10th over: India 22-1 (Rohit 13, Pujara 1) Hazlewood bangs away on a length and there’s a little bit of initiative from El Che to get off the mark, backing away slightly and knocking one of those balls to cover for a single. Smart play. The stormtroopers are being fairly well behaved, it must be said. A real storm might be brewing out west of Brisbane, inland. The clouds have come over, which will help the comfort of the players a bit. It’s still very warm and humid out there.
9th over: India 21-1 (Rohit 13, Pujara 0) This is the benefit of Rohit Sharma: he has the quality to combat good bowling, but he keeps scoring at the same time. Subtle touch against Cummins, just opens the face and steers a decent ball fine of gully along the ground for four.
8th over: India 17-1 (Rohit 9, Pujara 0) Hazlewood now threatening danger. Gets a ball to cut back in at Rohit who is trying to leave, and ends up being hit on the pad not offering a shot. That was too high but I’m surprised they didn’t appeal for it anyway. And another shout that would have been close had Rohit not got a faint inside edge for a single. In between those balls though, Rohit collects a pair of twos to the leg side, and Hazlewood’s first of the over was a no-ball.
7th over: India 11-1 (Rohit 4, Pujara 0) The quality of Pat Cummins. He dismisses Gill to that peculiar shot, but then he’s very nearly on a hat-trick with a beauty to Pujara. India’s defensive stalwart is so good, but he gets a perfect delivery first ball, seaming away a touch, and edges it inches short of Smith diving forward at second slip. Pujara’s skill is to go softly at the ball, and this time it just, just, saves him. Wicket maiden!
WICKET! Gill c Smith b Cummins 6, India 11-1
Just the quick burst from Starc then, and now Cummins gets a chance with a nearly new Kookaburra. Makes it count. A strange shot from Gill: he’s predisposed to leave that ball but sees it angling in at his stumps. His weight is leaning away from the ball towards leg side by the time he decides to play. And his stabbed defensive shot takes a thick edge through to second slip. No flourish from the young inclusion today.
6th over: India 11-0 (Rohit 4, Gill 7) Hazlewood to Rohit, who hooks at a bumper way down the leg side but misses it. Free runs there if he’d got a touch. Warner essays a solo appeal from first slip for a caught behind. Another scoreless over.
5th over: India 11-0 (Rohit 4, Gill 7) Full at the stumps from Starc, and Gill manages to keep it out while closing the face of the bat late in order to directe the ball through midwicket for a couple of runs. Then when Starc bowls shorter and wider Gill pounces to cut him for four. He does love a boundary, this young batsman, and what we’ve all been so impressed by is how he’s not remotely overawed by the bowlers he’s facing. If anything he’s underawed. Happy to hit.
4th over: India 5-0 (Rohit 4, Gill 1) Shubman Gill gets his scoring underway against Hazlewood with a straight ball wristed to fine leg. That ability to turn a delivery into the kind of delivery that he wants is the sort of quality that sets some players apart from others. Rohit stands very tall to counter Hazlewood’s length, then manages to turn a straight ball through square leg for two. A cagey first few overs.
3rd over: India 2-0 (Rohit 2, Gill 0) Starc to Rohit and that’s not helpful for batting. The ball hits a crack, stays low, and jags about half a metre across the batsman. From leg-stump line it beats the outside edge. Yeesh. Will Pucovski walks past the stormtroopers and gets a rowdy ovation.
Abhijato is watching from a distance. “This Test is the only thing which has managed to wake me up this early on a Saturday morning back here in India. Quite pleased with my timing too, since the openers stride out to bat now. I adore many players but none as much as Rohit Sharma. His half-ton in his previous outing showed he’s got the technique. Here’s to hoping he’s the man of the moment who proves he’s got the temperament as well!”
2nd over: India 2-0 (Rohit 2, Gill 0) Josh Hazlewood will be the circling Vulture to Mitchell Starc’s Stanley knife. Comes in to Gill and lands it on a dime, as usual. Right-armer to right-hander, if you’re trying to picture the scene. Three slips: Warner, Smith, Wade. Green in the gully. Lyon at point. Labuschagne at mid off, with cover open. Cummins at mid on. Harris at short leg wearing the fascinator. Starc grazing at fine leg. Gill draws his bat inside the line of one ball, drawing some murmurs from the fielders. Sees out the maiden over.
