Australia v India – Perth, Day 4: “It’s all happening!”

PERTH DAY 4 2018

 

To the cricket purist we have had three days of scintillating Test cricket. Even though pessimists who think Test cricket is a “dead duck” must surely agree that what we have seen is cricket at its best. Ball beating bat and bat taking to ball has been the hallmark of the 18 hours of cricket that we have witnessed.

 

What will eventuate today?

 

From the outset Khawaja and Paine are not in any hurry as the Indian quicks continue their accurate attack. With a lead approaching 200 Australia will be trying to make sure that only one team has a chance of victory and it is not India.

 

This is a slow day’s play and it takes 95 minutes of play before Khawaja reaches his fifty. He has been very purposeful in his approach and has kept his rash shots in his coffin. The bowlers are not getting anything from the wicket.

 

The game continues to meander on this morning. It is a beautiful day and a sparse crowd is not seeing much action. From Australia’s view point and in particular the two batsmen at the crease big scores from both would be a real plus.

 

Firstly, whilst many of us believe Tim Paine is in for a really long haul as skipper there are those out there who continue to push Carey for the keeper’s role because he makes runs. A century from Paine today would put pay to that plus he is so far in front as a keeper daylight comes a clear second.

 

Khawaja of course has always been and will always be an enigma because he makes everything look so easy that there are believers who think he is “too lazy”.

 

At lunch Australia are 4/190 with Khawaja (67) and Paine (37). It had been a very dull morning with nothing happening and finding anything to write about very difficult.

 

In the words of the great Bill Lawry “it’s all happening”.

 

I don’t know what they all had for lunch but it sounds like “hurry-curry”.

 

Two runs happen and then Shami breaks loose. Paine (37) is well taken by Kohli; next ball Finch, resuming his innings, brushes one through to Pant and all of a sudden Australia are 6/192. Shami gets his fifth wicket when gets Khawaja (72) with a brute of a ball that he can’t leave alone and Australia are 7/198.

 

Bumrah gets into the act and bowls Cummins (1) with a ball that goes underground! 8/202. The brilliant Shami gets his sixth wicket when Lyon (6) spoons one out to Vihari and the home team are now 9/207.

 

Since lunch Australia has lost 5/17 and Mohammed Shami has 6/41 in a wonderful spell of hostile bowling.

 

Oh, the frailties of cricket.

 

At the moment Australia are 256 in front on a wicket that is starting to play some tricks. Any extra runs from the final partnership will be a real bonus for Australia as anything over 250 will be hard to achieve.

 

Mind you we have no history to fall back on as this is the very first test match on this ground. Three fours make it even more difficult for the visitors.

 

Finally, Ishant bowls Starc for 14 and that last wicket partnership has put on a very, very handy 36 runs. Hazlewood is not out 17 and Australia all out for 243 a lead of 286. Shami, with that magnificent late spell finishes with 6/56 and Bumrah 3/39 are the main bowlers.

 

Now we are in for some interesting cricket for if the Australian bowlers can bowl anything like Shami then who knows what will happen for the remainder of the day. If India are to win then the game will surely have to go into the latter stages of the final day tomorrow.

 

Australia of to a great start when Rahul (0) tries to leave one and plays on to Starc. India 1/0. The visitors needed runs from Rahul and Murali but it did not happen and they are really behind the eight-ball before the innings gets started. As has been so often this tour Pujara comes to the wicket with his team in trouble.

 

Starc is making the ball fly from the same end that Shami operated from. India could be in trouble. They are in trouble as Hazlewood makes Pujara (4) play at a ball he could not get away from and Paine takes an easy catch.  India 2/13.

 

It is now all up to Kohli who walks between a “guard of honour” from Mitch Marsh (sub) and Nathan Lyon. I would love to know what they said to him on his arrival!

 

Starc has worked up to a fiery pace now. (later in the day he clocks over 150 km/h.)

 

At tea India are 2/15 and they have many rivers to cross before they reach their final destination.

 

Play continues along the same plane as it did in the first session. Bowlers probing, batsmen circumspect. Murali looking the best he has been all series and Kohli his assured self.

 

Will Lyon make the difference?

 

He does!

 

His continual probing at the batsmen sees Kohli (17) tickle to Khawaja at slip. India 3/48. This is a great wicket for the Australians and India are now really on the back-foot. Lyon’s bowling is so compote and accurate nowadays that batsmen are fearful of attacking him.

