WICKET! Lyon b. Ashwin 5 (Australia 197-10)
A swing! A miss! Another wicket for India, their sixth in the last half-hour. Nathan Lyon was utterly undone by his nemesis Ravi Ashwin there. So that’s all she wrote. Australia all out for 197. Great fightback by India to take 6 for 11 but Australia still have a handy lead of 88 runs. Yet another twist in this epic Test!
WICKET! Murphy b. Yadav 0 (Australia 197-9)
Another one for Yadav who now has 3 for 12 from his four-and-half overs! Maybe Todd Murphy needs to go to Specsavers because he sure didn’t spot that one. Brilliant bowling by the big quick. He thundered in hard, speared the ball onto a length and sent the off picket flying.
76th over: Australia 196-8 (Murphy 0, Lyon 4) Australia have lost four wickets for 10 runs in 20 balls. They have their nose in front but it’s been cut off to spite their face. Sorry, this flurry of wickets is mangling my metaphors. Lyon will play his game no matter what, driving Umesh hard down the ground but good fielding by the bowler stops a certain boundary. He takes a single instead.
75th over: Australia 196-8 (Murphy 0, Lyon 4) Four wickets in 24 balls for India. And now it’s spinners to spinners as Ashwin fires in his firecrackers at Nathan Lyon and Todd Murphy. No runs off that over, plenty of drama though.
WICKET! Carey LBW Ashwin 3 (Australia 192-8)
Ashwin strikes again and this time it is Alex Carey gone, prodding forward with the pad and being caught inline. It’s been ten minutes of terror for Australia! But that’s what happens when the lead is the Devil’s Number of 87…
WICKET! Starc b. Yadav 1 (India 192-7)
Starc plays forward to Yadav’s straight ball, misses, and the off stump goes cartwheeling back. For once Starc didn’t go down swinging. But he did go. Australia on the slide!
74th over: Australia 196-7 (Carey 3, Lyon 4) Positive intent by Carey. He’s bustled his way to three from his first six balls. Wonder if a 50 strike rate is “Australian” enough for Matt Hayden? Here’s Mitchell Starc. Will he hit out or get out? Turns out the latter as Australia slump to 192-7. Nathan Lyon gets off the mark with an inside edge to the fine leg boundary, yet another reason they call him the GOAT.
73rd over: Australia 191-6 (Carey 2, Starc 1) India on the attack! Two newbies in Alex Carey and Mitchell Starc suddenly in the middle, the latter not famous for his patience at the crease. But with the lead heading toward triple-figures, Australia keep the scoreboard ticking over, taking three singles from the Ashwin over.
WICKET! Green LBW Yadav 21 (Australia 188-6)
Handy ball by the new bowler Umesh Yadav. Green went to work it to mid-on but missed it completely and it hit the back pad and caught him infront. The on field decision was OUT but replays showed it might’ve flown over the bails. Enough doubt to stick with the onfield decision.
72nd over: Australia 186-5 (Handscomb 19, Green 19) On the box, Matthew Hayden is giving Peter Handscomb some stick for scoring only 19 runs with a single boundary from his 98 balls. He’s gone so far as to call it “un-Australian”. Given what we’ve seen these past two Tests, there’d be plenty who’d applaud his patience and calm under pressure, Haydos. Trouble here for Green – he’s been struck on the back pad by Umesh Yadav. It’s OUT onfield but Australia are reviewing…
WICKET! Handscomb c. Shreyas b. Ashwin 19 (Australia 186-5)
Ashwin found his patch of magic dirt early in that over and exploited it beautifully. The final ball leapt again at Handscomb from that rough and he lunged forward and popped a catch to Shreyas at backward square leg. Big breakthrough for India but Handscomb’s 19 from 98 may yet prove crucial.
