Gabba Test, Australia v India – Day One: The Gabba – Clem Jones’ Home

 

Walking in to the ground this morning I could not help but think back to the days of former Lord Mayor of Brisbane, and then curator of the Brisbane cricket ground, Clem Jones.

It was in the early 1970s that Clem decided ‘enough was enough’ and rolled up his sleeves to curate the ground for Australia vs England.

He would be proud to see what is out there today, though in retrospect, perhaps they could have left an open space instead of making it another concrete jungle.

He made a big impact as Mayor on the Brisbane environment, together with his Town Clerk J.C.Slaughter (what a name for a Town Clerk!). In some respects, he was a man before his time.

The grandstand at the Gabba was known as the Clem Jones Stand before the redevelopment. Clem was an Alderman and, accordingly, former pace man Terry Alderman’s nickname was ‘Clem’.

Today’s wicket was not one of the hard ones that Clem would have produced and lacked the pace of recent wickets. Dhoni won the toss and had no hesitation in batting. Given that Australia had virtually a tyro attack consisting of one genuine star in Mitchell Johnson and newcomer Josh Hazelwood, fourth-gamer Mitchell Marsh and Mitchell Starc (13th game). Australia may regret not playing the ONLY Victorian, Peter Siddle (I class Rogers as a sandgroper). The Australian attack would regret it by the end of the day as none of the bowlers can bowl for long spells and three players would finish the day injuredbe injured.

The start of the game was pedestrian, with the batsmen very circumspect and not giving the bowlers any opportunities. Dhawan (24) could have hit Mitch Marsh anywhere from a wide one but feathered it through to Haddin, who gleefully accepted and India were 1/54.

Pujara joined Vijay at the crease and the duo played comfortably through to lunch, appearing more than prepared to wear the bowlers down in the heat.

The Australian line-up suffered yet another hamstring injury when Mitch Marsh had to leave the field shortly after lunch. What is it with these hamstring injuries in top level cricket? Are the players too fit? Despite all the scientific ho-ha that surrounds sport today, maybe the players are not cricket fit.

Pujara (18) was very unlucky to be given out caught behind of a Hazelwood lifter. The ball clearly struck his helmet and umpire Erasmus has made yet another mistake in this series. Surely it is time for the third umpire to overrule a doozy decision. The tourists move to 2/100 and a lucky break for Australia.

Vijay continued to give the bowlers a chance but managed to hold his end up and it was a surprise when Kohli (19) went for a wild hit to give Haddin his third catch. Josh Hazelwood was having a great debut game and working up good pace. At 3/137 Australia took control of the game despite the heat and skipper Steve Smith is having a great day.

The weather is starting to take its toll on the fielding side despite some tight bowling and a few fumbles in the field. At tea Australia holds the upper hand, having the tourists 3/151 and earn a well-deserved rest after a testing second session. Vijay on 73 is still the snag for Australia and they will need to take him of the barbie in the final session as the day becomes warmer.

Murali Vijay decided to take the attack to the Australians after tea. Hazelwood crashed to the deck and took a while to recover and then left the field. Australia were then two bowlers down and Starc also looking a bit ‘iffy’. Vijay reached his 100 by smacking 11 runs of a Watson over. He’d had some luck, but overall it was a fine innings following his 99 in Adelaide. He continued to charge the bowlers, quickly adding 42 runs off 30 balls. Australia needed to do something to stem the flow as the score passed 200.

Vijay is now playing contemptuously and taking runs with ease. A welcome drinks break saw clouds come over to relieve the fielding side. They need it.

The Indians are making the Aussies work for everything. How many times have they had to run to the boundary only to see the ball laugh at them .

At 3/224 the visitors have taken hold of the game by the throat, with Australia looking very dispirited. You can’t blame new skipper Steve Smith. He has tried everything but the weather has played its part. It has been very difficult in the field. The Indians continue to charge and Vijay and Rahane take their partnership to 100 of 120 balls. Vijay has scored 60 since tea. Lyon has bowled 4 overs for 35 runs.

To Australia’s credit their ground fielding did not falter in the second half of the day. Shaun Marsh’s 2 dropped catches where the only blemish.

At last Vijay is out! A magnificent innings of 144 (including 22 fours) comes to an end when he charges Lyon and is both caught and stumped in the same movement by Haddin. He is given out caught. Haddin has been involved in the dismissal of all four batsmen. India are 4/261 with Rahane now moving well on 52.

As the day was drawing to a close the ball was slowly popping from the wicket. Will it continue to be a batsman’s paradise as the game moves on?

Rohit Sharma gets into the action and hits Lyon for the first six of the day followed by a four. He is moving like a man who is heading for a big score. A straight drive off Watson was like a Tony Lockett shot at goal – deadly accurate.

Johnson takes the second new ball and India reach 4/302 off 404 balls. The visitors’ running between wickets has been great. I don’t think I have ever seen the Indians perform better.

Peter Bruckner – the Australian team doctor – comes out on the ground for the umpteenth time and Hazelwood leaves the ground. Too much science and not enough oomph in my humble opinion. Watson has to finish the over.

At the end of the day India have the game at its mercy if they can continue their fine work of today: 4/311 with Rahane to resume tomorrow on 75 and Rohat Sharma on 26.

For the home side, Haddin and  his four catches is the standout performance. For the 45th Australian captain, Steve Smith, it was not a great day. But then, when three of your bowlers have injury problems what else can you do?

If I was in charge of Cricket Australia I would have all my fast bowlers training with their nearest football sides during winter.

Sorry, of course, they will again be playing a multitude of games in all corners of the earth.

 

 

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. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Thanks Bob lack of cricket fitness is the issue , although I do think there is some merit in the point the gabba test is always, 1st and the players generally arrive in Brisbane earlier and acclimatise to the heat and humidity ( notice I said some merit ! )

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