1st over: India 2-0 (Rohit 2, Gill 0) Mitchell Starc takes the new ball from the Stanley Street End. And we’re away! He bounds in with those huge strides, tall and lean, slinging the ball down from a left-arm over-the-wicket line, across Rohit Sharma who leaves. Huge bounce on that first ball. A couple more leaves, a defensive shot, then Rohit leans forward and just presses his forward defence into the gap at cover and takes two runs. Decent pace and lift for Starc first up.
The players are entering the field and we’re about to start.
“Morning all,” writes John Davis from the UK, presumably. “Just to say how lovely it is to read about cricket with a real crowd. As always, the OBO crowd have been brilliant – thank you for helping us travel vicariously through you, Australia at bedtime and Sri Lanka at breakfast. I showed my class online today pictures of me at Galle in 2016 (three days after the Aussies left, unfortunately) after they mentioned checking England’s score. Would love to be there now. Enjoy the match and the crowd. Can’t wait until we can join you.”
It is our fond hope, John, that some of you from over there can join us here at the end of this year for the next Ashes. That would be nice.
Lunch – Australia all out 369
We’ll take the 40-minute break now, starting six minutes late. Quite the late flurry from Australia’s 9, 10 and jack. That looks like a very solid score without being a dominant one. As ever, wait until both sides have batted. But it looks like a great batting surface, so if India play to their top order’s ability they could look to score 400 and get a lead. But the quality of Australia’s bowling is not to be disregarded. A score of 369 could be more than enough. I’ll be back with you as India resume.
WICKET! Hazlewood b Natarajan 11, Australia all out 369
That’s the end at last. Natarajan on debut comes back to bowl, and only needs tow balls to fire one in fast at the base of off stump that Hazlewood can’t do much about. Knocks the stump out of the ground. Natarajan gets a third wicket.
115th over: Australia 369-9 (Starc 20, Hazlewood 11) Oh, India. They took 3 wickets for 4 earlier today, but now the last two wickets have put on 54 and counting. A maiden from Sundar to Starc, and we’ve got an extended session past the lunch break given there’s only one wicket left to fall.
114th over: Australia 369-9 (Starc 20, Hazlewood 11) Siraj to Starc, who takes a single square. To Hazlewood, bowling a length, trying to get an edge, but he’s forced through the covers for four. Back foot, not timed perfectly but it has enough roll. Next ball, wider, Starc launches onto the front foot and smacks it the same way for four. That one gets there a lot faster. Josh Hazlewood is suddenly the off-side specialist.
113th over: Australia 360-9 (Starc 19, Hazlewood 3) The singles keep coming from the spinner, each over that goes by a little more annoying for this Indian side. Three runs from Sundar’s over.
112th over: Australia 357-9 (Starc 17, Hazlewood 2) Siraj to Starc, who bides his time. He probably figures he’d rather be out there batting than out there bowling. Defends a few, waiting for the right length to go after. When it comes, he gets it wrong. Big top edge over the bowler, trying to pull, but Mayank Agarwal at mid-off has too far to get across and his sprawling dive is a couple of metres away from where the ball lands. Starc gets a run.
111th over: Australia 356-9 (Starc 16, Hazlewood 2) Sundar’s spin with Vulture Street at his back, and he surprises Hazlewood with bounce that gets up near the splice and drops safely in front of the wicket. Slip, short leg, short cover are the close fielders. Backward point, cover point two thirds back, mid-off two third back, mid-on two thirds back, regulation midwicket and backward square leg. Anticipating big shots but that’s not really Hazlewood’s go. You’d be better to crowd him and have the distant catchers for Starc, I reckon. The Large H blocks out a maiden.
110th over: Australia 356-9 (Starc 16, Hazlewood 2) Siraj bowling from the Stanley Street End with figures of 1 for 66. He deserves one more wicket to reflect the hard work that he’s done. Sends in a very good bouncer that has Hazlewood falling out of the way like a California redwood under the chainsaw. Siraj then comes around the wicket to the left-hander and pitches up but it’s driven for a run to cover. Third slip drops back to third man for Starc, anticipating a hoick. Instead Starc gets a very sharp bouncer, right-arm over the wicket across the left-hander and over his front shoulder. He flinches out of the way.
109th over: Australia 355-9 (Starc 16, Hazlewood 1) Even Josh Hazlewood looks comfortable out there, driving Sundar down to long-off for one. Why does the No11 have a long-off before he’s faced a ball? You tell me.