 

Vijay (20) does attack and he plays on. India are now in dire straits at 4/55 and Lyon has 2/3. It will definitely be a miracle if India can come back from this situation with still three and a half sessions to play and little to follow after Rahane and Vihari.

 

Where has India failed in this game? The lack of consistency amongst their batsmen has been the key to their game. Kohli made nearly half the score in the first innings and in the second dig nobody, so far, has shown superiority over the Australian bowlers. Mind you the opposition is undoubtably the best Test bowling attack in the world.

 

And Australia where have they improved? Undoubtedly the opening partnership and consistency in the first innings to build a reasonable score on this wicket and a fine team-saving innings by their most experienced batsman (Khawaja) in the second dig.

 

Rahane and Virahi have decided to attack Lyon and it is paying off and they take 16 from three overs. Paine is not taking any chances and relieves Lyon after a great spell but Vihari keeps the runs flowing with a fine drive off Cummins.

 

The shadows have now crossed over the centre of the ground but the light is very even for batting.

 

After batting very assuredly Rahane (30) slashes at Hazlewood and Head takes the catch at point. India after making a good fist of it in the last half-hour have lost a vital wicket within 30 minutes from stumps. India now 5/98 and the task is getting harder and harder.

 

Now that Rahane is gone Lyon is back into the attack. A good move as Pant in particular will not wish to be contained. Paine is becoming a very astute captain.

 

At stumps India are 5/112  Pant (9) Vihari (24) but Australia only need five wickets. 11 wickets lost today, the same as yesterday but it has been a very competitive wicket. Lyon and Hazlewood with two wickets each but it was Starc bowling Rahul in the first over that set a possible victory up for his team.

 

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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. Comprehensive as always CB. My take is that Australia are an A grade attack with a C grade batting lineup. The positive is that they look like they all want to play for Langer and Paine and are cobbling together adequate scores. Could Bancroft be back for the Sydney Test? Smith will be welcomed back in time for his talents if overeager and naive. Warner??? The talent is obvious, but would his presence poison the well again? The bowlers seem to prefer the “no dickheads” policy, and it is the unity and effort of our bowlers that is our ace in the hole.
    Good to see Khawaja gut out a score struggling. Shows character and commitment. His hands in the slips and gully have been a revelation. Like Inzi and MCC you just don’t ask him to run.

  2. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Thanks once again Citrus for these excellent pieces. I’ve surprised myself at how interested I’ve been so far, having thought that cricket at this level was dead to me. But I’m still wary, pride coming before a fall and all that.

  3. Comprehensive Citrus but vehemently disagree re keeping.I have seen every keeper for SA since 73 and Carey is the best he is a incredible keeper he must make more runs,Paine took a huge step forward yesterday not putting up with Kohlis crap.Like Swish I am still a long way away from regaining trust and in hurry what so ever to see the gisgraced trio

  4. Rod Radford says

    the anti-Paine push has lost some of its momentum given the excellence of his keeping, his effective captaincy and man-management and the general reliability of his batting. His Test batting average is superior to any other Australian keeper in recent decades, save for Gilchrist, who was an exception.His average is better than that of Marsh, Healy, Haddin, Wade -all of whom were lauded as great keeper-batsmen ! Carey may well be a future keeper for his country, but not yet. One can only speculate what Paine may well have achieved but for that horrible injury 8 years ago.

  5. Another interesting day of cricket, Bob. Australia missed an opportunity to put a foot on the throat in the second session but replanted it again in the third. The match is the better for it. As much as the talk swirls around banter and quicks and a pitch, still Nathan Lyon goes under appreciated on the whole. He has now dismissed Kohli seven times in Test cricket. Unlike other more high profile purveyors of off spin, he does not have a throw ball in his repertoire and has never had a pitch prepared for him. He is the giant striding barely noticed through this team of mortals.

    As for the keeping debate, it is moot (although Paine’s glovework tends to be oversold and Carey’s under. Healy was also a much better gloveman than Gilchrist). Paine is needed in this team until at least after next summer, so people should move on. Carey will be ready when Paine is done and will do a good job.

  6. Dave has nailed it imo

  7. Unfortunately sending Finch out to bat didn’t work well but at least he wasn’t out there long enough to antagonize his injury. Handscomb surely must go for the Boxing Day test and it would probably be prudent to rest Finch for the same match. That being said, we are in for an enthralling day 5 with both sides having a real chance of winning.With a little bit of luck, Lyon will keep on roaring..

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