive.


It is not long before Lyon comes into the attack and Kohli plays the first aggressive stroke of the innings as he charges him and lofts him for four down the ground. The King is looking good.


When Starc returns to the attack Kohli plays the shot of the day when a flick of the wrists at the last second caresses the ball to the mid-wicket boundary.


Lyon in his 98th Test match settles down and has Pujara searching and probing and looking very uncomfortable.


30 runs in the first hour after food is not substantial but Kohli (21) and Pujara (28) are still there in what is a beautiful evening for cricket.  The COVID CAPACITY looks like it has been reached as people stream in after a working day.


A great battle now developing between Lyon and the batsmen. He is right on the spot and not giving them anything to drive or cut.  He has four men around the bat for Pujara who decides to attack him and hits two fours in a row.


At the other end new chum Green is containing with fine control and his captain is supporting him with a packed legside field.


Lyon get s his reward when Pujara (43) pushes at one and Labuschagne diving forward holds the catch. India 3/100.


It is hard to say who is on top at the moment. The scoreboard suggests it is Australia but while Kohli remains at the crease one would have to say it is about even.


This is a measured innings by the King of Kricket and anyone watching live will understand all the hype that has been written about him here in Australia since the tour began. Things like “the most Australian of all cricketers” certainly endears him to the Australian fan. To put it in football parlance he is “the Barassi of The Round Ball”.  You cannot dislike the man in my opinion simply because he (a) enjoys the game (b) plays to win (c) loves his team-mates and above all plays fair. The consummate professional.


Rahane is offering his captain solid support and they are scoring more freely than any other time during the day/night.  They have now put on 50 runs comfortably.


Hazlewood’s figures look imposing 0/21 of 15 overs but half of the balls are being left by the batsmen, likewise Mitchell Starc 1/41 of 16 overs.  Attack the wicket boys these blokes are just going to let anything wide go through to the keeper.  They are in no hurry and whilst the Aussies might have a plan it is not taking wickets.


Lyon, the one most likely to take wickets, comes on from the Cathedral End to try and break the partnership.  Always goes unnoticed nowadays but the Australian fielding and in particular the throwing is superb.


Cummins bowls short to Rahane and he hooks it for six and the partnership is now worth 85 runs. Rahane is now showing why he is vice-captain of this Indian team and will be captain from next week.


Kohli (74) is out!  Attempting a ridiculous run from the bowlers end he is sent back by Rahane and is well out of his crease. A great captain’s knock cut short by impetuosity.  India 4/188.


Lyon is now operating 6 – 3 on the leg side!  Shades of Bodyline and Green is the reverse, shades of a gold old-fashion field.


At 4/193 Australia take the new ball and this is where Cameron Green has been handy, sending down a tidy 11 overs 15 runs to give the opening bowlers a good rest before attacking with the pink cherry.


Immediately Starc strikes removing Rahane (42) LBW. Rahane goes for the DRS but the ball would have hit half-way up the middle stump a shocking referral by the batsman. India 5/196 and the visitors are looking vulnerable.  2 wickets for 11 runs in the last 5 overs.


A new lease of life has hit the Australians and Hazlewood has Vihari (16) leg before wicket and India have now fallen to 6/206.


Tim Paine continues to grow in stature as captain. He rotated his bowlers well and was able  to control the scoring and he attacked right through the six hours of play. All front-line bowlers operated from both ends and for virtually the whole innings he had six fieldsmen in catching positions behind the wicket.


SAHA (9) and Ashwin (15)  see out the fiery opening spell with the second new ball and at stumps India 6/233.  Starc has 2 wickets, Lyon, Hazlewood and Cummins 1 a piece.


A Test match day if ever there was one with Australia having a slight advantage at the close.




The Cricinfo scorecard can be found HERE



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About Bob Utber

At 80 years of age Citrus Bob is doing what he wanted to do as a 14 year-old living on the farm at Lang Lang. Talking, writing, watching sport. Now into his third book on sports history he lives in Mildura with his very considerate wife (Jenny ) and a groodle named "Chloe On Flinders". How good is that.


  1. Bob, I envy you! Would love to have been there. Thought the Hazlewood-Kohli battle was a ripper. Kohli won on points.The run out was huge of course.

  2. Daryl Schramm says

    Well done Bob. I think I have your phone number from a breakfast a few years ago now when we met at the Oxford Hotel. I will try it later to see if you have time to catch up.

  3. Comprehensive Citrus. As you say a real day of Test cricket.
    Green as “Keith Miller with a longer run-up”? Jeez you might as well say WG Grace without a beard. Good to see you are catering for the nonogenarian audience.
    Your advocacy of Kohli is well argued, but a bit harsh giving him a bake for the run out. Classic “yes; no; sorry” from Rahane. Kohli did what every schoolboy is taught – follow the batter and not the ball if it is hit in front of the wicket.
    Cameron Green shows that the side needs more West Australians. Shaun Marsh should be opening.

  4. JTH – the run-out will determine the outcome. KK was showing why he is such a great player given Hazlewood,s attack on him. Yes, place empty without you!

    DS – give it a shot DS!
    PB- strange you mention “TheDoctor” I was going to use him as the comparison then I thought only PB would remember him. He is a big lad with much promise. Yes Shaun, Mitch, Geoff and Rod should all be in the team and even DK.
    Why not continue the push for segregation and then you can have the full team plus the coach with the mantra” runs and more runs if you want a game (JB excepted)”.?

  5. Nice report Bob. I thought the Indians rode their luck well – so many mishits that fell safely – much to Lyon’s dismay.Starc’s accuracy was most pleasing as was rewarded with good wickets. Kohli played a, for him, restrained innings and led the way for the visitors. Most unfortunate to be run out (most run outs are disappointing). The test is now evenly poised Can the Aussies removed India’s tail quickly or will the tail wag. Then, of course, our openers will need to lay a foundation for Smith and co. Everything points to another fascinating afternoon / evening’s play. Let’s hope the Aussies use the DRS better than yesterday.

  6. Daryl Schramm says

    Sorry Bob. Number is gone. I’m sure I had it. Maybe try my email address?

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