And here’s Geoff Lemon’s account of an intriguing day three in Perth:
Stumps: Australia lead by 175
Australia end the day on top, with a healthy lead on a capricious pitch, but they had to work seriously hard. Virat Kohli threatened to give India a first-innings lead with a masterful hundred; his controversial dismissal, to a low catch from Peter Handscomb, sparked a collapse from 251 for five to 283 all out.
The Australian batsmen built on their first innings lead of 43 either side of tea, withstanding some ferocious bowling from Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami in particular. Aaron Finch went to hospital with what looked like a broken finger, Marcus Harris was smacked on the helmet, and a number of batsmen were hit painfully on the glove.
Usman Khawaja held things together with an unobtrusive 41 not out. Most of the Australian batsmen were out to ill-conceived shots, a consequence of the relentless pressure applied by this superb Indian attack. It’s been a great day, and tomorrow could be even better. Thanks for your company, bye!
48th over: Australia 132-4 (Khawaja 41, Paine 8) Paine survives a huge appeal for a catch down the leg side off Sharma, who returned for one last over before the close. Kohli decides not to review and replays confirm it hit only the pad. Paine wastes enough time to ensure that’s the final over of a classic day’s play.
47th over: Australia 131-4 (Khawaja 41, Paine 7) Umesh Yadav replaces Mohammed Shami and draws an edge from Khawaja which lands short of gully. Yadav should have time for one more over.
46th over: Australia 130-4 (Khawaja 41, Paine 6) Vihari continues to bowl wide of off stump, trying to lure the batsmen into something regrettable - and it nearly works! Khawaja, having ignored Vihari for so long, flashed outside off stump and edged a cut that went straight through Rahane at slip. He was beaten for pace and couldn’t get a hand on it as he moved to his left. It raced away for four.
45th over: Australia 126-4 (Khawaja 37, Paine 6) That’s a nice shot from Tim Paine, who steers Shami through backward point for four. An affronted Shami responds with a vicious rib-tickler that Paine does well to avoid. Shami has bowled marvellously today - and he still hasn’t been the pick of the bowlers. Bumrah was off the scale.
44th over: Australia 122-4 (Khawaja 37, Paine 2) Vihari races through another one, just a single from it.
43rd over: Australia 121-4 (Khawaja 37, Paine 1) Khawaja, caught in two minds, is hit on the glove by another immaculate short ball from Shami. Australia’s batsmen have been peppered today - Finch is in hospital, Harris was flattened and most of the other batsmen have worn at least one delivery on the gloves.
42nd over: Australia 121-4 (Khawaja 37, Paine 1) In case you missed it, Aaron Finch is in hospital, having X-rays on his right index finger. I suspect he’ll bat tomorrow, but only at No11.
Vihari continues, possibly with the over-rate in mind, though I don’t know why you’d care about that at such a criticial juncture. That said, he almost grabs a bonus wicket when Paine drags the ball just past his off stump. Another maiden from Vihari, his fourth in six overs.
41st over: Australia 121-4 (Khawaja 37, Paine 1) That was not the smartest bit of batting from Travis Head, who was caught at third man in the first innings as well. Tim Paine, the new batsman, wears a beautiful short ball from Shami on the glove. Australia lead by 164 in this wonderful Test match.
WICKET! Australia 120-4 (Head c Sharma b Shami 19)
Travis Head walks straight into the trap. For the second time in this session, a bowling change has brought a first-ball wicket. Head slashed at a short ball from the new bowler Mohammed Shami; it flew off the top edge to third man, where Ishant Sharma took a very good catch.
40th over: Australia 120-3 (Khawaja 37, Head 19) Vihari is milked for four singles in his fifth over. I’m surprised Kohli has kept him on quite so long.
39th over: Australia 116-3 (Khawaja 35, Head 17) Khawaja drives Bumrah for three, helped by a misfield from Pujara, and then Head flashes loosely at a wide one. This is a vital half hour before the close. If Australia are three down - four if you count the wounded Finch - they will be healthy favourites.
“Anyone else feel like the boundary camera view makes them want to vomit?” asks Grif. “It’s like sea sickness but on a cricket pitch.”
It wasn’t built for hangovers, that’s for sure.
38th over: Australia 113-3 (Khawaja 32, Head 17) Apologies - we’ve been having a few technical problems, though you haevn’t missed too much. Bumrah beat Khawaja outside off in his second over, while at the other end Vihari is trying to tempt Head into a loose stroke outside off stump. His figures are 4-3-2-0.
35th over: Australia 110-3 (Khawaja 30, Head 16) Bumrah, back for one last burst before the close, beats Head twice outside off stump. Make that thrice. This man is a glorious bowler.
“Morning Rob,” says Grif. “Another absorbing day of Test cricket, it’s been superb. We all knew the Indian team could bat well in home conditions, but they’ve shown some good application and talent this series, and by ‘eck can they bowl. They’re showing that they’re a handful wherever they play, had Kohli had more support in the summer then the series against England might have worked out differently. Australia clearly a side in transition and short of a couple of top order batters, but this makes for a great spectacle.”
Amen to that.
34th over: Australia 110-3 (Khawaja 30, Head 16) Another uneventful over from Vihari, a maien to Khawaja.
33rd over: Australia 110-3 (Khawaja 30, Head 16) Another terrific over from Yadav. Khawaja is beaten, thick edges for four and then skies an attempted pull that bisects the keeper Pant and the man running in from deep square leg.
32nd over: Australia 105-3 (Khawaja 25, Head 16) The offspinner Hanuma Vihari comes on for the first time in this innings. It’s worth a look, given the success he and Lyon have had so far, and he starts with a low-key maiden.
