MCG Test, Australia v India – Day Three: Nureyev and Helpmann in Cricket Whites

The one question in sport that we all know the answer to is: How many successful captains and coaches are there? Answer – the ones that are winning!

And so it came to pass that India – via former captain Sourav Ganguly are looking for MS’s head. Dhoni is certainly not everyone’s favourite and once again his performances in Australia have left a lot to be desired.

After the success of Virat Kohli in Adelaide – even though the team lost, Dhoni’s insipid interest in the game showed its true face in Melbourne. His unimaginative field and bowling changes did not help his team yesterday.

Ganguly is right. He has not been a success over a period of 60 matches as captain. 27 wins, 18 losses and 14 draws are not very inspirational.

Haddin atones straight away for his miss on day two with a brilliant catch of Pujara (25) diving fully stretched to his right. India are 2-108 without addition to the overnight score.

Kohli and Vijay combat a withering storm from Harris and Johnson. It was test cricket at its best.

Virat Kohli is the Rudolf Nureyev of cricket. His movements are so exquisite that you marvel at the ease in which they are performed. Bravo, bravo!

After surviving last night and again early this morning Vijay (68) parries at one from Watson and Marsh.S takes a comfortable catch at slip. 3-147. To do all the hard work and then to go to a soft shot seems to be the Achilles heel of the Indians this tour.

If Kohli is the Master, then Ajinkya Rahane is the enfant terrible Bobby Helpmann (SA). He is short, self-effacing and not content to play second lead to anyone. As Helpmann’s coach said “his determination allows him to do what he wants with sureness, precision and smoothness.” Think Ajinkya Rahane.

He out-bats Kohli in a splendid partnership that has Tchaikovsky looking for a new ballet for the boys. It was pure mastery of the Australian attack, although both Harris and Johnson had to be watched intently.

Both players have been dropped. Rahane on 70 to what would have been an easy caught and bowled to Lyon. Score 3-275. Kohli on 88 by Watson in slips off the unlucky Johnson. Score 3/290.

Would Australia rue the day?

Both batsmen (not batters!) go into their nineties, and it becomes a race to see who reaches their century first. It’s Ajinkya! An undisciplined shot goes for four over slips. His century came off 127 balls and included 13 fours. A wonderful innings that has probably helped secure a draw for the visitors.

Virat Kohli proceeds very cautiously towards his third century of the series with a series of singles. He reaches the ton by spanking Lyon for a beautifully driven boundary. Kohli’s smacked 11 fours on his way to triple figures off just 166 balls. The partnership reaches 188.

It has been a fine session for India with 112 runs added in the 120 minutes of play. In fact, a good session all round as the Australian bowlers toiled manfully. Yet another fascinating snap shot of a great series.

Spent some time with the ‘Swami Army’ during the afternoon session. “Bring on Johnson, bring on Johnson “they cried. How soon champions fall from grace. At this stage Johnson’s figures were 0-108

Kohli and Rahane continue their onslaught and they take the score to 409 before Rahane tries to sweep Lyon and he goes LBW for 147. It had been a magnificent innings in a magnificent partnership of 262. The best partnership for the fourth wicket at the MCG for all countries.

Newcomer K.L.Rahul had spent most of the day watching the two impresarios plying their trade. His first-up effort did not impress and he only lasted a few balls. A wild swish at Lyon is skied, but Siddle drops the catch. Inexplicably, Rahul tries the very same shot again on the next ball and is caught by Hazelwood for 3. India 5-415.

MS came in, and looked in a hurry. A complete enigma is the skipper. He does not last long and is caught behind off Harris for 11. 6-430

As usual the Indian tail collapsed and now they have lost 3-34. Ashwin (0) drove back to Harris who took a great caught and bowled. India are now 7-434. Harris, having a great game, has 4-69 following his innings of 74 yesterday.

Kohli has been the rock but now he needs to take charge and score judicially if India are to whittle the deficit down. Shami (9) holds on. It is Kohli who goes in the last over of the day. Stumps sees India 8-462

For Virat Kohli it had been a magnificent day for his 169 runs. With 18 fours in 380 minutes off 270 balls, he had been the sheet anchor.

Once again the visitors had been let down by the tail and middle order losing 5-53 in the last session. Ryan Harris has been the outstanding bowler finishing the day with 4-69 while ‘The Demon’ Johnson had to wait until the last over of the day to secure his first wicket. He finishes the day 1-133.

All in all, another great day of Test cricket for a good crowd of 42,166 people to witness. 163,725 people have witnessed three days of absorbing cricket.





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.


  1. Great report Bob. Loved the ballet references. Kohli is my favourite batsman to watch when in full flight. Elegant and murderous.
    As for Tchaikovsky – I think Smith copped the Nutcracker sweet in the first dig.

  2. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Great summary , Bob a interestingly poised game at the end of day 4 . Dhawan , Kohli and Harris the keys tomorrow IMO

  3. Peter Schumacher says

    Why only 14,000 or whatever it was? Surely today there will be heaps more, could be one of the great finishes but India has to play to win and to do that they have to get wickets first up. This has been an engrossing match.

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