The final day of the SCG Test and the final day of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy series. Bob Utber's 2014-2015 Test cricket odyssey comes to a conclusion, as the Indian's give the briefest flicker of hope in pursuit of yet another mountainous day five total.

SCG Test, Australia v India – Day Five: Until We Meet Again..

The final day of the Indian summer and what a series it has been!

If Test cricket was in the doldrums this series has helped revive it. For the majority of the twenty days, it has been attacking and full credit to both sides; particularly Steve Smith and Virat Kohli.

Pride of place this morning to fellow Mildurian Jake Reed. The 24 year-old fast bowler took 4-11 last night to help Hobart Hurricanes defeat Sydney Thunder in a hit-and-giggle match. Reed should be one player to watch for the future. It was only his third game.

Take note Cricket Victoria: another future star from the bush. My spies tell me that the Victorian cricket hierarchy recently visited their counterparts in New South Wales to look at how they bring forward future champions. Do you mind Umpire!

As expected Smith declares overnight. India gets off to a slow start and Lyon is introduced in the sixth over of the day.

Disappointing crowd for the start of the day. Twice as many members as general public. One hour into the game and only about 5,000 in for what will be a great day’s play. Thought more people would have been in attendance.

The ninth over could be the key to the day as Vijay takes to Lyon. Gets a six and a four, but then gave two possible chances to men behind the wicket. One to Haddin and one to Watson.

The Australians start containing the batsmen and it was not surprising when Lyon had Rahul (16) caught at short leg by Warner.

Sharma had some uncomfortable moments when he first entered the arena – including a ridiculously long third umpire dirge for a stumping. Third umpire Fry was in the pan. He was on a hiding to nothing with his decision and finally he went for the omelette instead of the egg: Sharma gets the benefit of the doubt.

At lunch India is 1-73 and probably would have liked another 20 runs to have any chance of a victory.

In the early part of the afternoon, India started to rev up the engine but were contained by the bowlers. An Indian victory is now out of the question.

At 90 Marsh drops a relatively simple catch offered to him at short cover from Vijay. The catching of Australia has been deplorable this series.

Watson bowls short. Sharma (39) cuts and Smith jumping high takes a brilliant catch high to his right. Brilliant stuff. India 2-104

Australia needs eight wickets and India 245 runs.

Kohli receives a mixed reception again. Australian sportsmanship reaches and all-time low. Members try valiantly to out clap the boos. Why do supporters have to steep so low when an absolute champion comes out to bat? Forget the ‘tall poppy syndrome’, this was just poor sportsmanship by ignorant people who know nothing about cricket.

41 runs in the first hour after lunch further indicate that India cannot win the match. However, while Kohli is still there, nothing is impossible.

Australia’s bowling attack continues to bowl good line and length and India cannot score at a rate sufficiently fast enough to give them a chance. Smith’s field placing is also defensive as if to say “I’m not giving them a chance to win”.

At last, Vijay takes things into his own hands and in the final 20 minutes of the session he moves from a diligent half century to 71 not-out at tea. Kohli (26) has been circumspect throughout as if to say ‘wait until after tea’. At tea, India are 2-160 – requiring another 189 runs to win. Do they have a chance?

The final stanza starts slowly but Hazelwood, who has bowled brilliantly without luck, gets one to slide away with bounce and Vijay (80) nicks through to Haddin. India 3-178.

Josh Hazelwood’s figures of 1-15 have come of 11 overs with six maidens. He has taken on the brunt of the bowling from the nearly redundant Peter Siddle. Very impressive. Very hard also, to knock a player who has served his country admirably over many years. However it looks like Siddle has had his day as a test player given the young Lions coming on. Well done Pete!

Kohli is the Muhammad Ali of cricket. He seems to be teasing the Australians then he stings them like a bee with a beautiful stroke. While he is there victory is possible.

It is not possible as he tries to squeeze one past Watson off the bowling of Mitchell Starc, but the maligned number three takes a superb catch. Kohli is out for 46. India 4-201. They can’t win. Starc, like Hazelwood, has bowled well and deserved the wicket. He now has 1-19 of 13 overs with six maidens.

Raina pushes at Starc and goes LBW for his second 0 of the match. India 5-203. The light is dull but the game is alight with Australia’s fast bowlers getting right on top.

It is Lyon however, who takes the next wicket. Saha (0) plays back and goes LBW. India 6-208 and they have lost three for 30 runs. Now the acid is on India to see if they can hold out with 17 overs to play.

The final hour is upon us with India 6-215 and Smith at last applying the pressure.

Hazelwood continues his great work when he gets Ashwin (1) leg before. India now 7-216. The work of the young Australian bowlers is more than impressive as they continue to cause concern to the Indian batsmen.

I’d just like to give a plug to Poona-born former Australian player Lisa Sthalekar who is doing a fantastic job as an expert commentator on the ABC. She knows her onions. Whilst on the topic of the ABC, well done to Drew Morphett as he completes his final stint this afternoon. Great work Drewie – over many years.

Australia take the new ball in a last ditch attempt to win the game. Runs are now inconsequential as the Australians’ tighten the field placings with seven in and two out.

Everyone has a turn with the new ball in an endeavour to grab the final three wickets. It’s not working as all the fielders gather around the batsman. After all the excitement it looks like winding down to a very tame finish.