31st over: Australia 105-3 (Khawaja 25, Head 16) Head is beaten, driving extravagantly at a full-length tempter from Yadav, and then slashes a cut stroke just over gully for four. Yadav completes a fine over, his best of the innings by a mile, with a ball that keeps low and just misses Khawaja’s off stump. This is so good.
30th over: Australia 100-3 (Khawaja 25, Head 11) It might be time to have a look at Vihari, especially with Yadav struggling. India won’t want Australia to get more than 200 in this second innings.
29th over: Australia 98-3 (Khawaja 23, Head 11) Umesh Yadav has been the weakest of the Indian bowlers, and Head works him for a pair of twos to move into double figures. Yadav is going at almost a run a ball, which has released some of the pressure applied by the other fast bowlers. Australia lead by 141.
28th over: Australia 94-3 (Khawaja 23, Head 7) Head has started calmly, unlike one or two of those who came before him. Khawaja has also quietly played an important innings, ignoring the mayhem at the other end.
27th over: Australia 91-3 (Khawaja 23, Head 4)
26th over: Australia 89-3 (Khawaja 21, Head 4) Travis Head gets off the mark with a boundary through extra cover, aided by a silly bit of fielding from Bumrah, who had his foot needlessly on the rope when he picked the ball up.
This is marvellous stuff, a pleasure to watch. I would still make Australia slight favourites but it’s desperately tight. And Virat Kohli knows that, as things stand, another epic from him could put India on the brink of a first ever series win in Australia. Now that would be a legacy.
WICKET! Australia 85-3 (Handscomb LBW b Sharma 13)
Another bowling change brings a wicket! Ishant Sharma strikes with his first ball, a lovely full-length delivery that traps Handscomb absolutely plumb in front. It was a desperate stroke from Handscomb, who groped from the crease and missed the ball by a mile.
25th over: Australia 85-2 (Khawaja 21, Handscomb 13) Umesh Yadav replaces the excellent Mohammed Shami and beats Handscomb, who plays back when he should have been forward. Handscomb has apparently decided to get his runs quickly; he top-edges a pull that lands safely and runs away for four. Australia’s lead is a useful 128.
24th over: Australia 80-2 (Khawaja 21, Handscomb 8) Khawaja is beaten by a laughably unplayable delivery from Bumrah, which seams and lifts spectacularly, before touching the next ball off the pads for four. It was close to the diving Pant but he it would have been an outrageous catch.
23rd over: Australia 74-2 (Khawaja 15, Handscomb 8) There’s been no more news on Aaron Finch, but it’s probably fair to say Australia are effectively three down. Handscomb, who has started aggressively, flashes Shami over the slips for four.
22nd over: Australia 69-2 (Khawaja 14, Handscomb 4) Handscomb gets off the mark by clipping Bumrah to fine leg for four. Kohli has been almost as compelling as the cricket since tea. He’s conducting the Indian supporters, growling encouragement at his bowlers and, when India take a wicket, celebrating like it’s the most important wicket ever taken.
21st over: Australia 64-2 (Khawaja 13, Handscomb 0) “Bumrah hasn’t yet played a Test in India yet,” says Digvijay Yadav. “He’d be unplayable on some of those up and down pitches. And as far as Tests this year go, and how tough it’s been to bat, I think that’s what will really define Kohli’s legacy when we all look back.”
Yes, he’s averaging nearly 55 across three series on lively pitches in South Africa, England and Australia, which is exceptional. But I don’t think 2018 will mean much to him unless India win this series.
WICKET! Australia 64-2 (Marsh c Pant b Shami 5)
Marsh, fencing outside off stump, edges Shami over gully for four - but he’s gone now! He tried to pull a short one and underedged it through to Pant, an ill-conceived stroke to end a very jittery innings. India are right back in this game now.
20th over: Australia 60-1 (Khawaja 13, Marsh 1) Shaun Marsh works a single to get off the mark - and to temporarily escape an interrogation from Bumrah. Now it’s Khawaja’s turn, and he is struck on the phallus by another unpleasant delivery. He takes a little while to get his breath back before seeing off the rest of the over. Bumrah is bowling majestically.
19th over: Australia 59-1 (Khawaja 13, Marsh 0) This is the game, right here. India know they need two more wickets during this spell from Bumrah and Shami. As Michael Vaughan says on commentary, this has been a classic year of Test cricket, the best in yonks, and the primary reason for that is the competitive nature of the pitches. This thing of ours is infinitely better when an average score is 250-300.
18th over: Australia 59-1 (Khawaja 13, Marsh 0) Bumrah fizzes a superb delivery past the new batsman Shaun Marsh, and then raps him on the pad with a ball that would have cleared the stumps. This guy has been a sensational addition to India’s Test side in 2018.
WICKET! Australia 59-1 (Harris b Bumrah 20)
Jasprit Bumrah strikes with the second ball of a new spell! Harris offered no stroke to a ball that was angled in from around the wicket and just trimmed the off bail. I think Harris was leaving on length rather than line; either way it was a misjudgement and he has gone.
17th over: Australia 57-0 (Harris 18, Khawaja 13) Khawaja has started positively and times Shami off the pads for two more to take the lead into three figures. Shami then beats him with a stunning delivery which straightens and bursts past the outside edge. I’m not sure anyone in world cricket beats the bat more than Shami.
16th over: Australia 54-0 (Harris 17, Khawaja 11) After one boundary in 212 balls all series, Khawaja gets two in two balls off Yadav. The first was a thick edge along the ground, the second a wristy flick through backward square leg. It’s been a bruising afternoon for Australia but they have put themselves in a fine position. They lead by 97.
15th over: Australia 44-0 (Harris 17, Khawaja 1) A full delivery from Shami is timed deliciously down the ground by Harris. That’s his second boundary, and a quite beautiful shot... which he follows with two loose strokes outside off stump. Shami appealed for caught behind off the second but Chris Gaffaney said not out and India did not review. Replays suggest it missed the edge.
