47th over: Australia 140-3 (Smith 20, Handscomb 3) Boundaries! A horrible drag down by Patel is given the full kablammie by Steve Smith, smashed over mid-wicket for a one bounce four. Next ball is glided by Señor Smudge to the fence at third. A single off the last too. India haven’t got their lengths right consistently enough on this wicket.
46th over: Australia 131-3 (Smith 11, Handscomb 3) Is that an edge? Yep. Smith gets a sharp snick to the keeper who can’t grab it, a fast chance but India need those to stick. Bharat has looked a bit uncomfortable behind the sticks today. Four singles are stolen off the over and the lead nudges up to 22 runs.
45th over: Australia 128-3 (Smith 9, Handscomb 1) We’ve got a handful of overs left in the day. Axar Patel is worked into the covers by Handscomb who gets off the mark. Smith is happy to defend the rest of the over.
44th over: Australia 126-3 (Smith 9, Handscomb 0) India burn their final review! That was never hitting the stumps but Jadeja is like a dog with a bone – he’s up there with Stuart Broad for flagrantly bad use of the DRS. Sharma was again coerced by his keeper and bowler and looks to be silently seething. That could be very costly on this surface, a tricky one for the umpires to get everything right.
44th over: Australia 126-3 (Smith 9, Handscomb 0) Smith drives with the spin to collect a single and bring Handscomb on strike. He’s kept honest by Axar and can’t get off the mark. India sensing this could be there time to get back into this Test match, the crowd adding some frisson to the end of this first day’s play.
43rd over: Australia 125-3 (Smith 8, Handscomb 0) Peter Handscomb is the new batter, he was having a kip under his hat about an hour ago, hope he’s woken up. He’s surrounded by fielders around the bat on both sides chirping away. That’d probably do the job.
Khawaja sweeps uppishly and finds Shubman Gill on the mid-wicket fence! India cock-a-hoop, Usman drags himself off the field not quite believing what he has done. The Australian lead is 16 runs.
42nd over: Australia 125-2 (Khawaja 60, Smith 8) Axar Patel offers width and Steve Smith gleefully accepts, driving to the extra-cover boundary for four.
41st over: Australia 121-2 (Khawaja 60, Smith 4) Jadeja once more, Smith turns to leg to pick up a single. Khawaja then steps away as Jadeja turns on his heels and attempts to bowl before the batter is fully ready. A better line from the left-arm spinner, he’s hitting as spot outside off and getting the ball to spit and slide. Five dots negotiated by Usman.
40th over: Australia 120-2 (Khawaja 60, Smith 3) Two more to the Aussie total and the lead stretches to ELEVEN.
Time for a drink.
39th over: Australia 118-2 (Khawaja 58, Smith 2) Jadeja continues, Khawaja showcases his low hands and solid technique. Just one wicket in the 17 overs post tea, Axar Patel is coming on to bowl to see if can flip those figures in India’s favour.
38th over: Australia 115-2 (Khawaja 55, Smith 2) Australia have batted very well to get themselves into the lead here. A reminder that this is what this pitch is capable of:
37th over: Australia 111-2 (Khawaja 54, Smith 1) Jadeja beats Smith on the outside, the ball nearly shaving off-stump on it’s way past. Smith gets off the mark with a push to mid-off. A clip to fine-leg brings Khawaja one more. Australia lead by two runs, the sun starting to cast longer shadows across the scorched Holkar turf.
36th over: Australia 109-2 (Khawaja 53, Smith 0) Siraj spoils a decent over by over-stepping with the last. The front foot incursion also means that the scores are level. Jadeja to Steve Smith incoming, don’t go anywhere.
The arm-ball does for Marnus! Jadeja skids one through and bowls him. Labuschagne played back when he maybe should have come forward. India break the partnership, Labuschagne trudges off, chewing his juicy fruit ruefully. Captain Steve Smith is the new batter and is kept honest by Jadeja.
35th over: Australia 108-2 (Khawaja 53, Smith 0)
34th over: Australia 107-1 (Khawaja 52, Labuschagne 31) Siraj bounds in, a spray down the leg side is followed up by a much better ball zeroing in on Marnus’ pads. An inside edge brings the batter a single. Well bowled! Siraj finds the outside edge but it doesn’t quite carry to Sharma in the slips.
33rd over: Australia 105-1 (Khawaja 51, Labuschagne 30) A maiden but with a little grit in the oyster as a leg-bye is scampered. Siraj is coming onto bowl, India yearning for a breakthrough – can the indomitable seamer provide it?
32nd over: Australia 104-1 (Khawaja 51, Labuschagne 30) Labuschagne does well to dig out a fuller ball and pushes the fielder in the deep for two runs. A single to square leg folllows. Excellent batting, this pair have negotiated this pitch and taken the sting out of India.