WICKET! Lyon b Sundar 24, Australia 354-9
No fifty today. That’s the end of the fun. Sundar is getting good results by just bowling at the stumps. What he’s learned in his exellent T20 career can apply to this kind of batting. Lyon pulls out his trusty sweep shot but misreads the length, playing over the top of a ball that goes under his bat, behind his pads, and hits middle and leg stump.
108th over: Australia 354-8 (Starc 16, Lyon 24) Siraj has bowled 24 overs already in this innings, he’ll be creaking. Starts at less than 130 kph to Starc. Second ball is faster, and short, but Starc hooks away off the top edge and it takes a long sprint around from Natarajan at fine leg to slap that back into play on the bounce. Just a single. Lyon plays the short ball comfortably enough as well. Both batsmen have looked completely at ease so far.
107th over: Australia 352-8 (Starc 15, Lyon 23) Sundar continues and they milk him like a Jersey cow. One here, two there, six from the over, and the 350 up. India must find a way to put the cork in this. Siraj is warming up, then asking the umpire whether the ball looks alright. It does.
106th over: Australia 346-8 (Starc 10, Lyon 22) Thakur to continue, I wonder if Siraj to test them with pace is the move. Saini is a loss at a time like this. Because this pair is playing beautifully! Starc with a back-foot force down the ground for two, then Lyon with a postcard off-drive for four. Another swivel-pull comes out of the middle to fine leg but there’s a man back there. Lyon has still never made a Test fifty, his best was that freewheeling 47 he made when his team was cooked at Cape Town in 2018, but today is as good a chance as he might get. Situation perfect. No pressure, bonus runs, perfect batting conditions, and a tired set of inexperienced bowlers that he can throw off balance.
105th over: Australia 338-8 (Starc 7, Lyon 17) I can tell you this: it’s a good pitch for tailenders to bat on. Nice and true, letting you swing through the line. Lyon facing spin for the first time plays the sweep shot, his favourite, and picks up four. This could become damaging for India very quickly. It does, literally, as Lyon sweeps again and smashes short leg on the knee. Prithvi Shaw is under the lid as a sub fielder for Saini. Shaw fits that spot, as the smallest player who remains fit for India. But he’s not happy to be out there after that blow. Lyon is able to divert a leg-side ball behind square for two more.
104th over: Australia 332-8 (Starc 7, Lyon 11) Shardul Thakur to Lyon again, who swivels on his heel and pulls a not so short ball through square leg for four. Enterprising Lyon style. The next ball though is proper. Frame that. A classical straight drive past the bowler for four more! Lovely from Lyon. Last ball of the over, he’s up on one foot and playing his swivel shot once more, this time with a deep square leg out for a single and keeping the strike.
103rd over: Australia 317-8 (Starc 1, Lyon 2) Ha, both sides of Starc in that over. He plays out five sober, sensible balls against Washington Sundar, gauging the pace and the turn. Then he dismisses the last ball for six! The classic Starc shot, an angled swing over wide long-on, clean as a whistle.
102nd over: Australia 317-8 (Starc 1, Lyon 2) Huuuge cheer for Nathan ‘Nathan’ Lyon as he walks to the middle in his 100th Test match. He’s the kind of idiosyncratic batsman who could make a few in these circumstances. I’m reliably told he once made a first-grade century from about 60 balls batting at No6. He gets off the mark immediately with a brace, cross-batted from Thakur to square leg, and the crowd goes wild for it.
WICKET! Cummins lbw Thakur 1, Australia 315-8
They’ve lost 3 for 4! What is happening here. Thakur with the inswinger this time, full and booming and nailing Cummins on the ankle in front of middle. He reviews because he has to, with plenty left in hand, but that ball is smashing leg stump on the old DRS.
101st over: Australia 313-7 (Cummins 1, Starc 0) We’ll see some swinging now, with Starc at the crease.
WICKET! Green b Sundar 46, Australia 313-7
The tail won’t add anything with Green! He’s bowled by Washington Sundar. What happened there? That’s an off-break speared in at leg stump. Green has shuffled away to leg a touch and then tries to defend, straight down the line of the ball. But it turns away from him. That was definitely an off-spinning delivery out of the hand, and it doesn’t as far as I can tell hit a crack. Maybe it just landed on the seam and jagged slightly. Whatever the case, it goes away from him just a fraction, and gets a shadow of an outside edge before hitting his leg stump. Result for India!
100th over: Australia 311-6 (Green 46, Cummins 0) The first of the lower order to the crease, but Paine and Green have Australia are in a good position from here. Whatever the tail can do with Green will be bonus runs. Thakur finishes a wicket maiden.