14th over: Australia 40-0 (Harris 13, Khawaja 1) Umesh Yadav comes into the attack, replacing the marvellous Jasprit Bumrah (6-4-7-0), and Harris slams a cut wide of backward point for four. Shot! He played that with a real flourish outside off stump.
13th over: Australia 33-0 (Harris 7, Khawaja 0) Usman Khawaja is the new batsman. He has struggled in this series, with 41 runs and only one boundary in 205 deliveries, and Shami greets him with an excellent bouncer that zips past his shoulder. India are all over Australia at the moment, and later in the over Khawaja is beaten outside off stump. This is brilliant stuff.
FINCH RETIRES HURT (Australia 33-0)
Aaron Finch is on the way to hospital for an X-ray, so he won’t be batting again today, and might be out of the series.
Thanks Adam, evening everyone. There’s nothing quite like a Perth Test, and this has been an absolute gem. Australia are on top, leading by 76, but you wouldn’t know it from the working over that Aaron Finch and Marcus Harris received before tea. It was blistering stuff and culminated in the delivery from Mohammed Shami that may have broken Finch’s finger. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, but this is a huge session coming up.
TEA! FINCH RETIRES HURT! Australia 33-0 (Harris 7, Finch 25)
Shami jags one off the seam from the first ball of the final over before tea, crashing into Finch’s right hand. The opener immediately throws the bat down and calls for assistance. It doesn’t take the medical staff long to assess that he has to retire hurt. Judging by the television pictures, it is the right index finger causing him the pain. Tea is called as a result.
With that bit of drama, a frenetic hour at the crease ends for Australia. Somehow, they have not lost a wicket. The one genuine chance came when Harris edged Ishant to Pujara but the slipper couldn’t hold on with his right hand. Either side of that, there were several appeals from Kohli and co but none were given the nod from the umpire or sent upstairs.
Righto, that’s my cue to hand over to Rob Smyth to take the OBO through to the close on this action-packed third day with Australia leading by 76 runs after finishing India off for 283. Bye for now!
12th over: Australia 33-0 (Harris 7, Finch 25) Bumrah has been brilliant so Kohli gives him one more chance to complete the spell with a wicket. Again, he’s so close with the first ball, beating Harris with one that straightens. The opener’s soft hands are required later in the set when the edge is found but he’s made it through. Bumrah is outstanding. No caveat.
11th over: Australia 33-0 (Harris 7, Finch 25) Shami gets his chance from the northern end and Harris off strike immediately with a tickle behind square. Up go the cordon for a leg before shout against Finch... turned down. No review. Harris defends the rest. Not a lot of movement for India’s swing ace. Are Australia out the other side of this challenging early period? There will probably be two more overs before the tea break.
10th over: Australia 30-0 (Harris 5, Finch 25) Bumrah is so close to locating that Harris edge again, missing by the proverbial coat or varnish with the first ball of his fresh over. He’s off strike from the penultimate ball, giving Finch one chance, and he uses it to crunsh a third boundary in two overs with a drive on the up through cover. Nice. The lead is 73.
9th over: Australia 25-0 (Harris 4, Finch 21) Much better from Finch, into the 20s with a pair of commanding boundaries. The first is a classical shot from the Victorian, leaning into a drive just in front of point. When Ishant went upstairs in response, he was up to that too, pulling to the square leg rope. Sure enough, the Indian quick reponds with an effort ball that beats the outside edge. What a contest we have ahead of tea.
8th over: Australia 17-0 (Harris 4, Finch 13) Before copping the whack, Harris was leaving and defending confidently enough, also shouldering arms to the one delivery left after the lid was replaced and he was confirmed as fit to continue. That’s Bumrah’s third maiden in four overs.
We have a delay, Harris hit on the badge of the hetmet by Bumrah. He’s straight back onto his feet but they are going through the formal process with the medics before replacing his helmet and letting him continue.
7th over: Australia 17-0 (Harris 4, Finch 13) Finch nearly strangled! It’s not a good delivery from Ishant so the opener gets inside to pull, but the ball gets big on him and he doesn’t get much on it, nearly reached by the wicketkeeper Pant. Instead, the Victorian is into double figures. Just.
6th over: Australia 13-0 (Harris 4, Finch 9) Bumrah to Harris, is in better shape against Bumrah this time around, deflecting a couple along the carpet behind point to keep the board ticking over.
“Top fossicking from Ian Forth,” writes OBO regular Brian Withington. “Would it be too cruel to suspect that the identified England fin de millennium lower order would have also held the record for the worst difference between bowling and batting average?” The floor is yours.
5th over: Australia 11-0 (Harris 2, Finch 9) This time the edge is clear but it is DROPPED at first slip by Pujara. Harris gets the life off the brilliant bowling of Ishant, the catcher moving to his right behind the ‘keeper Pant but unable to drag it in with his right hand. This is dramatic Test cricket. Finch, trying to work his way into this innings after a couple of close calls, tucks a couple to fine leg from the middle of the bat, which will feel good.
4th over: Australia 7-0 (Harris 1, Finch 6) They’re up again! Kohli is insistent that Harris has edged a ball that has missed his blade by a bat-width or more. The Indian captain is overheating out there, gesticulating after every delivery. “It Harris does get an edge to third slip it will hit him in the face,” Mel Jones observes on SEN. “He’s basically running in with Bumrah as he delivers it.” Gerard Whateley says it reminds him of the way that Kohli presented in Bangalore last year. Bumrah is starting just as he did at Southampton, bowling fast and making life very difficult for the left-hander with this angle. Harris fights his way through it. Maiden.