71st over: Australia 186-4 (Handscomb 19, Green 19) Aashwin goes POP! Is thi pitch coming alive? Ashwin’s second ball of the session hits the rough and explodes at Handscomb’s head. The boy from Box Hill stays calm though but Ashwin is on the attack here. Danger signs…
70th over: Australia 186-4 (Handscomb 19, Green 19) Green leans on Jadeja to tap a single to mid-on. Handscomb takes on too, taking one off his Dunlop Volleys to extra cover. The fifth ball catches the back strap of Green’s right leg and beats wicketkeeper Bharat running away for four byes. That will embitter the cardamom cordial for the home side at Drinks. Good first hour for Australia – they have added 30 from 16 overs and now lead by 77 runs.
69th over: Australia 180-4 (Handscomb 18, Green 18) Ashwin starts his over with 0-40 from 16 overs. Green adds another from the second delivery, skipping down to drive it to deep mid-on for a single. Field comes in for Handscomb but he’s getting low and stretching long to every ball, eyeing it onto the bat each time. Ravi Shastri is telling TV viewers this Indore pitch has “taken half a sleeping tablet overnight”. It must’ve taken a fistful of Viagra yesterday, Ravi.
68th over: Australia 179-4 (Handscomb 18, Green 17) Just the no-ball from this over as Ravi Ashwin warms up in the deep, desperately trying to get captain Sharma’s attention. He’s got it. Strap yourself in, folks.
67th over: Australia 178-4 (Handscomb 18, Green 17) Australia ever-so slowly turns the screws on India and their lead creeps to 70 runs.
66th over: Australia 178-4 (Handscomb 18, Green 17) Peter Handscomb has been a Rock for Australia all series. He hasn’t scored as many runs as he might’ve liked but his best innings have come at the right time. Jadeja has bowled 134 balls to Handscomb The Hat who has scored 57 runs against him (so far). No Australian batter has survived as many balls.
66th over: Australia 177-4 (Handscomb 17, Green 17) The Hat hits a four! It was fully-pitched by Jadeja and Handscomb drove at it firmly enough to get a glancing shot away past slip and all the way to the deep third man boundary. He turns the screw another notch with a single.
65th over: Australia 172-4 (Handscomb 12, Green 17) The Man in the White Hat saunters a single from Axar Patel’s first ball. This partnership between he and Green is worth 26 runs from 96 balls. Slow going, sure, but safe scoring too. It’s exactly what Australia need at the moment. Cool heads on a hot day.
64th over: Australia 171-4 (Handscomb 11, Green 17) He wears big strides and he takes big strides. Cam Green puts both to cunning effect against Jadeja as he hops one huge step down the pitch and takes an almighty swing to send Jadeja off the toe of the bat but safely bouncing it just inside the boundary rope. Four!
63rd over: Australia 167-4 (Handscomb 11, Green 13) Green sees out a maiden from Patel, the first scoreless over of his four so far in this innings. With his big white hat, bow-legged gait and (so far) holstered pistols Pete Handscomb reminds me of someone
62nd over: Australia 167-4 (Handscomb 11, Green 13) The arm wrestle continues as Jadeja wheels in to Handscomb who looks solid and calm but isn’t scoring much. How long will this natural-born stroke-player keep his powder dry? He’s got plenty of time to bat and Australia have plenty of batting to come so he coolly scampers a single from the last to retain strike to Patel.
61st over: Australia 166-4 (Handscomb 10, Green 13) Here comes Axar Patel, India’s third spinner but arguably its most promising. He’s been severely overshadowed by Ashwin and Jadeja so far this series though and this is just his 35th over. Green stabs a single from the third as Handscomb seeks to further infuriate India by donning a white floppy hat for this over. Lovely touch, Pete. He complements the look with an elegant clip to third man for a single.
60th over: Australia 164-4 (Handscomb 9, Green 12) Handscomb pummels a loose first ball from Jadeja but it can’t break the circle and yields only a single. Still, it brings his strike rate to 100 from the last two deliveries but 15 overall. It’s a frustrating stat for Jadeja who appeals madly for caught behind on the fourth. But he’s alone in the shout and India have no reviews left.
