Australia v India – Sydney, Day 2: The day the sky fell in



The visitors have positioned themselves very well for victory in the final test.  At 4/303 at stumps with the irrepressible Che Pujara on 130 and the promising Vihari on 39 it could be a long day in the field for the Aussies.


The Indians dig in. There is no hurry and I am sure they will be looking for a score of 500 plus. Another goodly crowd should have a great day’s cricket.


Lot of talk going around about the Australian triumphant and many starting to agree with S.K. Warne. My theory is that they have become so indoctrinated by the coaches about what to do that they forget about their natural ability that got them to this level in the first place.


Lyon gets the first wicket after an hour when Vihari (42) sweeps at Lyon only to lolly the ball to Labuschagne at short backward leg.    India are now 5/329 and in the first hour of play have added only 26 runs. No doubt their thinking was too tire the bowlers out and then attack.  To some extent it has come unstuck. Lyon has 2/93.


Pant comes to the wicket and we will see what the intent of his team is.  Pant played solidly when needed in Melbourne but his natural game is to go for the runs.  Having Pujara (159 n.o.) with him will help dictate the terms of the game. Both players stroke magnificent fours from Starc who again is giving the batsmen something to put away.


Another partnership is developing with Pant and taking the initiative and Pujara continuing to keep the other end safe. Pant has 22 off 32 balls. They continue on this way until lunch never giving a chance. They are in complete control.  India 5/389 with Pujara a fantastic 187 and his pugnacious partner Pant on 33. A splendid morning for the visitors.


Spent the best part of the second session sitting with an old (young) friend Chris O’Sullivan and his mate Matt. I would suggest that nearly everyone interested in sport would have heard of Chris even though they might not have met him.  He is just one of those guys that knows everybody. Also played half-a-dozen games with the Brisbane Bears in his youth as well as winning the QAFL Best & Fairest, as well as the West Gippsland League award. He is the only Brisbane Bears player ever to play what was District Cricket in Melbourne. Had some fine games with Carlton.


Could go on and on about the Sullivans of Bunyip-Cora Lynn as other members of his family had and are still having fine careers in sport. Shane, Gary and Peter to name them.  A wonderful contribution to sport in Australia over many decades.


Chris reminded me of a nephew by the name of Sam Witks who we should keep an eye on as a future player with the Swans.


His mate Matt asked me a curly one.  Who has the most caught and bowled amongst Australian bowlers?  He suggested Nathan Lyon would be well up there.  No idea myself!


Play continues on with Pujara, continuing at his pace, and Pant taking the score up and past 400. When it looked like Pujara would never get out he did not quite get his feet to a well flighted ball by Lyon who took a fine caught and bowled.  Pujara out for 193 and India 6/418.


If that wasn’t enough for Australia Ravindra Jadeja comes to the wickets with a few centuries under his belt too. Once again, the Indians start to build up a partnership.  The depth in their batting certainly is the best in the world if you leave out the last three.


Untroubled Pant and Jadeja move the score along at a pace and at tea India have moved to 6/491 with Pant on 88 and Jadeja 25.  One should not underrate Pant’s performance. He has batted with complete surety, ever watchful but taking toll of the bad balls. Along with Jasprit Bumrah and Mayank Agarwal they have been the finds of the series.


What a wonderful innings by Rishabh Pant who reaches his century from 137 balls with 8 fours. Beautifully controlled knock and he follows a long line of wicketkeeper-batsmen who have starred for India on the International level.


Tim Paine has tried everything including Khawaja, Head and a lengthy spell from Labuschagne. This is criminal what the Indians are doing to the Australians.  When will they declare? In the words of Ed Cowan “they will crush Australia and look at six hundred”.   No slips now, five men on the boundary and the locals are desperate.


Australia take the new ball and still the runs flow. Time to think about giving some of the bowlers a rest for the forthcoming Sri Lankan series.  There needs to be some “second string” bowlers for The Ashes series so test them out. There is a myriad of them out there who are of equal ability, test them, and what of Peter Siddle 12thman for all four tests?  Bowled as well as anyone in the UAE.