3rd over: Australia 7-0 (Harris 1, Finch 6) Ishant is well in the game with Finch and he knows about it, as does Pant behind the stumps who is chatting after every ball, particularly loud when ball beats bat from the third offering. The Victorian keeps his cool, getting off the mark with a couple to cover but Ishant is back in business from the next ball, finding an edge that would have wound up in the hands of fourth slip! Four runs are added instead. The drama isn’t over, a huge appeal from Kohli and Pant after the last ball, up for caught behind. Technology shows that it missed the edge, a gorgeous delivery kissing the back flap of Finch’s pad. India don’t send it upstairs to blow their review. Phew!
2nd over: Australia 1-0 (Harris 1, Finch 0) Bumrah’s turn, who has saved his least effective spells in this series for the start of each innings. He’s right on the mark early here, Harris defending and leaving close to his off-stump, then beaten by the final offering that straightened nicely.
1st over: Australia 1-0 (Harris 1, Finch 0) I wonder whether Ishant and co knew it was a hat-trick ball? It was straight, Harris pushing to midwicket to get off the mark first up. Finch’s turn and he’s beaten by an early ripper from the Indian number one. To be fair, he had to play at it.
“Just been doing some light statistical fossicking,” reports Ian Forth. “While the test averages of India’s 7-11 add up to 69, that is riches beyond imagination compared to the 7-11 England fielded in the summer of 1999. Irani, Caddick, Mullally, Tufnell and Giddins’ averages added up to a daunting 39, with the last three named going at 5,5 and 2. As has been well said, England went into those tests with four number 12s.”
I’ve heard Tuffers talk about this before; I think he got up to no. 9!
The players are back on the field! Marcus Harris and Aaron Finch are in the middle ready to build Australia’s lead of 43. Ishant has the ball in his hand, ready to race away from us at the northern end. And remember that he is on a hat-trick after cleaning up the tail yesterday. PLAY!
Lyon took five of the seven wickets to fall today. Perth is a city he has traditionally struggled in but he bowled superbly here at the new stadium, especially against Kohli both yesterday and today.
INDIA 283 ALL-OUT! WICKET! Bumrah c Khawaja b Lyon 4.
After smashing Lyon back over his head, Bumrah edges the next ball to Khawaja at slip to give him yet another five-wicket bag. India lost their last six wickets for 60, Australia banking a 43-run lead on the first innings.
WICKET! Pant c Starc b Lyon 36 (India 279-9)
The handy stand of 25 comes to an end, Pant trying to drag Lyon over the long-on fence but falling well short, Starc taking the chance in the deep. Lyon has four, all of those coming today. Well earned.
105th over: India 279-8 (Pant 36, Umesh 4) Starc gets two chances at Umesh, neither of which can get through his defence. Pant is happy enough taking the singles to the sweepers when the ball is in his half, grabbing a couple more along the way. The wicketkeeper is back on strike for Lyon. Surely he’ll try and take him down.
104th over: India 276-8 (Pant 34, Umesh 3) Pant takes the single on offer down the ground from Lyon’s first ball; he has no interest in the strike-milking caper. Umesh is doing his best, defending a couple, beaten by one but still there at the end of the over, Pant back on strike for Starc.
103rd over: India 275-8 (Pant 33, Umesh 3) Starc is going to make life as difficult as possible for Umesh, who wants nothing to do with the first ball on the line of his body. The Indian no. 10 makes good enough contact to the next ball in that diretion to get off strike. Well done. With every fielder on the rope, Pant gets a couple to the sweeper at cover and another down the ground for one, leaving Umesh one to see out. He sets up for the fast yorker and he is right, getting the bat down just in time. Played!
Cracker of a finish coming up in the WBBL if you have a second screen.
102nd over: India 271-8 (Pant 30, Umesh 2) It is party time for Pant. Surely mindful of the damage Starc can do at the other end, Rishabh heaves Lyon’s first ball across the line for four, pausing for one delivery before smacking him over his head into the middle deck of the Justin Langer Stand for SIX! Sadly, he puts it away and defends the rest. For now.
101st over: India 261-8 (Pant 20, Umesh 2) Yep, Starc it is. Pant takes a single off the first ball to expose Umesh to the left-arm slinger. He survives the short stuff, the straight stuff then the yorker. Fair play to him. That final delivery aimed at the stumps was clocked at 151kph.
100th over: India 260-8 (Pant 19, Umesh 2) Umesh looks far more at home than Shami and Ishant, getting forward to Lyon by default. Maiden.
99th over: India 260-8 (Pant 19, Umesh 2) Cummins is directing well wide of the off-stump in an effort to prompt a false stroke. It almost works, Pant edging over backward point to the sweeper, getting back for two courtesy of an overthrow from the deep. Cummins finishes the over in that wide channel, the Indian southpaw unable to get bat to is. Good cricket from Cummins, doing his bit to get Umesh back on strike for Lyon.
Check this out and watch it 1000 times in a row, as I am between balls.
98th over: India 258-8 (Pant 17, Umesh 2) Oooh, Lyon nearly gets his third in a hurry, beating Umesh then clearing the stumps by a centimetre. He gets out of the frying pan with a sweep, Pant also taking a single to midwicket to ensure that he will be dealing with Cummins next up.
97th over: India 256-8 (Pant 16, Umesh 1) That’s a dropped chance from Cummins in his follow through, off Pant who smashed it back at him in his follow through. He’s off strike halfway through the set with a cut to point, Umesh giving the strike back with a shovel off his hip. The field spreads for the final two deliveries in an effort to protect the boundary rather than worrying if he keeps the strike, but the Indian wicketkeeper can’t get either ball away.
96th over: India 254-8 (Pant 15, Umesh 0) Umesh defends the rest of Lyon’s second successful over on the bounce. Solid enough to begin.
