Australia v India – Second Test Day 1: A day for Deano at the ‘G.



Marvelllarse (RB) day for cricket at the G on Boxing Day. The authorities have worked out the seating perfectly from where I am seated.   In the outer the seating is well spaced with enormous gaps whilst the Members is a bit more friendly with seating closely aligned, no doubt, with family memberships.


Walking to the ground this morning with very few people a sure sign that it was a ticketed event only. Normally when you arrive at the ‘G’ the queue is a mile long at the Member’s entrance but today it was serene with only half-a-dozen lined up. The normal chaos was missing and regrated.


No change n the Australian team as expected but India made four Kohli(pregnant), Shami (injured) with Saha and Shaw omitted.  Coming in to the team two debutants Shubman Gill and Mohammed Siraj, keeper Rishabh Pant and veteran Ravindra Jadeja.


Paine won the toss and decided to bat on a wicket with a tinge of green but looking ideal for batting. The Indian bowlers Bumrah and Yadav started in fine style and not giving much away except for the wider ball to Wade whose cover drive were showing out to perfection.


Burns (0) tickled one from Bumrah through to Pant to have yet another failure.  Australia 1/10 and Burns, despite his 51 not out in Adelaide, is again in the hot seat which makes the selection of Warner in the next Test much simpler. Wade continued to impress and his belligerency to balls outside the off and punished them.


New skipper Ajinkya Rahane was also on the attack and introduced Ashwin after just 10 overs from the quicks and he immediately had Wade in trouble against the turning ball.  It was no surprise when he hit out and was caught by Jadeja at mid-on which was nearly fatal for the Indians as two players charged at the ball.  What has happened to “its mine”? Wade 30, Australia 2/35


Once again Labuschagne was proving to be the rock of the Australian team. SPD Smith, who seems to be out of form, played a rather poor push to Ashwin and was out for a duck, taken at leg slip by Pujara Australia 3/38 and the visitors sans King Kohli were taking early charge of the game which was foreign to what the pundits were expecting.


After his cautious start Labuschagne is trying to insert and influence the game. He has been a bit lucky to as he has won 2 DRS appeals against Ashwin which have been very, very close.


India takes the first session with a fine display of attacking bowling and Australia will need these two batsmen to consolidate after lunch.  Australia 3/65 Labuschagne 26 and Head 4. Ashwin, bowling beautifully, has 2 wickets.  Rahane has used his bowlers very shrewdly, switching and changing them around to keep the batsmen guessing.


Not that the wicket.was playing tricks before lunch but it certainly seemed docile after the resumption of play and Head and Labuschagne looked very comfortable against the Indian attack.


New boy Mohammed Siraj joined the attack. A fast-medium bowler I had watched him training in Adelaide and he certainly impressed with his commitment to training which was a good sign. His claim to fame previously had been that he is the only bowler ever to bowl two maidens in an IPL game.


By drinks Head (38) and Labuschagne (39) have got the Aussies back in the game.  No chances and with both batsmen putting caution before attack.  Interesting to contemplate that Travis Head could be playing for the captaincy of Australia.


One of the smartest bowlers around Jasprit Bumrah concentrates on Head’s leg side then bowls one just outside his of stump Head (39) pokes OUT, caught Rahane.  Australia 4/124.  Despite his healthy batting average, the Croweater never looks certain of cementing his position in the team.  Such are the fancies of ‘those-who-think-they-know’ about the Australian team.


‘The great Green hope of Australian cricket’ comes to the crease and the Melbourne crowd will be very interested to just see how good this young player is.  Love his forward defence which has immense power in it.


The debutantes for India Shubman Gill and Mohammed Siraj decide they should be in the game. Labuschagne (47) turns Siraj to leg and Gill well placed takes a great catch.   Labuschagne had battled hard, but like his alter-ego SPD seems sadly out of form or the visitors have got their measure. Australia 5/134and the visitors are back on top. I wonder how Virat Kohli is enjoying the game so far?


Siraj is upbeat since his first wicket and gives Green a torrid time.  This will test the youngster’s mettle.


A good battle in the second stanza with India maintaining their ascendancy with two wickets while the home team scored 69 runs.


The late Dean Jones was remembered with a very poignant ceremony during the tea-break which involved all his family and his skipper Alan Border.  Dean’s wife and two daughters symbolically placed his cap and bat against the wickets and the two captains Tim Paine and Ajinkya Rahane took the items back into the pavilion.  The eulogy was delivered by a family friend Chris Driscoll.


Very impressive indeed.


Paine survives a run-out appeal just after tea.   The decision took longer than a photo finish at Flemington. Surely when so long is taken the batsman must be given the benefit of the doubt?