59th over: Australia 162-4 (Handscomb 8, Green 11) Another bouncer from Siraj! But you’ve got to hit the deck hard to steeple it to Cam Green’s two metre chin. This one he keeps his eye on and parries away easily to fine leg for a single. Handscomb is watchful again to Siraj, middling everything, scoring nothing… until he helps a wide one down leg side to the fine leg fielder. He has faced 52 balls for his eight runs and Australia’s lead is now 53.
58th over: Australia 160-4 (Handscomb 7, Green 10) Good duel here between Ravi Jadeja and Peter Handscomb. The latter has been wonderful on this tour, batting smart and batting long. Unlike most of his teammates, the 31-year-old Victorian has been to India before. He’s playing for an Ashes berth in this Test, happy to stay scoreless this morning and see out another maiden.
57th over: Australia 160-4 (Handscomb 7, Green 10) Supreme from Green! That’s his trademark shot – a big man leaning softly into a full-pitched delivery straying to off and sending it skidding across the turf to the boundary. That’s his first four and it’s a sweet one. Siraj shows his appreciation by bouncing him. Great bit of chin music too. Green ducked his head but kept his hands high and gets hit hard. Not sure it hit the injured finger of Green but it sowed a bad seed in his brain.
56th over: Australia 156-4 (Handscomb 7, Green 6) Here comes Ravi Jadeja who finally found his radar to yesterday to snare four wickets from his 24 overs (albeit for 63 runs). Handscomb is happy to meet the first four on the half volley, crouching low, seeing out a maiden.
55th over: Australia 156-4 (Handscomb 7, Green 6) Here we go, folks. Cameron Green standing tall (198cm to be precise) to the Hyderabad Express Mohammed Siraj. Green confidently comes forward to the first few, driving through the line with a straight bat and firm eye. But Siraj fields well off his bowling and the next shot to extra cover can’t pierce the inner-circle of fielders. Bit of a kerfuffle on the fifth as Green backs away very late, waving at something behind Siraj’s arm. Fast bowlers love that, Cam, just don’t ask him to remove his sweat bands!
But all the chuntering in the chat rooms of the cricketing netherworld is about this Six Demon Bag of a pitch served up at Indore. Darryl from South Africa emailed overnight with these sage words…
“The ICC must stop the prepping of both dustbowls and greentops. 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.”
After the world was thrilled to its marrow by New Zealand blowing up “Bazball” in their one-run win over England, the love for Test cricket is at an all-time high
For those who came in late… here’s how our own Geoff Lemon saw Day 1
Howdy cricket fans and welcome back to Indore for day two of the third Test between India and Australia in the 2023 Border-Gavaskar Trophy. I’m Angus Fontaine and I’ll be your benevolent Blogfather for the next few hours.
We’ve had some crazy days in this series but none crazier than yesterday – a wicket with the very first ball of the day, two in the first over – yet neither given out and neither reviewed. India flayed six boundaries from the next four overs and looked to be flying when the worm turned, then transformed into a cobra. From 27-0, India quickly slumped to 34-2, then 45-5 and finally 88-8. Ultimately, inside 150 minutes of mayhem, the home side were decimated for 109. The visitors then coolly carved out an unbeaten 156-4 – a 47 run lead worth its weight in gold, with six wickets still up their sleeve.
On a dirty, dusty pitch tailor-made for India’s spin kings, it was Nathan Lyon, Matthew Kuhnemann and Todd Murphy who were the day one destroyers. India’s batters collapsed just as abjectly as Australia’s had in Nagpur and Delhi. The difference was, this time the green caps batted smartly and patiently, banishing the sweep stakes that cost them in the last match, to take the upper hand.
Can they keep it? At Nagpur Australia fought their way back to get even, only to implode again. In Delhi, they got themselves in front before one of the most brainless and spineless collapses in history. Here, their top-order of Usman Khawaja (60), Marnus Labuschagne (31) and Steve Smith (26) have shown what it takes to survive and prosper. Can last established batter Peter Handscomb and returned allrounder Cameron Green ram home the advantage today?
Batten down hatches and buckle up britches. We’ll be underway shortly…