WICKET! Ishant c & b Lyon 1 (India 254-8)
After retaining the strike - in hindsight, probably not a very good idea - Ishant prods the second ball of Lyon’s new over back to the spinner in his follow through, taking the chance to his left. He has a wonderful record of claiming catches off his own bowling - he wasn’t putting that down.
95th over: India 254-7 (Pant 15, Ishant 1) Andrew Samson notes on SEN that Ishant has fallen on 28 occasions in Tests without scoring, including ten times against Australia. He’s back down the business end after one ball in Cummins’ new set, Pant cutting the first ball to point. Sheeeesh! Ishant hit! He turned his back on a Cummins off-cutter that hit him square on the bum. Could have been worse, I guess. The Aussie quick squares him up next ball but it spills back down the track. He’s then off the mark with an awkward tuck behind square. Nicely negotiated.
94th over: India 252-7 (Pant 14, Ishant 0) Ishant gets forward three times but to the final delivery he is trapped on the crease, Lyon beating both the edge then the top of off both by less than an inch. He bowled beautifully today and still has five on the shelf if he can clean up the tail.
The players are back on the field! Nathan Lyon has four balls remaining in his successful over, picking up Shami for a golden duck to bring lunch. The new man is Ishant, joining Pant (14). PLAY!
Whoa, I missed this. The CEO of the WACA, Christina Matthews, had a massive crack at Cricket Australia in an interview with SEN before play. Here is my colleague Michael Ramsey’s yarn from AAP.
WACA chief Christina Matthews has launched an extraordinary broadside at Cricket Australia (CA), blaming poor ticket sales for the inaugural Test at Perth Stadium on the organisation’s handling of the ball-tampering scandal.
Ticket sales have been disappointing for the second Test against India with the new 60,000-capacity stadium and an enthralling series failing to bring punters through the gates.
Just 20,746 fans attended on Friday and 19,042 on Saturday - well down on the 35,000 opening-day crowd the WACA had initially hoped to attract.
A similar crowd is expected on Sunday’s third day.
Matthews, who interviewed unsuccessfully to replace James Sutherland in CA’s top job, says cricket’s governing body should have foreseen the fallout from the ball-tampering scandal and the subsequent cultural reviews.
“I think Australian cricket as an entity is on the nose and a little bit of trust has been lost,” Matthews told SEN radio on Sunday.
“Certain things happen ... and you’ve got to work a lot harder than you might have had to to get them all back.
“What happened in South Africa was kind of an insult to everybody and how they feel about the game.
“We follow that up a few months later with the culture review and, let’s say, the lack of foresight on Cricket Australia’s part to see how the public were going to react to that.
“You kind of live and learn.”
Matthews said she hadn’t been surprised by the damning findings of the independent review that led to several key figures at CA falling on their swords.
“You kind of always know when things are not going well, particularly when you work in it day to day,” she said.
“It probably surprised me that others were so surprised. It was obvious from a team perspective that the team’s culture had been waning.
“There’s evidence now to suggest that in terms of surveys that have been done and haven’t probably seen the light of day.
“We’ve had a lot of change ... James being around for 17 years, that’s a really difficult thing to pull off, being in the one job for 17 years and nothing really changing.”
Matthews was pipped for the CA chief executive role by Kevin Roberts, formerly the organisation’s chief operating officer.
She believed CA weren’t ready for a female chief executive, noting she had been the first woman interviewed for the position in its history.
Matthews also dismissed talk of Perth Stadium making a play for the Boxing Day or New Year’s Tests, saying the priority would instead be securing a day-night Test - potentially against New Zealand at the start of the summer.
Meanwhile in the WBBL... Alex Price, what a gem. Get her on the mic every time the Strikers play. The competition is off to a brilliant start.
‘Allo from the lunch room. Thanks Geoffers for taking the morning shift and taking Virat to three figures for the 25 time in Tests. What a wonderful innings. From a match balance perspective, I’m fairly relaxed that he’s back in the sheds; hopefully Rishabh whacks them to parity to get us well on the way to a brilliant second half of this Test.
But did we make of Kohli’s tanty when given out? I get that he feels the needs to counter his brilliance with being as disagreeable as often as possible but that looked like the sort of move that loses one 20% of their match fee. He also didn’t acknowledge the crowd on the way off.
Lunch – India 252-7, trailing by 74 runs
What a cracker of a session of Test cricket. Rahane gone in the first over of the day, and India were rocked. Then Kohli immediately taking the power back, ploughing on resolutely past his century to leave Australia flustered and defensive. One of the greater innings that he’s played – I know I’ve bombed you with stats, but I’ll paste a couple more below because the CricVic analysts have been doing some oustanding work. Adding a whole lot to the narrative.
Kohli had some good support from Vihari, then from Pant when Australia dislodged the former. But in the last minutes of the session, suddenly things have swung back Australia’s way. Kohli gone by the finest of margins, Shami following immediately, and now it’ll probably be a matter of Pant smacking some runs as fast as he can while the tailenders try to hang about.
Australia lead by 74 runs. I’m off, and Adam Collins will take the second stanza.
WICKET! Shami c Paine b Lyon
The slide, did you say? That’ll be lunch. First ball of Lyon’s over, it turns a bit and bounces a lot, and Shami can only stab at the ball and feather it to Paine for a first-ball duck.
93rd over: India 251-6 (Pant 13) Kohli gone last ball of Cummins’ over, the long tail starts, and the slide could be on.
WICKET! Kohli c Handscomb b Cummins 123, India 251-6
Cummins the bowler. Handscomb diving wide at second slip. Kohli’s drive producing a thick edge. The ball angling towards the turf. But going fairly flat rather than dipping. I think that’s out, it’s gone flat into his fingers as they lay on the ground, but it looks dicey on the TV replay, as it tends to do.