This is a batting lesson for young batsmen watching.  Jadeja and Pant are playing every shot in the book against a very innocuous attack. Jadeja in particular is playing some great hooks and pulls off Cummins in particular. The “lion heart” of the Melbourne Test is worn out and the batsman hits him for 4 fours in one over.


At drinks, and how Australia needs them, India are 6/605 in one of the most dominating displays I have seen in my time watching cricket. The Indian middle-order have murdered the Aussie bowlers and still it continues in the last part of the day. This is criminal intent.


Pant reaches his 150 from 185 balls with 14 fours and 1 six.  The partnership is now worth 200 runs which is a new record for the seventh wicket against Australia.


Kohli applies the mercy rule when Jadeja goes for 81 to Lyon and India declare at 7/622 with Rishabh Pant not out a magnificent 159.  Lyon looked like the only bowler to take wickets and he finished with 4/178. Paine bowled Lyon (57.2 overs) into the ground but he had no choice as the rest were just cannon fodder.


One of Australia’s worst days ever in the field.  Not since the days of the West Indies have, we seen such a humiliation.


An early chance for India goes begging as Khawaja (0) nicks one to Pant who dives in front of first slip and drops it!   In hindsight, perhaps India should have put someone else behind the wickets as Pant has had a very long day plundering the Aussies with his bat.


Marcus Harris is continuing to improve and is consolidating his position at the head of the innings for Australia.  He plays his shots and defends when necessary. Will it be with Warner next series?


After four overs of the quicks it is Jadeja and Yadav into the attack.  I can imagine these two bowling lots of overs tomorrow.


31,655 in attendance.


And so the day concludes with Australia 0/24 Harris on 19 and Khawaja 5.   India could rue the dropped catch by Pant as they would have been delighted to have taken one wicket in the short spell before stumps.


Tomorrow is Pink Day and I wonder will Australia be in the pink by the end of the day.


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About Bob Utber

At 84 years of age Citrus Bob is doing what he has always done since growing up on a small farm at Lang Lang. Talking, watching and writing sport and in recent years writing books. He lives in Mildura with his very considerate wife (Jenny) and a groodle named 'Chloe on Flinders' and can be found at Deakin 27 every day.


  1. John Butler says

    CB, they softened us up in Melbourne, and finished the job yesterday.

    Pujara has been monumental.

    We’ll see which batsmen have any stomach for a fight.

  2. Surprised about lack of criticism of the pitch. If this was the MCG the whinging would be loud and clear from the Sydney controlled media. This is another average (at best) deck. Flat, lifeless, and prone to breaking up. Rubbish in my view. Not even generating the (in)famous foot marks.

    If we are being honest about the ordinary pitches in Australia then this one needs to be included in the conversation. If the Aussies are bowled out cheaply it’s more likely to be due to lack of application rather than anything this road does. And even if it does miraculously change and do something, it will be days and days coming. Not good enough.

  3. Talk about overkill. Fancy waiting till after they reached 600 before declaring. It’s problematical whether the Aussies can get many more than 200 against the Indian attack. Australia’s supposedly brilliant bowlers were reduced to a pop gun attack, firing mostly blanks. Whenever a hand grenade was finally delivered, the bowler neglected to pull the pin. Hopefully , I’ll be proved wrong and the Aussie batsmen (not batters) will arise to the challenge. Once again, it appears win the toss – win the match.

  4. Citrus Bob says

    I know I was critical of Aussie bowling yesterday Dips but you are right this track/road is a disgrace to the game. Everyone should score a ton. Chairman of the Sydney Cricket Ground Trust wants 2 tests. Bullshit!
    Play one in Hobart and maybe Canberra. No drop ins there.
    hard to see a result here.
    Batsmen not in any trouble as I write. No overkill Fisho no use declaring without giving your side a chance to win.
    Thanks Jb for your comments.
    Harris is the real deal. Not from the Academy? Interesting – no baggage!

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