Australia v India – Perth, Day 2: Tension in The Ark

PERTH DAY 2 2018

 

A much more relaxed scribe is looking forward to today’s play at The Ark.

 

Walking to the ground over the bridge this morning after a pleasant free ride to the ground I was reminded how much the stadium looked like a modern version of Noah’s zoo.  Not very attractive but capable of holding animals of many varieties.

 

The game is very well poised with Australia having their nose in front at this stage.

 

A great start by Paine and Cummins who are handling the wicket and the bowlers with ease. The first hour belongs to the two Australian batsmen who have followed the lead of their earlier colleagues and have declared that occupation of the crease is the number one priority.  This is just what Justin Langer wanted from his men and they have endorsed his mantra.

 

Paine was batting soundly but attacking when needed and Cummins continues his role as a very sound number eight in the order. They add 59 for the seventh wicket which could prove the difference by the end of the game.

 

At 6/310 things were looking very ominous for the visitors but then the game took a surprise turn considering what had gone on before.

 

Yadav started it when he bowled Cummins (19) with a beautiful ball. Next over the tireless Bumrah had Paine (38) palpably Leg before with no addition to the score.  A short partnership and then Starc (6) and Hazlewood (0) went off successive balls from Ishant (4/41) both caught behind by the ever-impressive Pant.  Australia all-out 326.

 

Ishant finished up with the best figures but the quartet of speed bowled exceptionally well on a generally unresponsive wicket. [Despite its gremlins? Ed.]

 

India have come back well and are in the game with a chance.  Two overs before lunch and Starc bowls one good ball and uproots Murali’s (0) middle stump.  At lunch India 1/6.

 

Shortly after lunch Australia really gain the ascendancy when Rahul (2) is completely beaten by a beauty for Hazlewood and is bowled.   A magnificent ball indeed, moving and then cutting away. India in big trouble 2/8.

 

Kohli enters the colosseum to a great ovation. One wonders what a noise there would have been if the ground was full. An amazing noise. It became even louder when he straight drove Hazlewood for four.  It will take some grit and determination from their two best batsmen to get out of this hole.

 

Great batsmen come with the times and situations to reach greater heights will Kohli oblige?

 

Two magnificent shots of Hazlewood have the crowd in raptures. Timing to perfection and then another through mid-wicket. This is the batting of a master and taking the game up to the opposition.  13 from the over.

 

Lyon comes on and immediately puts the brakes on the scoring.  He is such a fine bowler now and another not out while batting as well!

 

It has been a great battle this afternoon between master craftsmen with both bat and ball and the crowd are loving it. Cummins is giving nothing away five overs for five runs and Lyon four overs for three.  This is absorbing cricket.

 

Nothing is happening but it is all happening. The test between bat and ball continues as neither combatant is giving an inch (in the old language).

 

As an aside I wonder if by having short leg wearing excessively large shin guards inside his trousers is an advantage to the fielding side.  A ball struck hard could fly anywhere in the air if it hit those pads. Just a thought?

 

The run rate has dropped to 1.7 per over but has not distracted the crowd one bit. Pujara is leaving nearly 30% of deliveries alone.

 

At tea the score is 2/70 with Kohli 37 and Pujara 23.  Probably Australia had the better of the session as they took another wicket but they really would have liked to take one of their chief protagonists as they wrestle for ascendancy.

 

The weather is looking a bit overcast at the moment but with the Doctor unavailable because of concrete poisoning it should favour the batting side.  However, Starc and Hazlewood spent a very quiet second half to the session and they will be raring to go.

 

Not surprisingly Starc takes up the attack from the members end but it is Cummins who comes on from the Langer end.  Know doubt Paine is aware how Kohli took the blade to Hazlewood when he initially came out to bat.

 

How good has Pujara been in the series so far?  He has been the rock on which India has been able to (a) win the first test and (b) to keep them well in the game today. Superb concentration and picking the right ball to hit at the right time.

 

A DRS as Cummins beats Pujara with a ripper. “Not Out” says the umpire and he is vindicated by the cameras.  Umpires must be really satisfied when the rulings go their way. As we noted yesterday it is a pity that they become petrified to give decision with most of the run-outs that occur.

 

Paine runs the length of the ground to give Starc some advice.  Paine is keen for him to attack closer to Pujara’s leg stump and this is what he does.  No success unfortunately for the Australians.

 

It works!  One over later the trap works as Pujara (24) tries to flick Starc away and Paine as usual snaps it up.  India 3/82.

 

Rahane is attacking from the outset and races to 17 as the bowlers try to bounce him.  He is taking the game up to the Australians. Kohli has not made a run during this time.

 

India reach their 100 of 42.4 overs and then Rahane back cuts Starc for 6.  He is certainly determined to keep the runs flowing. Kohli slashes, four, fifty of 109 balls. A patient captains knock.

 

Rahane continues to dominate the partnership scoring 30 of the 41 runs so far.

 

Hazlewood is bowling better in this stint and he works Kohli over but the maestro has the last laugh as he majestically straight drives him for four.  Still an intriguing game as India hold on and Australia try to take control.

 

I know I rave on a bit about him, but King Kohli does play some majestic shots. One cover drive from Cummins stands out and he does not even move forward after playing the stroke.  Superb.

 

Rahane reaches a fine fifty and he and Kohli are setting India up for a challenging score if they can hold out to stumps tonight. Cummins has been the best of the Australian bowlers as he has beaten the bat time and time again but without any luck.

 

It is worth repeating that this has been a great day of Test cricket and at stumps India are 3/172   with Kohli on 82 and Rahane 51. Starc 2 wickets and Hazlewood 1.  A great arm wrestle will continue tomorrow.

 

 

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. Kohli is magnificent. The mad eyes of Jose Mourinho. They shall not pass. Brave Horatio guarding the bridge. India are not losing a Test on this tour on his watch.
    Given your comments about the crowd noise what do you think the % of Aussies:Indians would be? 50:50? Or are they just a lot more vocal than our reserved patrons?
    We are the Animals 2×2 in the footy season.
    Lovely summary of an absorbing day’s cricket. Thanks CB.

  2. PB-Surprised their were not more Indians there. I reckon 35% sub-continentals.Yeh, we are so, so reserved it takes Australia’s number one drug alcohol to get the vocal chords going . the joy of the indians is wonderful to see. They love their cricket. Said to a young couple on the bus going in “going to the cricket”? the look o their faces – beautiful.
    Personally disappointed with the size of the crowd. Starting a petition today “What,s wrong with the WACA”
    Thanks as always for your comments.
    Looking forward to today with a smile on my face. We will see just how much you Sandgropers love the game.

  3. This time around tour tail, did little wagging and the Aussies only just made a competitive score. We’ll see how good it was after India has been dismissed. Meanwhile, as well as Lyono has bowled, he has been (so far) unable to floor the Indians as he did in Adelaide.Kohli gives the impression we’ll never get him out, so Starc and co will have to be in top form today to finally dislodge him.

  4. I found it bizarre not to have a bat pad for Cummins when bowling to Kohli a black mark re planing and captaincy it was a good days test cricket

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