31st over: Australia 100-1 (Khawaja 50, Labuschagne 27) Tidy from Jadeja but no breakthrough. A maiden and a hello to Steve Wheeler.
“Bit confused as to why Kuhnemann was described as an “offie” earlier when he’s a left armer. Somewhat unfairly perhaps spin is normally referenced by the perception of a right handed batter. Thus Murphy and Lyon are offies. ( From a left hand perspective, Warne would have been an offie, but, of course, was described as a leggie due to basic delivery leaving the right hander!). Kuhnemann appears to be a finger spinner ( if right handed, an offie ) but is left handed, therefore really a leggie, although normally referred to as a leftie.”
Too much for me this morning Steve, may as well be a riddle wrapped in an enigma. I’ve read it through three times and am still staring blankly. Still, good to have you with us!
30th over: Australia 100-1 (Khawaja 50, Labuschagne 27) FIFTY to Usman Khawaja! He’s been Australia’s best batter on this tour. A clip through cover brings up his half-century and a drive to mid-on takes Australia to 100. The deficit is only nine runs now.
29th over: Australia 96-1 (Khawaja 47, Labuschagne 26) India have been more consistent and thus more threatening since tea. Aswhin sends down a maiden. Simmering away, something’s gonna give.
28th over: Australia 95-1 (Khawaja 47, Labuschagne 26) Chance! Tough chance. Ashwin throws his hands in the air as a poke from Labuschagne flies into Bharat’s wicketkeeping pad and sails over Virat Kohli at slip. The ball running away for four runs too.
Marnus’ luck continues.
27th over: Australia 90-1 (Khawaja 46, Labuschagne 22) A tricksy maiden from Jadeja and his most probing over yet. He gets grip and turn past the outside edge but crucially no tickle from Marnus’ blade.
26th over: Australia 89-1 (Khawaja 46, Labuschagne 22) Ashwin replaces Yadav, who must wonder why he bothered lacing up his bowling boots. Khawaja sweeps powerfully to the boundary rider to collect a single. Labuschagne has been more circumspect than his partner, he punches off the back foot to take a single. Too easy.
25th over: Australia 88-1 (Khawaja 45, Labuschagne 21) This pair have worked the ball into the gaps majestically, the partnership ticks into the 70s. Jadeja twirls and is milked for singles. Ooof! Just when you think batting is getting easy the pitch throws up a spitting cobra of a delivery, Labuschagne does well to play down the line and miss the ragging ball.
24th over: Australia 84-1 (Khawaja 43, Labuschagne 19) Yadav bustles in to start his spell post-tea. Marnus is a study in defence but then seizes on a shorter ball to gide past gully for two.
23rd over: Australia 81-1 (Khawaja 43, Labuschagne 16) Now then! First ball after tea from Jadeja is too short and Khawaja laces it away behind point for four. A dot is followed by a delicious reverse sweep for four more! The home fans fall eerily silent as the ball thuds into the advertising hoardings. Australia ticking along at 3.5 runs an over, India haven’t been accurate enough with their bowling, relying too much on the pitch to do the work?
The Indian players gather in a huddle at the boundary edge, Rohit Sharma has some choice words. They need wickets, and quickly, to get back into this game. “Maaaaassive Session” drawls Matthew Hayden on my TV. Settled in? Comfortable? Let’s play!
Good morning to Guy Hornsby!
“Morning James. Quite the morning with two Tests and an ODI making us cricket fans wonder where to look first.”
Cricket never stops eh, everything, everywhere… all at once.
“Even as an England fan, this is the place to be. The game is accelerating so fast that you’d be amazed if it’s still going at Tea tomorrow. I’m not sure how great an advert this is for the game, and while all the talk is of the wicket, you have to feel for poor Richard Kettleborough. I bet he dare not even go to the loo.”
22nd over: Australia 71-1 (Khawaja 33, Labuschagne 16) Australia make it to tea with 71 runs on the board and, amazingly, only one wicket down. Umesh Yadav comes on for a solitary over before the break and looks a bit creaky, a short ball is easily pulled away for a single by Khawaja. Another session won by the visitors, their snacks will taste sweetest. Right, to coffee! Back soon.
21st over: Australia 70-1 (Khawaja 32, Labuschagne 16) Lovely shot from Khawaja! He opens the face to glide Jadeja away through point for four. Four more! JAdeja fires one in down the leg side and it takes off from the rough, sliding away for four byes. Fifty partnership between Marnus and Usman, they’ve steadied the ship and are now cruising.
