Congratulations India, and Ajinkya Rahane in particular. The series is better for being 1-1 with two to play.
We’ll be back to do this all again for the third Test – wherever that happens to be. The announcement has yet to be made whether we’re going back-to-back at the MCG or moving the caravan up to Sydney en route to Brisbane. There’s plenty of Big Bash to fill your cricketing cravings in the meantime, as well as the chance to digest some of Geoff Lemon’s finest.
Thanks for your company, we’ll catch you soon.
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Player of the match – Ajinkya Rahane
“I’m very proud of all the players,” Rahane said. “They played really well. I want to pay tribute to the debutants, Gill and Siraj, the way they showed character was really important going into this Test match – and unfortunately we lost Umesh in the second innings.
“We know Shubman, his first-class career – he batted really well and in this game he showed intent that he can play shots at this level and Siraj, he bowled with discipline. Sometimes you can get carried away but when guys play first-class cricket for four or five years and then come to Test cricket, they know what to do actually and it becomes really easy for the captain.”
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There’s been no shortage of tweets this series that have begun with those four words, followed by some degree of consternation.
Now Australia are posed with similar questions of their own. For what it’s worth, I’m with Rudi.
India win by 8 wickets
“My Ampleforth chum Dallers has offered me a chair in the Long Room for the 4th day of the ICC final in mid-2021,” emails David Griffiths. “NZ wouldn’t make it to a 4th day, I’m pretty sure – they just don’t have the batting moxie to compete; but India do and I am praying for an Indian win today, as seems assured. Please call it in Jon, so that I may take my seat at Lord’s, to watch the planet’s two premier sides.”
I wouldn’t write NZ off so fast. Kane Williamson is a superstar and one of five Kiwis in the top-25 of the ICC’s Test batting rankings. They’re in rare form right now too.
WICKET! Pujara c Green b Cummins 3 (India 19-2)
WICKET! Agarwal c Paine b Starc 5 (India 16-1)
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“Andy Zaltzman’s stats were mildly diverting,” emails Ben Mimmack, “until I realised Alex Tudor made his debut 22 years ago and now I just feel very very old.” I know, Tudor is one of the players immortalised in amber as an up-and-comer, such was his impressive start and subsequent injury-ravaged career. The disappointment was made worse because of how nice a guy he was/is and how he represented just about the last in an important line of black British fast bowlers.
“What’s the recommendation for the best Australian Test venue for an England fan to immerse themselves in the Ashes experience?” emails Mick Collins. For me, Adelaide then daylight. It’s a superb ground, a great city for a short break, and set up perfectly for a touring experience. Perth, Melbourne, Sydney, are all on a level in my opinion, with Brisbane a long way last. Sorry Queenslanders, I just don’t enjoy the Gabba.
Indeed he is, and enjoying a superb series, the likes of which touring offies are not supposed to have. I’ve been especially impressed with the patience and resilience of India’s attack as a whole in these opening couple of Tests, including debutant Mohammed Siraj, who looks a fine player.
India will need 70 to win
That’s the end of my time with you for this Test match. I’ll see you for the third, be it in Melbourne or Sydney or the Whitsunday Islands. For the fourth and final innings, and whatever twists it may bring, I will leave you with the lovely Jonathan Parfait Howcroft.
If you want something to keep you entertained during the break, I may be biased but I’d recommend this conversation with commentator Jim Maxwell about his life in cricket.
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WICKET! Hazlewood b Ashwin 10, Australia all out 200
That’s the end of it! Lovely bowling from Ashwin in the last over before the delayed break. He flights it up, loops it, turns it from about leg stump across the batsman. Hazlewood wants to reach the break and leaves the ball. But it doesn’t quite turn enough, and it clips the top of off stump on its way through.
If that were a DRS call, it would be not out.
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The lead is 65.
The lead is 62.
The lead is 59.
WICKET! Lyon c Pant b Siraj 3, Australia 185-9
Then from the last ball of the over we’re upstairs for another long DRS. Jadeja spears in at the pads and Starc tries to play across it to midwicket. It squeezes between bat onto pad and lobs up to slip. Umpire Reiffel gives it out immediately. Starc reviews with a shrug. The replay shows his bat hit his boot, while just missing the ball. He’s still at risk of lbw though, except the projection shows it missing leg stump! Starc survives double jeopardy.
The lead is 52.
The lead is 49.
WICKET! Green c Jadeja b Siraj 45, Australia 177-8
But the bed gets unmade from the last ball of the over. Short, about rib height, he pulls instinctively. It’s there for the shot. He gets a good piece of it, but hits it up rather than down, and Jadeja at midwicket gets off the ground to claim the catch above his head. Green throws back his own head in frustration. He can’t believe he didn’t nail that contact better. He’s played a gem, but needed it to shine for longer.
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