Australia v India – Sydney, Day 2:  Pujara and Pant produce punishing performances

The forecast for today was horrible. 40+ degrees, not very pleasant at all for any outdoor activities. Not that I minded. Cricket on the telly, India off to a great start,  and the Aussies needing to fight back so day 2 looked set up for good viewing.


And what a day it was for India, and a horrible, demoralising one for Australia as the Indian batsmen, slowly and methodically punished the Aussie bowlers, resolutely grinding them further and further into the ground as the game went on. It was not a pretty sight watching Pujara, Pant, and later, Jadeja take absolute control of the game, accumulating a massive score to realistically bat Australia out of the game. 


What can one say about Pujara? He was supreme, displaying all the skills of the masterful batsmen  he is, one who is in complete control and command of his game, defending, and prizing his wicket beyond any doubt. It was a delight to watch his masterful display.


And Pant? This innings has been coming for awhile, but with Pujara, the Rock of Gibraltar, his senior partner  and guiding light setting the tone, Pant soon settled in to play some attacking and attractive cricket. At 21 years of age he has the cricket world at his feet, and importantly, the joy he displays for the game is reflected and certainly is infectious.


Jadeja provided invaluable support as Pant took the lead after Pujara’s dismissal. The two left handers were a forceful combination and continued the run accumulation to the dismay of the Aussies. Their confidence reigned supreme!


I suppose it’s easy to sit at home in comfort watching the game and be critical of the Aussie performance but I couldn’t help but wonder what has gone wrong. 


Putting it into perspective, losing the toss didn’t help Australia and one wonders what sort of start the Aussies may have had batting first, that is, if our batsmen displayed the same commitment to maintaining their wickets and making runs as most of the Indians did. The wicket has played well for the batsmen, and at times had something in it for the bowlers also, when extra effort was given. The playing conditions were perfect for batting and the Indians took an uncompromising advantage of them. 


Our bowling attack is as good as any in the world but unlike the Indian bowlers this series,  Starc and co. have been unable to maintain the required line and length to pressure the batsmen into making mistakes and to take the needed wickets. Perhaps it indicates just how good the Indian batsmen are. The intimidatory bowling one expects from the Aussies was, for  most of the time ineffectual, wasteful and energy sapping, just not enough line and length. They look very tired.


Where the Aussies go from here, who knows. The game basically is out of reach for them, India lead the series 2 – 1,  they only need to draw this match to win a  Test series in Australia for the first time, so you have to say they are in the absolute box seat to control the remainder of the game on their terms.


Australia needs to urgently regain their lost pride. A number of batsmen have the opportunity on a very good batting strip to redeem their careers with a decent score. Perhaps, after their long stint in the field, taking note of the masterclasses from the Indian batsmen, they can apply these insights to their own game and make a valuable contribution to the team. I hope so. I look forward to day 3.


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About Colin Ritchie

Retired teacher who enjoys following the Bombers, listening to music especially Bob Dylan, reading, and swimming.


  1. Citrus Bob says

    Col it will take a miracle for Australia to regain their pride. Like you I have watched cricket for many years and adore the game.
    Today I think was the most humiliating day for me since Frank Tyson ran through us one morning in 54-55.
    Pujara, Pant & Jadeja were magnificent and thrashed the bowling to all parts of the field.
    Tomorrow is another day. Harris does look good and Khawaja has had a life. I hope Australia don’t leave it to Paine and Cummins again. By the way Cummins is still worn out from his Melbourne exploits.
    Thanks for the comments. CB

  2. Luke Reynolds says

    Spot on Col, it’s all about pride now. A draw would be a wonderful result.
    Pujara is supreme, it sure has been his summer.

  3. Ta Colin.

    I’ve taken anything bar pride from our performance this summer. India will win their first ever series in Australia, the records will show this as a fact, but their victory is pyrhhic. When your two best batsmen are suspended, you are so far beyond the eight ball it’s not funny.

    How will Smith and Warner perform on their return ? Is the issue going more about their presence in the team rather than how they bat ?

    No, this is a lost summer to me. I reckon the last time my interest/viewing in the summer game would have been in primary school back in the late 60’s. I’m unable to watch the demise of our national team, a demise that gives a vocal, opinionated group great pleasure. No, this modern variant of a cultural cringe brings out the worst in me.


  4. Talk about overkill. waiting until the 600 run mark came up has killed the game. Should Australia’s brittle batting line up score in excess of 200 in their 1st innings it will be a bloody miracle (hope I’m proved wrong). India’s batsmen reduced the Aussies as having a pop gun attack, constantly firing blanks. When a hand grenade was delivered the bowler neglected to pull the pin. With rain expected in the next few days, it’s quite possible (I hope) that Kohli and co will run out of time to force a result. It would seem winning the toss means winning the game. if so, perhaps we should somehow organize someone to sandpaper the tossing coin.

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