20th over: Australia 60-1 (Khawaja 27, Labuschagne 15) Khawaja is as cool as a kumquat, he always looks so relaxed at the crease. He uses the full depth of his crease to rock back and cut Axar through point, the batters scamper back for two. Problems for India as this partnership approaches fifty.
19th over: Australia 58-1 (Khawaja 25, Labuschagne 15) Jadeja replaces Ashwin for another warp speed over, just a single from it.
18th over: Australia 56-1 (Khawaja 25, Labuschagne 14) Usman Khawaja unfurls a controlled drive into the gap at extra cover to pick up two runs.
“Hey Jim, it is Farhan again. I hope your fingers are doing okay this morning. Looks like you signed up for another tough day with so much action ongoing at Indore”
It’s a tough gig but someone has to do it Farhan. Thanks for enquiring after my digits, they have recovered but not sure my noggin has – OBOing the unbelievable finish of New Zealand v England at Welllington a day ago was a wild ride.
“This test match appears to be just as slapstick as much as the
yesterday’s was brilliant. The pitch seemed to be rotten while the Indians were batting, but the Aussies seem to be negotiating this rather well. Also, Labushagne
seems to be enjoying his luck, just as usual.”
17th over: Australia 54-1 (Khawaja 23, Labuschagne 14) Ashwin is worked for a couple of singles. Ravi Shastri on comms wants India to mix it up and bring a seamer on to see if they can get the breakthrough. The fact India might have to consider reverting to seam on this pitch is testament to how well the Aussies are playing here.
16th over: Australia 52-1 (Khawaja 22, Labuschagne 13) Three precious runs from the over and Australia bring up their fifty. They are grabbing hold of this Test match.
15th over: Australia 49-1 (Khawaja 20, Labuschagne 9) Marnus hangs back and nudges through mid-wicket for a single. The over rate is an OBO scribes worst nightmare. Whoosh and they are gone and into the next. Keyser Soze overs, if you will.
14th over: Australia 48-1 (Khawaja 20, Labuschagne 11) Shot! Axar Patel over pitches – Khawaja is onto it in a flash – lacing through cover to pick up four runs. India are striving a bit too hard to take wickets but runs are crucial here, If Australia can get any sort of lead on this surface then it could be terminal for the home side.
13th over: Australia 43-1 (Khawaja 16, Labuschagne 10) This pair doing a sterling job for Australia, watchful and working the singles. The run rate is ticking at a decent lick.
12th over: Australia 40-1 (Khawaja 15, Labuschagne 8) Jadeja rattles through another over, Khawaja picks up a single with a nurdle to leg.
“Morning from South Africa, James.”
Back atcha from London, Daryl Accone.
‘The ICC must stop the prepping of both dustbowls and greentops. A friend of mine in the UK, Tim Kett, believes the only way to minimise the lopsidedness of home-ground preparation and the importance of winning the toss is to abolish the latter by allowing the visiting team to choose whether to bat or bowl. That would certainly stop this devious pitch-preparation nonsense. I am shocked by what India has done with pitches for this series but … Live by the dustbowl, die by it too.”
I actually didn’t think the other two surfaces in this series were worth all the noise about them but this one will definitely be put under scrutiny by the ICC bods. M’colleague Tanya Aldred wrote a piece a while back on the thorny issue of abolishing the toss:
11th over: Australia 39-1 (Khawaja 14, Labuschagne 7) Ashwin sends down five probing dots and gets one to straighten into Labuschagne. Big appeal but deemed not out by the umpire. Rohit shakes his head… he’s not being coerced into another spurious review… but the replay shows it would have been OUT! The crowd see this on the big screen and Sharma offers up a wry chuckle. Costly use of the DRS by the home side.
10th over: Australia 38-1 (Khawaja 15, Labuschagne 7) Just as I was about to type that Australia are doing well here, picking off singles and scampering twos… there’s Big turn! Jadeja spits one back into Khawaja’s back leg and he likes it. Sharma has his arm twisted into the review… NOT OUT! India lose their second review – the ball was spinning so much it was missing leg-stump. Good decision by Umpire Joel Wilson. Sharma looks a little irked by his over-zealous bowler. Australia are doing well here.
9th over: Australia 35-1 (Khawaja 14, Labuschagne 4) Aswhin fires one down the leg side and keeper Bharat can’t do much with that, the ball runs away for four precious byes. A single to Labuschagne make it five from the over.
8th over: Australia 30-1 (Khawaja 14, Labuschagne 4) You know that bit in Indiana Jones where Harrison Ford drops a torch into a hole and it is full of snakes? This pitch is basically that. Aptly the camera cuts to Peter Handscomb having a snooze, under a cap rather than a fedora.
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