Gabba Test, Australia v India – Day Three : Brad Haddin to Retire? Dispirited India Crushed by Johnson, Smith Partnership

Expect the unexpected. An extraordinary plot continues to unravel on day three at the Gabba. Half way through the morning session India had Australia on the floor; a few overs into the afternoon session and India’s chances of salvaging a result from this match are on life support.

Befitting the captivating contest, the Test match was evenly poised at stumps on day two. India had posted 408 in its first innings and Australia had mustered 4/221 in reply.

Australia’s terrible first day started with the loss of the toss, consigning them to a hot day in the field. Much fuss was made about the heat; several Australian players succumbed to a range of ailments as the day wore on and India scored freely. Cramps, pulled muscles, heat stroke and general discomfort resulted in hourly drinks breaks interspersed with unscheduled periodic stoppages. So heavy was the workload of physios and drinks runners, a path was scorched across the turf between the pavilion area and the middle wicket.

Australia’s over rate suffered and so did the sanity of listeners in northern Australia, where club cricketers play out their entire seasons in 30-40 degree heat. Suffocating humidity is part of cricket in north Queensland. While commentators from Channel 9 and ABC Grandstand repeatedly made a point of the heat endured by cricket’s elite in Brisbane, no complaints were made by players, officials and spectators participating in the Under 15 Queensland Junior Cricket Intra-State Championships in Townsville, where the temperature has soared above 34 degrees every single day of the carnival.

Nonetheless, day one did actually feature some good cricket. Murali Vijay scored another fine century leading India to 4/311 at stumps in front of a poor Gabba crowd. Adding further fire to the debate about India’s refusal to use DRS, Cheteshwar Pujara was robbed when struck on the helmet and given out caught. That makes at least three clangers in this series alone for India.

With most of Australia’s bowlers down and out, cricket fans were left wondering who would be able to bowl for Australia on day two.

Australia’s medical men performed overnight wonders. The hosts restricted India by taking six wickets for 97 runs early on the second day. Josh Hazlewood took 5/68 on debut in a great performance. Australia began their dig fairly well, albeit somewhat uncharacteristically with Chris Rogers scoring quickly, and David Warner departing early. But India made some in-roads into Australia’s Michael Clarke-less batting order.

Day three was always going to be about how Steve Smith would handle the pressure of being the guy who needed to score the runs required to pull Australia from its current submissive position, 180+ runs behind.

With aplomb: Smith nailed another ton, scoring 133 off 191 balls, getting out in a Test match for the first time since Australia’s series loss to Pakistan in the UAE two months ago.

Day three started incredibly well for India. Sharma knocked over Mitch Marsh and the horribly out-of-form Brad Haddin was sent packing by Varun Aaron.

My personal view is that Brad Haddin will undoubtedly retire from Test cricket at the conclusion of this series. His form (highest score 22 from last 12 Test innings), his age (37) and the decision to elect Smith as Captain instead of vice-Haddin, all point toward an imminent exit for this great wicket-keeper.

Back at the Gabba, and after Haddin’s wicket, Australia were now six down and still 162 behind India. Enter Mitchell Johnson.

As soon as Johnson – who’d gone wicket-less in India’s innings – came to the crease, India made the apparent mistake of attempting to sledge the Queenslander. Umpire Marais Erasmus had to intervene at least twice as the exchanges became quite heated. Clearly India had the wrong man. Johnson responded with 88 runs from 93 balls, hitting 13 fours and a six in a 148 run partnership with Smith that completely turned the game on its head.

Australia’s tail wasn’t done there. Lyon, Starc and Hazlewood piled on another 110 runs and took Australia to 505 all-out in the first over after tea.

India should have bowled Australia out for well under 300 and instead, in utterly dispiriting circumstances, surrendered their ascendant position, keeled over and allowed Australia to assert outright dominance.

However, this game ain’t done yet. With a run rate of over four per-over throughout this series, the remaining six and a bit sessions will deliver several surprises. All three results are still possible. India are now 1/61, trailing by 36 with about 12 overs remaining on day three.


For more froth about cricket, head to Cricket Froth (where this article first appeared) and for more of the Almanac’s cricket coverage – including some stunning grass-roots cricket artwork from Kate Birrell, click here.




  1. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Thank you , Haddin is interesting in that I don’t think he has ever kept quite as well for the baggy green as he has for the baggy blue ( cap given at same time ) and he was struggling and it was no surprise when he was dropped the 1st time and then when ,
    Wade struggled we were all surprised when , Haddin was recalled he was brilliant and so vital in the ashes series and when over looked to captain the writing is on the wall his foot work this innings when batting shouted out reflexes on the wane but he is a fighter . India sledging , Johnson when batting was dumb tactically , Smith and the tail has got us back in to the game with all results possible heading in to the , 4th day

  2. Despite Haddin struggling with the bat his keeping is still very crisp. If he is passed over, who comes in?

    I’m happy for Wade to return, though hsi keeping reamins at best steady, not more than that. Paine can’t get a game for Tassie, with Dunk now being the main man in Tassie. I’m sure parochial voices will again call for Hartley, or Smith, etc, but Wade has the experience, thus should be the replacement; if one is required.

    All will be revealed.


  3. Malcolm Ashwood says

    I would go , Wade. Ludeman is the best keeper but his shield record with the bat is not good enough , doesn’t bat smart enough , it’s going to be a interesting selection

  4. Haddin has missed at least two catches so far this series and his bungled run out shows he’s not up to it. With no public exposure to shield matches it’s difficult to comment other than most grade keepers would keep better than ?Haddin who has been a fine warrior.
    He needs a tap on the shoulder as they did with Healy.

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