He’s given! The umpires sent it upstairs, the third ump had a good long look at a number of replays. But I think that was the right call. Handscomb had his fingers flat on the ground by the time the ball reached him. So it looked like a bounce, but it was landing on his hand. He immediately held his hand up with the fingers clasped around the ball, showing his grip.
Opinion is divided already: on the radio, on the TV, and I haven’t even glanced at anything on the internet. Did it touch a bit of grass on the way into his hands? It looked very close live, and still close on replay, but it just seemed from the angle that it could and should have made it onto his fingers on the full.
92nd over: India 250-5 (Kohli 123, Pant 12) Lyon is back from the southern end of the ground. Wide, full, and Kohli strides across to drive through cover for four! Just like the one from earlier, he pulls out that full ice-hockey slap shot to the rope. Imposing stuff. The Australian lead drops to 76. India reach 250.
91st over: India 246-5 (Kohli 119, Pant 12) Singles mingles, Kohli keeps collecting. A couple more in this over, and his last eight scoring shots have been ones. Pant matches his approach. Cummins the bowler.
Some good stuff as ever from Ric. I’ve been meaning for years to write a paean to Younis Khan, the most underrated of all the great Test batsmen.
In Wellington, Kane Williamson has just been dismissed for 91 from 93 balls. Bright stuff.
90th over: India 243-5 (Kohli 117, Pant 11) They’ve got Pant on strike to start this Hazlewood over, but he just drives a casual single to get off it. Don’t patronise me, man. Kohli does likewise. Hazlewood draws an edge from the left-handed Pant, but the batsman is prodding softly at it and so it bounces into the ground and into the gully gap for four.
I like the idea that there can be left-handed Pants.
“Good morning, Geoff,” writes Ian Forth. Good morning, by a matter of four minutes on Western Australian time. Ian is concerned about Gary Naylor’s tweet from earlier. “Can a Test be described as “ever inchoate”? Surely at some point during the match it passes beyond inchoancy (?) into some kinetic state.”
This is the stuff I’m here for.
89th over: India 237-5 (Kohli 116, Pant 6) What is this? Starc, the attack leader, with the new ball, is bowling with the field spread. Paine has pushed out a third man, deep point, deep square leg, and long leg. Mid-on and mid-off are set back conceding a single. They want to bowl at Rishabh Pant. But that just looks like rolling over in surrender. He’s a No7, not a No11. (Even if the No11s start at No8 in this team.) Surely you back your strike bowler to get Kohli out rather than just give in. It looks like surrendering even while Australia is still nearly 100 in front.
Kohli happily takes the run on offer, Pant collects a one and a three whenever the ball is on his pads, and the score moves along with barely a flicker of risk for India.
88th over: India 232-5 (Kohli 115, Pant 2) Hop, stab, run. No, it’s not someone being mugged by a kangaroo. It’s Virat Kohli’s batting approach against this new ball. Happy to give Pant plenty of the strike, and perhaps impress upon him the responsibility the young wicketkeeper needs to take. Pant defends three, takes a quiet single.
Mind you, the actual analysts suggest that Pant can basically do what he likes.
87th over: India 230-5 (Kohli 114, Pant 1) Kohli is happy to just keep harvesting the singles as opportunities arise. Tap to point, drop to short leg and dash. Pant gets off the mark with a mistimed glance. In the meantime, a bouncer doesn’t quite work out.
Mitchell Starc bowls wide and it’s bye, bye, byes.
86th over: India 223-5 (Kohli 112, Pant 0) What will Pant do? Go hog-wild? Start cautiously? The latter, three balls from Hazlewood with nary a wild swing among them.
Simon Richards has found my email address. “Australia v India is ‘box office’, but 25,000 in 68,000 capacity stadia still lacks atmos. India v Any Other Team are the same in India. Should Test matches be played in smaller venues, 15,000-25,000)?”
Well, yes, in theory. But it also depends on those venues being good enough to attract a crowd. The WACA is the right capacity, but when the toilet blocks are ankle-deep in effluent and you can contract skin cancer within a day, people don’t want to go to it. You didn’t get 20,000 to daytime Tests at the WACA because no one wanted to go.
WICKET! Vihari c Paine b Hazlewood 20, India 223-5
A sigh of relief for the Australians. If they can’t get Kohli they need at least need to knock out the foundations supporting him. Perfect new-ball stuff from Hazlewood: upright seam, slight bit of movement away, and Vihara was back and tentatively defending rather than getting forward to cover the line of the ball. A fine edge to Paine.
85th over: India 223-4 (Kohli 112, Vihari 20) Starc over the wicket, short, but Kohli makes riding the bounce defensively look as easy as driving through cover. Simples. Hops up again next ball and this time guides the defensive shot with an angled and open blade past gully for one run. Vihari is looking pretty solid himself, and finding singles without too much trouble.
84th over: India 220-4 (Kohli 111, Vihari 18) Hazlewood to Kohli, dropping short outside off and it’s flayed away for six! Over third man, a position which was unoccupied anyway for Kohli, who has two slips and a gully but no one back. Was happy to take the risk therefore against the short ball, got something of a top edge on the cut, but hit it so hard that it carried the rope flat and hard. Party time for Kohli? The deficit has dropped to 106.
In terms of individual stats, there are plenty flying around. Of visiting batsmen, only Hammond and Hobbs for England have more hundreds in Australia than Kohli. They also played a lot more Tests here.
There’s also this, when you factor in his pile of ODI hundreds:
83rd over: India 214-4 (Kohli 105, Vihari 18) Starc strays to full and Kohli laces this through cover for four! What a shot, the sound of that off the bat was as crisp as anything he hit in that nets video. Crack, leaning forward, getting low again, and meeting the ball down low on the ground, just as it bounced. Starc of course follows up with a bouncer that nearly clears Paine for four byes. Kohli is unflapped (which must be a word if unflappable is an adjective) and taps his next ball to midwicket for a single. That’s drinks.
