SCG Test, Australia v India – Day One: I Must Be in Sydney

I must be in Sydney.

Talk about daylight robbery! $25 to park your car. Did you hear that Eddie Everywhere? $25 for your car to sit in the sun all day without seeing a ball bowled. No wonder the Swannies cry poor.

In comparison to the MCG ($10), the Adelaide Oval ($15) and Brisbane, well, you walk to the ground. I guess the fact that the toilets I visited had big screens in them for the spectator who doesn’t want to miss a ball is a softener.

I must be in Sydney.

One change in the home side Mitch S[tarc] for the rested Mitch J[ohnson]. India leave out Dhawan. Rumour has it that he had ‘words’ with the new skipper. MS has retired from test cricket. Ishant Sharma is injured and Chet Pujara dropped. It will be a hard task for the Indians given those changes.

Surprisingly there is not a big crowd for the opening stanza. No doubt, the change in the schedule has upset many people with their plans for summer.

Smith wins the toss and elects to bat without hesitation. The Australian opening duo proceeds to slaughter the bowling with the 100 coming up in 90 minutes. Both Warner and Rogers are in great touch and giving a batting lesson to the crowd of about 20,000. Rogers (19) is dropped by Rahul in slip

Warner’s 50 comes up in 45 balls with seven fours. He is in superb form. The score moves on quickly and at 63 Warner kisses the turf and the crowd pay their respect too.

Rogers reaches his half century in the last over before lunch. It has been a great session for Australia against a mediocre attack. At lunch Rogers is 52, Warner on 63. Australia 0-123 in 120 minutes.

One significant feature of the first stanza – and one that deserves no credit – was the amount of times the game was interrupted by the orange shirts. I kept count and there were nine times they ran on the ground to do “something”. Given that each interruption was about two minutes that means that at least 18 minutes was lost. Multiply that by three for a day’s play and that is the equivalent of 54 minutes. Disgraceful. Today we bowl six ball overs as against eight into the late seventies. Just how many times does a batsman need to change his gloves in a session? GOM.

As we mentioned last test: why can’t the umpires take control of the game?

It is a picnic for the batsmen as they continue to feast on the food supplied by the Indians! The 150 come up in 140 minutes. It’s entertainment, but as Danny Morrison said “it has been served up on a platter”.

Warner’s 12th Test century comes up in great style with a flurry of boundaries; 108 balls and 16 fours in 170 minutes. Score is 0-186 and the home side still scoring at more than a run a minute.

The 200 comes up and Warner (101) pushes forward to Ashwin and gives second slip Vijay an easy catch. 1-200 off 45 overs.

Rogers (95) goes shortly after – playing on to Shami. 2-204. India is coming back hard and another quick wicket will have them back in the game. Another fine innings by the veteran who has now put together five half-centuries in a row.

Watson is playing for his Test career again! How many times has he done this in the past couple of years? He is circumspect, and no wonder – particularly if he reads the paper and the listens to other media. Many so-called critics put the question in reference to his white ball career compared to the red. Maybe they are correct and it is time that they (the people that matter) forget about his white ballers and concentrate on the reds, so help me Walter Lindrum!

Smith, as usual, just bubbles along, making runs with no fuss or bother. Watson is tentative outside the off stump and is very unsure in his play.

At tea Australia is 2-242: Smith 28, Watson 10. The Australians won the session but India came back well.

The Australians continued on their merry way after tea until Kohli decided to have two spinners into the action. Ashwin had carried the attack virtually all day and he was well supported by Raina. It was a good battle. Raina was bowling to seven men on the onside and concentrating on the leg stump. The batsmen where finding it hard to get him away.

The official attendance of 30,161 surprises many people. Even more surprising with a well-known commentator suggesting that Sydney should get the Boxing Day test. If you don’t mind umpire. Melbourne is the El Supremo of cricket grounds and will always top Sydney’s attendances in nearly all sports.

Smith and Watson continue on their winning ways. All discussions centre on Watson who will need to make at least 200 to satisfy the ghouls. Smith on the other hand, continues to make life easy. He has now passed Michael Clarke’s record run tally of two years ago.

Spectators on the Old Hill area are trying to create a record late in the day. Their plastic snake reaches to a length of at least 20 metres but I believe the record is well over 30. Always keen to play a part in the day’s play are the Hillites.

Watson nearly does it again; this time off the second last ball of the day. Parrying outside the off stump he tickles Yardav to Ashwin who drops a sitter. The ball goes for four and Watson (61) rides his luck into tomorrow. Watto bashers get yet another chance!

At the other end of the wicket, Steve Smith continues his brilliance. His dominance over the series continues to amaze. He has passed Michael Clarke’s 626 runs from six innings. Smith now has 663 runs from seven innings*. Amazing stuff.

At stumps, Australia are 2-348, with Smith 82 not-out and Watson on 61 not-out. They have an unbroken partnership of 144.

As usual, Ravichandran Ashwin is the best of the bowlers, and his 28 overs saw him finish with 1-88. He spoilt his day by dropping that dolly of a catch off the second last ball of the day.

Kholi had a hard first day as permanent captain. The pitch was like a road, he had an inferior attack and the Australian batsmen just bludgeoned the bowling. He switched his bowlers around often and was fairly astute with his field placings. To be blunt, he took a hiding.

But tomorrow is another day…


* (this innings not yet completed)



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. The Boxing Day test moved to Sydney? What bell-end made that suggestion? (Even as a wind-up?)

  2. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    That went up quick Bob, big night planned?

    Does that mean Melbourne would get the Sydney to Hobart?

  3. Hats off, Bob.
    Your perspective on the various grounds and city experiences has given something unique.
    Attention today probably on SR Watson after his escape yesterday.
    The toss here, as Rulebook has previously said, too influential on the contest.
    Hope you enjoy your day, Bob.
    Rgds etc from officeland

  4. Swish
    thanks for the thoughts about the Sydney to Hobart. I will work on it. melbourne to Hobart is much quicker and a bit like a T20 match.
    Re getting the story on line quickly – that is the power of the Footy Almanac and the wonderful administration. Thanks Steve.
    No i was not having a big night. Still getting over the $25 to park the car. The parking fee has gone up 25% since the 1st of January!

  5. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Thanks Bob , in all seriousness , Adelaide with there sport attendances are making a claim for more games and in prime time . Glad you found cheaper parking day 2 , what a rip off . It makes me appreciate having a car park more at Bob Neil 1 which is opposite , Bob Neil 3 aka , Ad oval . Average bowling and fielding and good batting on a road .

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