WICKET! Paine c Rohit b Thakur 50, Australia 311 for 6
Fifty and gone! Outside the off stump and swinging away, and Paine has been leaving those all day long. The milestone may have disrupted his thinking though, he felt like it was time to have a go at one, but it was not. The away swing turns his off-drive into a regulation edge to the right of second slip, where Rohit Sharma does the job leaning across.
Fifty! Tim Paine 50 from 102 balls
99th over: Australia 311-5 (Green 46, Paine 50) Spin time, Washington Sundar’s funny off-breaks to Green. A real leg-side trap: short mid-on, short midwicket, and short leg. The former two are maybe 10 to 15 paces from the bat. Green nearly edes to slip! Goes back but the ball is too full, so he prods at it desperately to keep it out and gets a nick high on the bat that loops rather than going flat, and drops short of Rahane lunging forward. Green flicks another ball square, giving strike to Paine, who drives into the cover gap for his single.
98th over: Australia 309-5 (Green 45, Paine 49) One run from his minor milestone is Paine as he drops Thakur to midwicket and runs with the stroke. Simple accumulation. Green plays down to fine leg, a shot that he gets a lot of value from given his height. He can just get over the top of anything vaguely straight and divert it away. Thakur continues wide and Paine leaves. Australia have nearly got through an hour here, that puts them significantly on top.
97th over: Australia 307-5 (Green 44, Paine 48) Siraj to Green and now the batsmen are getting some deliveries they can work around. Fuller and straight and Green drives through wide long-on for three. Paine nudges a single square.
96th over: Australia 303-5 (Green 41, Paine 47) Shardul Thakur to bowl replacing Natarajan. He’s on the shorter side, powerfully built across the shoulders, and swings the ball conventionally, as he showed when his first ball yesterday picked up Marcus Harris by swinging into the left-hander’s pads and being flicked to square leg. He starts with a warm-up ball, too full, that Paine whips through midwicket for four. Gun-shy, Thakur then bowls too wide for the next five balls and Paine leaves them all alone. Advantage batsman.
95th over: Australia 299-5 (Green 41, Paine 43) Siraj with another impressive over to Paine, getting the ball to move through the air and off the seam. There won’t be much in this track for long though, you wouldn’t think, and India still haven’t got the wicket they need. It almost comes in unorthodox fashion when Paine shuffles forward to negate the swing and defends back to the bowler on the bounce. The batsman stays where he is, looking at Siraj after the shot, and Siraj realises Paine is out of his crease and pings a throw at the stumps. Paine is a wicketkeeper, so he twigs in time and darts his foot back, and would probably have made it safely had the throw not missed the stumps by a fraction. But that would have been tight.
94th over: Australia 298-5 (Green 41, Paine 42) Natarajan to Paine, having come around the wicket, and there’s still inswing with a bit of seam away, but he’s starting his line a few inches too wide. When he bowls at the stumps Paine just blocks a little drive away to mid-on and runs with the stroke. That brings Green onto strike, who edges the ball for four! A proper nick that time from a big drive, reaching away from his body, and it flies through third slip which is untenanted. Two slips and a gully for India. It does make you wonder, with the newer ball, do you really need all of deep point, cover, mid off, mid on, square leg?
93rd over: Australia 293-5 (Green 37, Paine 41) Siraj bowls, still getting swing with the new ball but hasn’t been able to make Paine play consistently enough, a lot of balls being left. There’s a leg bye from the over but nothing more, making it technically a maiden to the bowler. That’s three in a row.
David Branch writes in – he should start a partnership with Joe Root. “I read your comment about fast moving thunderstorms and it reminded me of the first day of the last Ashes Test at the Gabba. I was up in Brisbane to meet my brother over from the UK and to catch a bit of cricket. We watched the first session and headed back into the city and got caught in a downpour mid-afternoon. I looked on the radar and there was this tiny red spot right over us which didn’t move for the next 30 minutes. So fast-moving it was not. On a rain-related note, It was hammering down with rain all last eveing in the Doncaster area but I was still able to watch the Big Bash game 20kms away at the MCG where it didn’t really rain until the last over or two. Melbourne’s weather can be really local.”
Well David, I would say that 30 minutes is very fast moving compared to settling in for three straight days of mizzle in Bristol. Job done, move on. As for the Melbourne version of Doncaster, I grew up about 20 k’s north of there, and can affirm that the weather in the hills is often several degrees different and with an entirely distinct rain system to the inner city.
