Australia v Pakistan – SCG Test, Day 1: Marvellous

Australia 3/365 (MT Renshaw 167*, DA Warner 113) v Pakistan

DAY 1 SYDNEY

A dead rubber?

No such thing in Test cricket.  Every game is a chance for a win.  Australia have made two changes with WA all-rounder Hilton Cartwright making his debut and the injury prone Steve O’Keefe returning.

Jackson Bird can consider himself very unlucky to be dropped while Nic Maddinson must have known his fate before the selectors told him.

With the selectors going all out to find an all-rounder Cartwright has come from nowhere to now be the number one choice for India. His performance will be watched with more than a casual look by every other all-rounder playing in Australia.

Sorry, they aren’t playing are they?  Just making money in the BBL.

The ground looks pretty in pink as it usually does at this time of the year.

SPD wins the toss and has no hesitation in batting. A bit of a green top but nothing that should be of major inconvenience to the batsmen.

Inconvenience?

Not ruddy likely. For Warner it is like giving him a packet of his favourite lollies. Nearly every lolly is hit for four, if not four then a three.

 

He continues to pound a very mediocre bowling attack. It is like Warner telling them where to bowl the ball such is his command.

Renshaw has been a great foil giving Warner the strike at every opportunity.

The 50 comes up in 45 minutes. All around the wicket Warner is brutal.

The Pakistani attack is completely demoralised and by lunch time Australia are 0/126.

What can one say about Warner’s innings?  His 100 comes up right on lunch time from 76 balls.

It is the first time that an opening batsman has made a century before lunch in the history of Test cricket in Australia.  Vic Trumper, Charlie McCartney, Don Bradman and Majid Khan all achieved the same feat.

His innings was faultless, explosive, dynamic. One of the best I have ever seen.

Truly remarkable.

Warner (113) plays a tired shot shortly after lunch and is caught behind by Sarfraz from the bowling of Wahab.   He leaves to a magnificent ovation from the very, very appreciative crowd.

Meanwhile at the other end  Renshaw continues to be unflurried and unhurried. If he has a fault it is that he has a tendency to want to hit everything between fine leg and mid-wicket.

Khawaja struggles and is missed (4) and plays a lazy shot from Wahab and Sarfraz takes an easy catch. Khawaja (13) and Australia 2/203.

Meanwhile Renshaw continues to frustrate the bowlers at the other end and is playing a fine sheet anchor role for his team.

Steve Smith (24) looked safe until he tried to cut Yasir and Sarfraz took his third catch behind the wicket.  Australia  3/244.

At last Pakistan lifted their game and looked switched on after the dismissal of Smith. Except for Wahab the bowlers had been treated with complete disrespect and the fielding had been deplorable.

The bowlers lifted their game and their control cut the run feast down. Handscomb was missed at slips early in his innings.

Renshaw reached his first century after 201 balls in what has been an innings of a very competent and together young player. He was helped by some leg side theory when he was in his nineties and went from 89 to 101 with shots on the leg side. He received a nasty whack on the helmet when on 91 but recovered to finish the job.  The Big Ship has arrived in style.

Both batsmen settled in and the last hour and a half of batting saw the next generation of Australian batsmen take complete control playing some great shots all around the wicket.

Handscomb was his usual cool self – excelling in his cutting and shots square of the wicket. His ability to be cool under any circumstances belies the fact he has only played four games for his country. I see the next Australian captain here?

Matt Renshaw ensured his place for India with a masterly display. The 20 year-old batted throughout the day, reached 167 and never looked like getting out.

My comments re: playing too much leg side became a myth in the last hour when he played superb shots all round the ground.  Admittedly the bowlers were tired but it was the skill and resolve of both batsmen playing way beyond their experience that carried the score through to 3/365 at stumps.

Renshaw 167 and Handscomb 40 will give their side a great start when they resume on day 2.

To the crowd who attended day one of the Test it will be a day they will never forget.  They saw one of the finest innings ever in test cricket, Warner 113 and a new star on the rise Renshaw 167 not out.

As Richie would have said – marvellous.

 

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About Bob Utber

At 75 years of age, 'Citrus Bob' Utber is doing what he wanted to do as a 14-year old: writing, talking and watching sport. How good is that!?! He lives in Mildura with his wife and 'furry kids'; a labradoodle "Freddy Flintoff" and a groodle named "Chloe on Flinders".

Comments

  1. Peter Flynn says:

    Was the Warner gesture directed towards G Whateley?

  2. Citrus – agree that Handscomb looks every bit an Australian Test captain. Holds himself well.

    Apparently there are some in the social media, via tweets, who are suggesting that Renshaw needs to “get on with it”. Obviously been watching too much of the baseball that’s currently doing the circuit. I reckon a young bloke, who can hold his concentration together so well, deserves nothing but praise. He will develop if he ignores the boof heads.

  3. Peter Flynn says:

    Warner gesture clarified.

    Nothing to do with G Whateley.

    Some wankery about Warner being known as “The Reverend”.

  4. Unsure about how long Hilton Cartwright may remain in the side. M Marsh has long been on the top of the selectors choices, but he has not delivered; yet.

    I’m curious how/where with Ashton Agar. His statistics are underwhelming but no one can dany he has potential. Will he be the number six in spin friendly India ?

    Glenn Maxwell, has gone from the big show to a non show. Underwhelming performance in the T-20 world cup, didn’t go to South Africa or Sri Lanka, talks about leaving victoria; is, dropped for the opening of the shield season, publicly critical of his state captain, in the squad for the ODI’s vs the Kiwis but doesn’t crack a game, hmm, i don’t see him being in line for the number six berth in the test side. Not sure where to from here for him.

    Glen!

  5. E.regnans says:

    Love it, Citrus Bob.
    Marvellous, indeed.
    Thanks for keeping us in the Test cricket loop this summer; a tumultuous summer since the first match in Perth, where the Australian batting order was:
    DA Warner
    SE Marsh
    UT Khawaja
    SPD Smith
    AC Voges
    MR Marsh
    PM Nevill
    MA Starc
    PM Siddle
    JR Hazlewood
    NM Lyon

  6. Peter Warrington says:

    your point re Warner almost conducting the bowling reminds me of Chappelli discussing Hughes’ 81 Boxing Day knock. Maybe he had them so much in his thrall that they put it where he wanted it.

  7. Luke Reynolds says:

    Absolutely no such thing as a dead rubber in Test cricket. At least there shouldn’t be. Bring on the World Test Championship.

    What a day’s play. Warner- amazing. Wonderful performance by Renshaw. Handscomb a future Test captain? Look forward to seeing a Victorian in charge one day. Hope it’s him.

  8. Peter Warrington says:

    Fair crack. Ryder. Woodfull. Hassett. Johnson. Lawry. Yallop. You guys have had your turn.

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