Australia v India – Fourth Test, Day 3: Wonderful fightback by India’s tail leaves game in the balance

Border Gavaskar Trophy

 

From the outset it looked like it was going to be a dour struggle if the first hour was any indication. Only lose balls from Starc were treated with contempt. The wicket is playing true and there is not much in it for the bowlers.

 

Starc and Cummins operate for the first hour so is Hazlewood fit or did he do an injury on Day 2? If the latter he would be a huge loss to the attack particularly with Starc’s wayward bowling.

 

Trouble with not being at the ground you don’t know what is going on! Hazlewood is here and he is on for Cummins!

 

It is going to take a good ball to get these two veterans out.  They know how to defend.

 

Time to get “Lyon on the line” with deep respect to Tony Greig.  He is the bowler for the day with Hazlewood tying them down at the other end.

 

Tying them down! He rips in a ripper to Pujara (25) that moves enough to take the edge and Paine does the rest.  That was a huge wicket for Australia as Pujara is not known as “The Wall II” for nothing. One of the best balls in the series.

 

Ajinkya Rahane will need all the skills he has as a captain and in particular a batsman now.

 

Rishabh Pant does not come in next; it is Mayank Agarwal. Obviously, the visitors looking to consolidate rather than go for the runs.  Cannot follow the logic as Pant can change the tempo and flow of a game just by his attacking play.

 

Don’t like to brag but Foxtel are more than 12 months late with their discussion and news on the Gabbatroopers. The Footy Almanac were first on the scene way back in November 2019!

 

Watching Cameron Green bowl today he certainly is tidy and keeps good length but there does not seem to be much variety and the Indian batsmen are playing him with ease. This is his fourth match now and its time he came up with a few tricks. He is safely in the team – now is the time to experiment.

 

At lunch the visitors are 4/161 with Agarwal (38) playing safe and Pant (4) yet to get in to top gear.

 

Ah the good old lunch break!  How many times has this break taken a wicket and Agarwal goes in Hazlewood’s first over without addition to the score? A lazy shot saw Smith juggle the catch at second slip.  India 5/161.  Hazlewood has been right on the spot today and now has 2/25 from 16 overs.

 

Big task ahead for Pant and new chum Washington Sundar to whittle back Australia’s lead. The Wash has scored a century in first class cricket (159) so he must be able to handle the bat as the Aussie quicks pepper him. Will have a lot of that if he hangs around for long.

 

Not long before Pant decides to go on the attack and hits two beautiful fours, a square cut and a straight drive, from Cummins.  This is his game so why hold back – the runs will come and the lead will diminish. 

 

The lead doesn’t diminish as Pant (23) plays a rash shot from Hazlewood and Green takes a smart catch.  India now 6/186 with not much to follow.

 

Have lost count in the match just how many batsmen have got themselves out with weak or insipid shots and Pant’s wicket just added to the total.  What did Bradman say “if you keep the ball on the ground you won’t be out caught.” Terrible batting by both teams.

 

Yet another marvellous fight back by the Indians. We have been discussing for all this series where are the replacement players for Australia coming from?  Well, I can tell you just go to India and search around for five minutes and you will get enough players with G & D to make it to the next level.

 

Tremendous performance by Shardul Thakur playing his second Test and Washington Sundar making his debut. Pounds to peanuts that nobody watching this game would have expected these two to put on a partnership of 50. Yet here we have it a couple of Indians given the chance to play making the absolute most of it.  And it has Shardul in particular has played some fine shots including a six of Patrick Cummins who looks as if he has had enough cricket for the series.  Mind you it is very steamy out there (what did we say about playing a test in Brisbane in January?) and it has been tough work for the bowlers.

 

At tea India has Shardul 6/253 with Washington Sundar 38 and Shardul Thakur 33 and they have just created the record of India in Brisbane for the seventh wicket.  Hazlewood easily the best of the bowlers with 3/43.

 

4.00pm – just had an email from the head of Gabbatroopers Tony Holznagel who said they had 170 at the cricket yesterday and are aiming for 700 during the Ashes. They had a walk in Townsville during November and raised $13,500 for Movember which he said was a miracle in that heat.

 

Shardul plays a magnificent cut shot of Starc for four. He certainly has shown us a variety of scoring shots for a number eight batsman.  Furthermore, he really shows it when he skips down the wicket and hits Lyon for six to bring up his maiden Test fifty from 90 balls.

 

Shortly after another marvellous 50 when Washington Sundar reaches his from 108 balls and the partnership is now worth 106.

 

Have another theory on why India continues to produce cricketers of quality.  Could it be that the average Indian is hungry to make it to the top in cricket at any cost?  Our blokes as we know can do very well financially in other forms of the game around the world without having to be constantly monitored in more ways than any normal person would to make it.

 

Or are we, Anglo-Saxons predominantly too bloody lazy to put in that extra effort?