A wonderful series draws to a quiet finish. The winner has been cricket and the beneficiaries have been the batsmen. Cricket authorities will not want this to happen all the time as the bowlers will surely get jack of it.

India finish with 7-252. Rahane 38 and Kumar 20

For the Australians’, Hazelwood finishes with 2-31, Starc 2-36 and Lyon with 2-110

The big individual winners have been Smith, Kohli and Warner. To a lesser extent Vijay, Rahane and Rogers. Dare I say it, Watson the big “improver” (qualified by the fact that he played all four matches)?

 

WARWICK ARMSTRONG AWARD

3 Votes – Steve Smith: A fantastic game, excluding his Spidercam episode
2 Votes – Virat Kohli: What a series. More love from the crowds
1 Vote – Chris Rogers: Kept himself from the pension with another competent effort

 

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. Yvette Wroby says

    Hi Bob, have loved reading some of your posts over the series. A fine summary of the last day and I do think Smith and Kholi were the revelations of the Series. Two young men, coming of age in their own ways. It is hard to believe that a few short weeks ago we were all in shock and mourning, and the young men were able to come out and play through and with their grief, and take us on an amazing journey with them.

    I was sad to hear Drew was leaving, love the ABC Commentary, the conversations and commentary are wonderful.

    Be well

    Yvette

  2. Thanks Yvette
    Great to have a compliment from you. Get to work on those footy paintings!
    Wonderful Indian summer. Test cricket lives again but I am afraid that money and the greed thereof will finally see it sink in the mire.
    We will miss Drew at both footy and cricket but I am sure he will be back aka Tim Lane.
    Go well

  3. Citrus, Like Yvette and many others, I’ve enjoyed your daily reports, and it’s good to see that the powers-that-be at Cricket Victoria have heeded your advice and appear to be developing a strategy to bring bush cricketers back to state side. Walk softly and carry a big stick, indeed!

    There are worse things in life than having to watch Test cricket, but thanks for taking the time to post your thoughts on each day’s events and I look forward to more!

  4. I watched most of the last 2 days from the garden and the kitchen sans commentary (the occasional ABC radio but I went 4 tests with the TV mute araldited – bliss). Solid genuine Test cricket. Kohli and SPDS are beauties – much to look forward to in future years.
    I reckon you are a bit harsh on Marsh for the short cover miss. High and right at short range – did well to bat it down one hand and just couldn’t hold the rebound. If that was a sitter, I’m a Nederlander.
    Much more critical of him and the close fielders for their carry-on when he one bounce/one handed one at silly mid on later in the game. Blind Freddy could see it bounced and it did the Australians no credit that they tried to con the umpire.
    Smith leads by example and the team follow him, but his tactical nous is a work in progress. I could not believe that he took the new ball at the end with the reverse swing and the ball keeping low with variable bounce. He made it easy for the Indians at the death. I fancied us with the old ball. (Too much short form in the SPD CV).
    And his bowling changes were pulled out of a hat.
    Lyon is a plodder. Bring on Agar.
    Really enjoyed the colour and analysis of your reports Citrus Bob. I guess this is just Orange Time until the 50 Over World Cup.
    I fancy the Screechers to beat the Horribles in the Big Blush.

  5. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Thanks Bob for all your reports , a different and obviously emotional summer , but can we never have these boring flat crap wickets again ! Toss became way to imp because of the wickets . Bob can you please now go back to your most important job in life , helping keep , Dangerfield at crow land .

  6. Bob
    Thanks so much for your reports all summer. I have really enjoyed reading them.
    But I hope you were being tongue-in-cheek when you say that Watson was the big improver!
    Cheers
    Smokie.

  7. Phillip Dimitriadis says

    Bob,
    I just happened to tune in at the moment when Drew was singing ‘The Real Thing’. Thought I was in a parallel universe for a moment.
    It would be fair to say that Drew was one of the more maligned commentators. He is along with Tim Lane, perhaps the last of the Fan Commentators. I liked how he said that he came to the realisation that he just wanted to be himself and that he struggled for many years to be something he wasn’t ie an inside expert. When Marsh dropped that catch off Harris he yelled “Diabolical!” I will miss his spontaneous hyperbole. Cheers

  8. I enjoyed your report and the cricket Bob. A few of my observations and opinions on the series…
    ..Watson adds value to our team.
    ..The newbies need to lift their fielding, by lots.
    ..Kohli is a champ, booing is in fear of him.
    ..Test cricket and ABC commentary are Aussie Summer Time.
    ..What do I listen to today?
    ..Hazelwood is an impressive bowler; Smith and Hazelwood could be the future of our team.
    ..There are legends in bush cricket.

  9. Dave Brown says

    Thanks for the coverage this summer, Bob. Smith and Kohli undoubtedly the standouts aided by dull pitches. Administrators more interested in 5 day tests than a fair contest of bat and ball. Would love to see the crowd figures for the entire series (Boxing Day excluded) comparing members/guests to general admission. I suspect the 2:1 ratio holds true – not sure what that says, if anything, about where test cricket is at.

  10. Under score B. No it ain’t Orange time for me. I have peeled away at the REAL thing now for a break until the Windies, engleesh and Banglas. Time fr a lemon squash. Citrus Bob

  11. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    I’ve looked out for each of your daily posts Bob, the last month or so has been a real treat.

    thanks
    Swish

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