82nd over: India 209-4 (Kohli 100, Vihari 18) Hazlewood is the other new-ball taker, unsurprisingly. A couple of runs to Vihari through square leg.
As of now, Kohli has made hundreds in Adelaide, Sydney, Melbourne, and Perth. He’s never played in Hobart (and never will). So he’s only missed out in Brisbane, but he’s only played there once. He has six hundreds in Australia in 19 innings. Absurd.
Century! Virat Kohli 100 from 214 balls
81st over: India 207-4 (Kohli 100, Vihari 16)
New ball, new me. Mitchell Starc has the shiny projectile, but Kohli has a shiny new milestone to his name! His 25th Test century. Starc is bowling full and looking for swing. So the first ball of the over, Kohli can work it easily enough through midwicket for two. Then the second ball, he drives, elegantly, dead straight for four! What a shot. And what an understated response. Kohli drives, trots halfway down the pitch, stops to watch the ball hit the rope, then takes off his helmet and taps the face of the bat with his first. Shakes hands with his partner, walks back to the striker’s end, gives one brisk wave of the bat to the crowd, then puts his helmet back on and prepares for the next ball. Class.
80th over: India 201-4 (Kohli 94, Vihari 16) The wristy slap first ball from Kohli, but he gets it too straight, between the bowler and non-striker, and Lyon is able to land on it and smother it. But the next ball, Lyon goes wide and Kohli slathers it over the turf for four! Through cover, he dropped into a crouch, aimed a diagonal bat at it, and gave it everything. Perfect contact, bringing up the 200.
Then an edge! Things are heating up. Kohli gets a leading edge over slip really, out towards gully, but there’s no one there! Lands safely, but can’t get a run. So he goes the next ball, and Vihari is nearly run out. That was a bad call, Travis Head was right there at cover, and his throw at the base of the stumps missed. Paine was there, but Heads throw hit the turf between Paine’s feet and he couldn’t gather the throw. Would have been gone for all money.
79th over: India 196-4 (Kohli 89, Vihari 16) It’s tip and run time for the Indian captain. Might as well, every run matters with the lead still standing at 134. Kohli drops Cummins into the gap at cover and sprints through again – there was a man there, but it was just to his left. Vihari favours a more direct approach, as he gets a slightly overpitched scrambled seam delivery from Cummins and drives it through mid-off for four. Cummins reverts to the bouncer. “Bowled Patty!” is the shout. And another nasty short one, with a short leg in place, but Vihari stands up tall and plays it straight down into the pitch in front of him. Exceptional defensive technique.
78th over: India 191-4 (Kohli 88, Vihari 12) Thoughts of a run-out as Kohli goes round the corner against Lyon. Cummins was there at backward square leg and he made the pick-up beautifully, running around to his left, but had to throw awkwardly in chicken-wing style towards Paine, and couldn’t get much power on the throw. It was either lucky or extremely well judged by Kohli in going for the run, and Vihari was safely home.
77th over: India 189-4 (Kohli 87, Vihari 11) Cummins continuing, so the bowling changes have settled. Kohli chops a single to midwicket, Vihari chops one to third man.
An email in from SSimon, who may or may not be a snake. He is sending me a lot of pro-snake literature, that’s all I’m saying. “Morning Geoff. Loving the coverage but there’s another exciting southern hemisphere test happening. Each of you covers a session 2 or 3 hours at most. A parallel OBO from Wellington, you workshy fops!”
I get called that all the time, Sssssssimon. Believe it or not, if I can give readers a glimpse behind the curtain, this enterprise is not entirely as simple and relaxing as it looks. It’s a hell of a lot of fun though.
At tea in Wellington, Kane Williamson is 71 not out, with Tom Latham on 57, as New Zealand sit comfortably 107 runs behind Sri Lanka’s 282, but with nine wickets in hand.
76th over: India 187-4 (Kohli 86, Vihari 10) Lyon zips through a maiden over to Vihari, from the southern end. The second new ball isn’t far away.
75th over: India 187-4 (Kohli 86, Vihari 10) Now Cummins has been swung around to the northern end. A lot of swinging so far this morning. Vihari resists swinging at the shorter ball this time, and instead drives the full ball down the ground for three to reach double figures. Kohli has had some magic spray treatment for his upper forearm where Starc hit him a little while ago.
“G’day for another summer Geoff. I’m a big fan of Amy Remeikis’s work but I reckon you’ve got the premier live blog today,” emails Matt Harris. Amy does the Australian parliament and politics blogs, and at least with Tim Paine’s team, I can claim to have the more dignified Australian representatives to write about. It’s been a close race for embarrassing behaviour for a good few years.
“I think India vs Australia is just about the best fixture in world cricket at the moment,” continues Matt. “The last few series have been fantastic contests, and in my view the level of aggression has been mostly about right (and pretty even). I certainly look forward to series against the Indians more than the Ashes lately. What do you think of the rivalry between these two sides of late?”
Pretty fair contention, at least considering the last Australian tour to India in 2017. Australia fought hard on the field, though relied hugely on Smith for runs. And while there was a level of sniping and bickering in the media, the on-field stuff was largely pretty good. That was before the Ashes came along and the Australians decided they had to manufacture some nastiness to impersonate previous eras.
74th over: India 184-4 (Kohli 86, Vihari 7) More changes. Lyon is back from the southern end. Is that just because Vihari is on strike? Lyon bowls well down leg side, maybe just testing out the back-foot balance. or maybe just bowling a crap ball. Who knows? Vihari clips off the toes for a single. “Break this end, Goat,” says Tim Paine as Kohli takes strike. I don’t know what that means, but it certainly doesn’t sound like responsible farming practice.