India strikes first when the impressive Siraj gets Green (12) leg before wicket despite DRS appeal by the batsman.  Siraj, on debut, has kept a good line and has been an ideal replacement for the injured Shami.


Unfortunately for Green the Indians were able to keep his stroke play under control and he laboured for his 12 runs (60 balls) but he is still learning the game if I can offer him an excuse.


Australia 6/155 make that 7/155 when Paine (13) pushes at Ashwin and Vihari takes a smart chance at leg-slip.


Patrick Cummins has not made runs for Australia for a long time and batting at number eight his teams wants more from him.  Likewise, Mitchell Starc who can also bat.


Starc (7) miscues a hook from Bumrah for Siraj to judge a difficult catch on the fence at fine leg.  Green and gold now 8/164.  The floppy hatted Siraj is right in the game.


At last, the tail wags for Australia and Lyon (20) hits Bumrah for a six, a four and then goes LBW. Bumrah now has taken 4 wickets and a total of 13 at the G in 2 matches.


Cummins, obviously anxious to bowl, hits out and Siraj again judges the catch beautifully and Australia are all out for a very ordinary score of 195 Hazlewood 4 n.o.


For India a fine all-round bowling performance with Bumrah 4/56, Ashwin 3/35, Siraj 2/40 and Jadeja 1/15 taking the wickets and some safe catching as well.


Must be ground-hog day as I think I am back in Adelaide when Argawal (0) is plumb to Starc in the first over.  The Indian reviewed the decision which never looked like hitting the bat. Sometimes there is a very selfish attitude by batsmen.


Starc and Cummins are red hot and throwing (bowling) everything at the batsmen. Gill opens his Test batting debut with a fine off-drive for four from Cummins and then is immediately dropped by Labuschagne in slips.


It had to happen sooner or later. Wade tries to stop a ball on the boundary by diving and ends up crashing into the fence. The extent of his injury is unknown at the moment.  Full of enthusiasm Michael Neser takes his place.


Gill, another fine drive this time off Starc.  The new chum is intent on attack or leave the ball alone. He follows this with a lovely pull shot for four in Starc’s’ next over.


He is looking very impressive at the moment and has 4 fours in his score of 19.


India go to stumps at 1/36  Gill 36 and Pujara 7.  Starc has the one wicket.


A great first day of cricket with India holding the upper hand at the moment and with a predicted high temperature expected tomorrow they should be able to go to a handy lead. Of course this is a very strong Australian bowling line-up which has to make up for what was a insipid batting display.




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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. It all seems a bit underwhelming as with the First Test CB. Batsmen all have glaring technical deficiencies that are easily exploited by the fine bowling attacks of both sides. Short form cricket has destroyed batting technique. Poke or slog seem the only 2 options.
    Love watching Bumrah and Ashwin work batsmen over. Green just doesn’t get the quota of score balls he gets in Sheffield Shield. Dried him up and made him impatient. Still he looks better than Burns, Wade or Head. Worth persevering with for what he might become, rather than what he currently is.
    Found myself thinking if you could only have 3 quicks from the 2 teams who would I leave out from Cummins, Starc and Hazlewood to include Bumrah? Hazlewood probably. Very similar bowlers but Bumrah has slightly more surprise and variety.

  2. One of the things I found most intriguing about this test was the write up from Warne just before the test began. According to him, India had little or no chance of regrouping after teir first test disaster. No Kohli. One of their best quickies out with a broken arm etc. Australia would look to scoring 400 plus in its first innings. Well, guess what – almost the exact opposite occured. India is now in the box seat and, if the present trend continues, is well on the way to winning the series. Only Australia’s bowling quartet can save it.India’s leg side play has completely dried up Australia’s scoring.The burning question now remains, can Langer devise a plan to combat it. We’ll just have to wait and see.

  3. GENTLEMEN – your assumptions are so correct. This Australian batting line-up is always in trouble when the bowling tactics deny run scoring.
    It won’t happen but Australia seriously need to look at their batting line-up. Green has had 2 games now and probably needs to go back to Shield matches. His 11 and 12 were not good enough given the time he was at the crease.
    Wade is a bulldog but needs to be more labradoodle in his game plan.
    Head is a puzzle – as his scores indicate he gets out when he looks set. No Australian captaincy.
    Burns must go. They cannot continue to play a batsman who is prone to tickling.
    Marnus worries me – he gets runs but has lost the sureness in his game.
    PB. As you say “any team with Bumrah and Ashwin” has got to be good and they were well supported.
    Looking forward to Day 2 and I think India will take control if the clouds disappear.
    Thanks for the comments

  4. Luke Reynolds says

    Very enjoyable day to watch from home CB. The Deano tribute was lovely, and brought a tear to my eyes.

    I’m at the game today and tomorrow, wonderful to be back at the ‘G.

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