92nd over: Australia 292-5 (Green 37, Paine 41) Swing for the left-arm Natarajan into Green, hitting his pad but almost outside the line of leg and swinging away from leg as it strikes. Green leaves the next, angled across, then pokes after the subsequent ball but misses. A maiden in the end as Natarajan finds some control.
91st over: Australia 292-5 (Green 37, Paine 41) An entire bay’s worth of Star Wars stormtroopers have just arrived to sit beneath the press box, so we’ll look forward to seeing whether they veer towards obnoxiousness or jolliness later in the day. They’ve also got a C3P0 and a Yoda, who I must saw is looking a lot broader across the shoulders than the original. Sympathy for the bay attendant who is trying to seat them all in their allocated virus-era seats. Siraj bowls a testing over to Paine, keeping it out beyond his off stump, aside from an inside edge which sneaks past his timbers instead. No run.
90th over: Australia 292-5 (Green 37, Paine 41) Huge swing from Natarajan to start his over, but the rest of his delivery is all over the place. One, he’s overstepped to deliver a no-ball. Two, he’s started it wide outside off, so with the away swing it ends up going to first slip. Three, Pant hurts his finger diving across to avoid more byes. If I didn’t mention it already, Navdeep Saini had a muscle strain yesterday and won’t bowl, so India’s attack is Natarajan, Thakur, Siraj, with Washington Sundar for spin.
89th over: Australia 290-5 (Green 37, Paine 40) Siraj with the missile from the other, and he tries a couple of bouncers in between pitching up. One of those short balls goes soaring off the surface and clears Pant behind the stumps by a large margin, flying away for four byes. A few singles in between times and Australia have enjoyed a lucrative start.
88th over: Australia 282-5 (Green 36, Paine 38) Quite the opening over! Newish ball being taken by Natarajan, up against Green. Natarajan beats the bat a couple of times, once striking the pad, once dipping away from the outside edge by a sliver of daylight. In between times, Green dismisses him twice to the boundary straight down the ground, back past the bowler. We’re certainly underway.
Emails ahoy. “Oh the joy of both waking up to and going to bed to Test match cricket. It may be the winter cricket giddiness, but forgive me this premature comment: Could Cameron Green turn out to be the solution to Australia’s post-Paine skipper conundrum? If he were to continue to play himself into being a middle-order fixture and Paine persists for another two years, Green could be – in both temperament and skill – the ideal man to take the reins, despite his relative youth. Labuschagne is obviously the premier batsman not named Warner or Smith, but there’s something about his presence that, without being harsh, does not seem to lend itself to captaincy.”
You would find a number of people who would agree with you on the latter point, David Reynolds. As for the former, I think we should give the young man time to make enough runs to feel established as a Test batsman before considering higher honours. From my perspective, Pat Cummins is an excellent captaincy candidate once Paine finishes up, and would break the orthodoxy of Australia only ever giving the job to the best batsman rather than the best likely captain.
If you’d like a little more detail on the day’s play, and you’d also like to meet the very cute baby of my OBO colleague Adam Collins, here we are with Winnie Mae going through our daily wrap (while wearing a wrap).
Here is the wires report on yesterday’s play, for the basics.
Get in touch
Had a lot of good correspondence yesterday: people back at work and having a sneaky read, people still on holiday and enjoying that, people late at night on the other side of the world. Fire me off an email or a tweet via the contact details in the sidebar.
Good morning from sunny Brisbane. Sunny for now – there is some Bureau chatter about a thunderstorm late in the afternoon, but if that does happen they tend to blow through fairly quickly in this part of the world, so it doesn’t fill the cricket enthusiast with dread in the way that rain might in other parts of the world. The second day of the deciding Border-Gavaskar Trophy match is here. A lot on the line: the series result, the trophy destination, the respective teams’ ICC rankings and World Test Championship qualifications. Almost too much is on the line. Scale it back, you lot!
The day will start at an even position. Australia 274 for 5, with Tim Paine and Cameron Green to resume. India fielded what the ABC statto Ric Finlay ruled was the least experienced bowling attack (in terms of wickets taken) since England in 1880. Five bowlers with four Tests and 11 wickets between them. That goes up to 13 wickets if you count Rohit Sharma’s part-time spin. So they did well to have Australia 13 for 2 with Warner and Harris gone, and then 87 for 3 with Smith gone, but then things got away.
If wickets fall early today, Australia might be in some strife, so there’s a lot riding on this partnership of the captain after a hectic few days and the young all-rounder making his way.
Should be fun. It always is.