 

Australia starts to lose their cool as Lyon hurls the ball back to the keeper after Washington drives the ball straight back to him and then gives the batsman a real glare. Very, very lucky it did not hit Washington. Just not cricket Nathan Lyon particularly after all the accolades you have had this week.

 

The bowlers are really struggling in the oppressive conditions now.  Where is Australia’s leggy?

 

The runs keep coming and India are now only 62 runs behind. Who would have thought that two hours ago?

 

Shardul is obviously tiring too he swings at Cummins gets 2 and then tries again next ball and is clean bowled for 67 (9 fours and 2 sixes). A truly fantastic innings for his team. India now 7/309 a partnership of 123 and the visitors are right in the game.

 

Saini gets the treatment from Cummins but survives. How long as he does not show any confidence out there.  The bowlers will be keen to knock over the last 3 wickets quickly and have a well – earned break.

 

The fast men are trying to bounce the batsmen out but both Saini and Washington are leaving the majority of balls along as a graph is showing 99% would have missed the stumps anyway.  Both Hazlewood and Cummins are steaming in with probably their fastest balls of the day in an endeavour to shake the batsmen. It pays-off when Saini (5) backs away from a Hazlewood delivery and Smith takes an easy catch at second slip.  India now 8/ 320 and Hazlewood picks up his 4th wicket.

 

Washington (62) goes in the next over when Green takes another smart catch in the gully from Starc.  It was a nothing shot but the continual pounding the batsmen have had has now paid dividends 9/328.  Green’s fielding is another plus for him. He has sure hands.

 

Hazlewood bowls Siraj (13) trying to hit out and the fast man finishes with 5/57 in a lion-hearted performance despite the humidity. India all out for 336 in arrears by 33 runs with 2 days play left.  Natarajan finished 1 not out.  Starc and Cummins both took 2 wickets and Lyon 1.

 

Would have thought India would have wanted to see the day out but no they want to have a few overs at the tired Australians before stumps. As we have said and witnessed there is no backing down with this team.  Despite losing Pujara and Rahane early it has been India’s day in another inspiring performance.

 

Warner is not mucking around tonight and hits Siraj for 3 fours in a row. Although Australia’s lead was only 33 India cannot afford to give away easy runs as they are runs they will have to make in the fourth dig.

 

At stumps Australia are 0/21 with 2 days play to go.

 

 

 

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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.

Comments

  1. John Butler says

    CB, India’s depth is a sign of things to come.

    Aussie bowlers started to look a bit ragged. And Paine looked a little short of ideas.

    Cheers

  2. It would appear the so called experts have grossly underestimated the depth and resilience of this Indian team. They refuse to throw in the towel. It would appear Pant’s batting in both the Sydney and this test has inspired his team mates that attack is the best method of defense. Great to watch.This approach and the Aussie quicks showing signs of fatigue has put the match in the balance.So far the only roaring from Lyon has been his entertaining batting as the Indians don’t seem to be at all fazed by his bowling. Hope this changes when India bat again. Full marks to the Indians, they have helped make this series so memorable.

  3. Daryl Schramm says

    An enthralling days cricket until I went out 30 minutes before tea. Bowlers on top, then batting, then bowlers then the batting from Sundar and Shardul was top class. From what I saw and from what the scoreboard said later the thought crossed my mind that we showed scant respect for the #7 and #8, but I’d only be surmising. Haven’t checked the weather yet but I reckon India will now retain the GB trophy.

  4. “Trouble with not being at the ground you don’t know what is going on!” How true, Bob! And, exactly as I was insinuating in my write-up of the Boxing Day Test.

    Haven’t missed a Brissie Test for decades and was hoping to get there this year – ah! Covid!

    Have enjoyed your articles, and let’s hope the next two days are as absorbing. Long live Test cricket!

  5. Brian The Ruminator says

    Some good points made about the state of Test cricket in Oz when comparing the Herculean efforts of many of the Indians. I can only hope it is a wake up call.

    Shield cricket for starters has to be a big focus. A lot more Aus A games would help too. But, above all, a bit of bloody spirit and determination would go a long way too.

    India deserve the draw and to retain the BGT. And we need to move onto the post Paine era.

  6. JB – Yes our depth is a real worry. Too many players being cloned instead of letting “le naturale” come out.
    FISHO – It is mazing how Nathan Lyon can look so ordinary and then produce a match-winning display. India deserve at the bouquets they can get. Pity they cannot have a send-off like the West Indies in 1961
    DS – correct the Australian bowlers had scant respect for 7 and 8 as they tried to blast the batsmen out.
    JC – Oh to be there. Watching on TV you miss all those ‘little things” that the TV does not pick up. Hope you have the sound down?
    BTR – People like you and me have been calling for more emphasis with the Shield for many years to no avail. Unfortunately the mighty dollar dictates at all costs. Gee! what is the post Paine era going to look like? captain? keeper? Opening bats? Number 5 or 6?. Need a crystal ball. First of all I owuld cut back on ancillary staff.

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