Gabba Test, Australia v India – Day Four: Apologies to Ian Healy

Boy, have I been in trouble from friends and colleagues overnight! “How come you did not have Ian Healey in your top six?”

Well, to tell you the truth I completely forgot him – such was the intensity of my research!  Late team change: Healey replaces Grout. No more correspondence will be entered into.

India were in trouble before play started with Dhawan being hit on the arm in the nets, and not being able to take his place batting at the start of the day. This could upset the Indian’s momentum.

It looks like an interesting day ahead with Australia slightly on top on the scoreboard. They will need to deliver rapid blows to dismiss the Indians quickly

Well deliver a quick blow they did. Johnson bowled Kohli (1) which he dragged on to his stumps to have the visitors 2-76. Rahane (10) was next to go when he got a nasty lifter from Johnson, and the ball lobbed out to Lyon in the gully. India 3-86.   Rohit Sharma lasted 2 balls before he got a beauty from Johnson and Haddin did the rest. India now 4-86 and in real trouble.

Josh Hazelwood entered the action after another good display from Watson. The debutante immediately continued his great debut by removing M.S. Dhoni for a duck to have India reeling at 5-87 and it will need a miracle to pull them out of trouble. The visitors have lost 4-11 in 20 minutes.

As has been the tenure of the game and the series the Indians decided that the best form of defence was attack. Pujara and Ashwin started to play some great shots square of the wicket.

Ashwin (19) is extremely unlucky when Umpire Ian Gould gives him out caught behind by Haddin. 6-117. Gould has not had a good series but then again if India had said “yes” to DRS…

Dhawan returns to the crease and if you were just arriving or tuning in you would think that India had not lost any wickets in the first hour and a half. If – and it is a big if – these two players can consolidate, then India could retrieve the situation somewhat. Is this Dhawan’s revolution?

Australia’s 12th man Peter Siddle is in attendance so why is the Queenslander Marnus Labuschagne under the helmet when Lyon is bowling? Labuschagne is a specialist close-in fielder which Siddle surely is not. Is Australia taking an unfair advantage? It would not have happened in my day. In fact, I think that the batting side could say where a substitute couldn’t field in the Fifties.

Any chance of India saving the game disappeared when Hazelwood had Pujara (43) caught by Lyon of a lifter. India are now 7-143 and we look like changing our hotel and flight bookings.

At lunch the visitors are 7-143 with Dhawan on 41 and Yadav 7, but the end is nigh given the Indian’s tail has not very much fight in it.

Dhawan showed his intent after lunch and was smiting balls in an endeavour to lift the score to a reasonable chase. Yadav was giving some support by just staying there. With a highest test score of 21 he is doing a great job. Mind you, he has a 90 against Australia A at Alan Border Field earlier this year. Dhawan is now using his nouse and holding the strike. If India can extend their lead to, say 150, then the game is wide open again.

This is a great rearguard performance by the two batsmen, which is a rare treat for Indian fans. They have created an Indian record for the eighth wicket against Australia at the Gabba. No sooner does a record happen then Dhawan makes an injudicious sweep and is out lbw to Lyon for 81 and India 8-203.

Showing a lack of respect for the bowling Aaron (3) takes a swing at Lyon and holes out to Hazelwood. 9-211. Yardav swings the bat with a couple of sixes off Lyon, but finally swings once too often and snicks one to Haddin off the bowling of  Johnson and is out for 30. Haddin finishes with nine catches – which equals his record against Pakistan in 2009. Johnson is the pick of the Australian bowlers, recording 4-61. India register 224, leaving Australia 128 to win. Lyon, Starc and Hazelwood get two wickets a-piece.

Sharma and Aaron open the bowling with pace and Warner is hit on the hand. Despite playing on, the injury is worse than Warner thought and it is causing him some concern. That concern is vindicated when he parries at Sharma and Dhoni takes an easy catch. Warner is out for six and Australia 1-18.

Is Australia in trouble? Watson goes without scoring from a very ordinary shot of Sharma and Dhoni takes an easy catch. Australia 2-22 and at tea the hosts need 103 to win. Although he did not take a wicket his bowling spells will keep him in the side for the next Test. Another absorbing game of Test cricket that is keeping the small crowd on their toes.

The batsmen decide that ‘the hurry up’ is needed and they start revving up a gear. They quickly move to 40. India’s last chance goes when Smith is dropped by Kholi off Aaron while on eight.

Rogers plays some beautiful shots on the way to a sound 50 off 50 balls. He goes shortly after for 55 with 10 fours. Ishant Sharma has three wickets and has bowled manfully throughout the second innings. He has a good match with two 55’s and is pretty much assured of another Ashes tour next year.

Smith and S.Marsh continue to play safely and assuredly until Marsh (17) goes to Yadav – caught by Dhoni. Australia are 4-114, needing only 14 to win.

Smith (28) is run out when a second run was not necessary at this stage of the game. 5-120. Haddin (1) continues his poor form with the bat and he hooks Yadav straight into the hands of Kohli at fine leg.

Australia wins by four wickets when Mitch Marsh (6) and Johnson (2) guide them home despite some anxious moments at the finish.

A good performance by the Smith-led Aussies who won three of the four days. They will go into the Boxing Day Test with good momentum after the Indians had played great cricket on day 1.

The Indian cricket correspondents are continually puzzled by their team. The inability of the Indian team to play out a full Test match has been the one constant over their last three series’. There seems to be no ‘G & D’ when the going gets tough, although they did battle hard in Australia’s second dig.

The ebbs and flows of this game have been fascinating and once again shows that Test cricket is the game: two great matches that have kept the crowds on their toes throughout.

Well done to both sides for playing in such a great spirit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

Comments

  1. Grand job, Bob.
    Agree 100% on the apparently unsporting use of Marnus Labuschagne at short leg.
    And also on the instability of India over the course of most five day games.
    The almost inevitable ‘total team fadeout’ keeps everyone guessing a bit, if only for its timing.

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