73rd over: India 183-4 (Kohli 86, Vihari 6) The new man Vihari needs to calm down. They’ve put a third man back for him against Starc, and he still slashes outside off at the short ball. It nearly carries but just drops short. Kohli demonstrats a lower-risk method to his partner, using a straight bat to force a half-short ball away behind point for a couple.
72nd over: India 180-4 (Kohli 84, Vihari 5) Paine has got the result he wants with Lyon, and immediately swings a chacne with Cummins to bowl to Kohli. A good move before the Indian skipper gets set. Which takes about as long as Superglue: you’ve got a handful of seconds to correct any mistakes before you have to live with some painful and stubborn consequences. Kohli plays every ball, but compactly in defence.
71st over: India 180-4 (Kohli 84, Vihari 5) Owwwwwwwwww. No, a dog hasn’t taken over the OBO. Kohli is hit on the arm by Mitchell Starc, a short ball that didn’t get up that high. Kohli saw he couldn’t control it and just let it hit him, a glancing blow near the elbow from a ball going so fast it almost carries to fine leg. They run a leg bye, not sure how since Kohli wasn’t dodging or playing a shot. Starc stays short for Vihari, who takes a leaf from Rahane’s book and clobbers a zesty cut shot away for four.
70th over: India 175-4 (Kohli 84, Vihari 1) Hanuma Vihari, whose name I keep singing as Hakuna Matata. It means no worries. But India have worries, they’re still a long way behind, and Vihari is only playing his second Test. Pant to come next is a dasher who could easily hole out, and the tail is so long that this Indian team could be a brontosaurus. Huge blow by Lyon at the first time of asking today. Vihari gets off the mark through midwicket. Kohli shovels a dodgy run behind square. Would have tight for Vihari coming to the danger end had there been a better throw. Rattled?
WICKET! Rahane c Paine b Lyon 51, India 173-4
Lyon does it! Not Kohli, who just got off strike with a gentle tuck to midwicket. But his deputy falls. Natural variation from Lyon, who bowled an off-break but it skipped straight on. Perfect line just outside off, Rahane played forward defensively but accounted for a fraction of turn, and there was none. Instead it nicks the outside edge and Paine makes an excellent take standing up to the stumps.
Right then. We. Are. Away. Lyon with the ball, Kohli to face, Rahane at the other end.
“Good morning Geoff,” writes Amod Paranjape. “Is it just me or are Skippers and their deputies rmore relaxed while batting with each other? Rahane and Kohli have the numbers to back my claims.”
Maybe for India. I don’t recall Clarke and Watson having a great simpatico. And Smith and Warner never seemed to bat together much. They weren’t a great combination in other ways, either.
This is pretty lovely, and sad. Shakti Gauchan – look him up, someone who has done so much to help develop cricket in one of the countries where it could next become a force. And a fine player.
Local conditions in Perth: it’s a lovely sunny day, pretty warm in the direct sunlight but the mercury is only reading 26 degrees now, with a high of about 30. There’s a decent sea breeze coming cool across the ground too, then swirling around the stadium. So, relatively pleasant conditions for bowling, especially compared to the first day when it was closer to 40 than 30.
Some quality work happening on the tweet feed already. (No, tweet feed does not mean bird seed. That’s a good delivery bowled by Jackson Bird.)
In fact, with 25 minutes until the start of play, you’ve just got time to squeeze in that whole Newsom song. Some beautiful writing there, if you’re a fan of harps and a general mediaeval fairground vibe.
Nice early note here from Gary, one of the regulars. Reminds me of a Joanna Newsom lyric: “We tramped through the poison oak, heartbroke and inchoate.”
As always, get involved with the OBO. Thoughts, observations, hopes, dreams, desires. I will aid with what I can, or at least expose it to a generally friendly audience.
Drop me a tweet @GeoffLemonSport, or an email via firstname.lastname@example.org.
Buckle up, everybody. We could be set for a special one. Yesterday was, on reflection, one of the best days of Test cricket that I’ve had the pleasure of attending. The way the Australian quicks came out breathing fire, smashing through the first couple of Indian batsmen. The position of vulnerability of the batting side given its long tail. Then the resistance from India’s own Big Three, first Pujara fighting and stonewalling, later Rahane’s counterattacking dash, and through it all, Virat Kohli, rising to the challenge once again with supreme control.
I know that people talk this guy up, and others grumble about that being excessive, but with 24 Test hundreds and 20 Test fifties having just turned 30 years of age, the record says you’re wrong. Runs and runs aplenty in South Africa, England, Australia, runs in fourth-innings chases and on difficult decks. He’s ticked every box.
Yesterday was one of the tougher situations he’s been in, but Kohli absorbed all the good bowling, waited out the fierce parts, then took every single opportunity he was given to score. That over from Cummins where Kohli’s edge was beaten, then his body was hit, then he caressed an on-drive for four off the full face of the bat – it sums up the whole day.
I’ve read a lot of people saying the pitch became docile, which isn’t the case – all that happened was we didn’t have the couple of freak balls like day one that hit cracks and deviated. Perhaps the heavy roller between innings squashed them down a bit. But there was still swing early, a bit of seam movement throughout, and excellent pace and carry. Australia’s bowlers were exceptional, and this isn’t just anecdotal anymore – CricViz has actually crunched data to say that on an average day, that bowling performance (factoring in accuracy, speed, movement and so on) would have netted eight wickets rather than three. But Kohli and Rahane defied it.
That pair will resume in an hour’s time, Kohli on 82, Rahane on 51. There could be Australian wickets early, there could be an extension of the fight. India need the latter, they still trail on the first innings by 154, and have a very questionable batting card from here. But if they can scrap on, we’ll have a fine morning ahead.
Geoff Lemon with you – yesterday I said I would be here after lunch, but that will be Adam Collins and then from tea Rob Smyth.