MCG Test, Australia v India – Day Two: The Bradman-esque Compiler of Runs

The question of the day is as follows: Why can’t Victoria produce cricketers of quality any more?

Spent sometime yesterday morning talking with an eminent Melbourne-based Premier club coach discussing this most serious of subjects.

We’re both seething about the desperate state of cricket in Victoria. We discuss Victorian cricket’s administration, the structure of Premier cricket and the health of the game outside the big towns; are there too many clubs? Is it too easy to get a game? Are the players who do make it hungry enough? Is cricket healthy at the grassroots level? How is it that so many players in the Blues’ Shield side are from country NSW, yet Robinvale in Victoria’s Sunraysia district (and former home of Jamie Siddons) does not have a cricket team?

From my personal perspective I also thing that the indifference of Victorian selectors to promote young players from within the ranks into the State team is a factor. They seem hell-bent on importing players from other states for the Bushrangers at the expense of home-grown talent. In the present squad we have Wade, Christian, Rogers, Haberfield, Ayre, Hastings, Stoinis, Tremain and D.Hussey to name just a few. Who will forget a few years ago when they left warhorse Matthew Innes out of the team for Tasmanian import Gerard Denton. Innes left the state and Victoria has not been the same since. That might sound simplistic, but I think it is time for the “old boy’s network” to be replaced at the head of our very proud history. Victorian cricket and our own home-grown talent deserves better.

The drums have been beating this morning in an endeavour to lift the Indians but all it has done has fine-tuned Brad Haddin to turn the game on its head. Haddin dominated the first hour as the Aussies scored 52. The out-of-form batsman was in superb touch, even though he was peppered with short balls. Haddin (55) feathers one to Dhoni from Sharmi. Australia 6-326

Enter Mitchell Johnson and as they did in Brisbane, India pepper him, but Johnson takes it all in his stride. On 28 he charges Ashwin and is stumped by Dhoni. Australia now 7-376. Another 50 run partnership from the tail.

It has become like Groundhog Day and Dhoni is content to let the game flow. He is devoid of ideas.

Steve Smith. What can you say about this Bradmanesque compiler of runs? My daughter said to me yesterday “Dad, he is so old-fashioned and boyish. I love him”. She is not talking about his cricket ability just him as a person, although she admires his fighting cricket as well. His on-field exploits are now a part of cricket folk lore and I am only talking about the last three test matches.

Smith’s ability to score all round the wicket has the opposition completely flummoxed and they seem to have no answer to him at the moment. Bodyline needed? He brings up his 500 runs for the series before lunch.

At the break, the home side is 7-389 with Smith 128 and Harris 10 holding sway. A terrible morning for the visitors.

Australia has taken charge of the game by lunch time and they have put themselves in a very strong position for the remainder of the game. 130 runs in the second for two wickets. Good stuff.

Smith continues on ably supported by Harris and yet another 50-plus partnership. It rolls on to 106 before Harris (74) falls LBW to Ashwin. 8-482. It was Smith supporting Harris with the fast bowler outscoring the skipper 68% to 32% in the partnership.

Super Steve goes on a rampage and takes to all bowlers. He and Lyon put on 38 before Lyon (11) goes to a windy woof. Smith 192 n.o. 9-530. Smith tries for his 200 but goes to Yadav without further addition to the score. Australia all out 530. Sharma was the best bowler with 4-138 while Ashwin toiled valiantly for his three wickets . Yadav also took three wickets.

India start well even though the pace of Johnson troubled them at times. The pitch has become easier for batting and there is much front foot play. No sooner did I write that, when Dhawan (28) nicks one and Smith (always in the game) catches at second slip. The visitors are 1-55. Once again Harris takes the first wicket.

At last a Victorian is involved. Peter Siddle is on the field for the injured Warner.

Pujara joins Vijay and is very circumspect with his play. He does not give anything away to the bowlers. The visitors are intent on seeing the second day through to stumps without further loss.

Haddin drops Pujara of Hazelwood. How costly will this be?

Vijay scores another 50. It is his third fifty of the series. He has been a hard nut for Australia to crack.

At stumps India 1-108, and doing the job admirably in reply to Australia’s 530.

Another great day’s play with Australia in charge after some fantastic batting by Smith and Co.

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. Luke Reynolds says

    Agree with your comment about Victoria importing players. Too many locals have been overlooked for imports in the past decade. We haven’t even got a hard done by Victorian to whinge about not being in the Test team at the moment. Players like Ian Holland, Ryan Sidebottom and James Muirhead need to given chances or will be lost to other states.

  2. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Bob likewise the importing of players over home grown talent and bizarre selection has long been a problem in SA cricket as well . McDonald late last season and this year opening another classic example . District cricket needs to go back to 1 o’clock till 6 so it is quality not quantity so the older player keeps playing and teaching the younger which is vital and less sides ( good luck on either )

  3. Peter Schumacher says

    Malcolm Ashwood stole my thunder really but I will say it any way, “If you think that things are crook in Vic try trying to be a South Australian supporter”.

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