End of day 2: Australia 191-7 (trail India by 59 runs)
A slow-moving but nonetheless engrossing day of Test cricket ends with India just about ahead in a tight, low-scoring affair.
After being bowled out for 250 on the opening delivery of the morning India’s attack set about endorsing the clichés about a score never being worth judging until both teams have had an opportunity to bat. All four men bowled with control and no little skill, taking wickets at regular intervals to keep Australia on the backfoot throughout another stiflingly hot Adelaide afternoon.
Marcus Harris, Usman Khawaja and Peter Handscomb all made starts but only Travis Head passed 30. He remains unbeaten on 61 with his side’s hopes of a first-innings lead on his shoulders. The South Australian batted superbly on his home deck, like Che Pujara yesterday, respecting anything dangerous and accumulating more freely when the old ball was offering less penetration.
The pitch remains much slower than expected, making runs hard to come by, and there are some footmarks appearing that will begin to impede the right-handed batsmen.
Join us back here tomorrow when Adam, Geoff and I will be back on deck to see if Australia can eke out a first-innings lead and we will establish if India’s top-order has learned the lessons of day one. Catch you then.
88th over: Australia 191-7 (Head 61, Starc 8) Not the kind of final over the Australian balcony would have enjoyed. First Shami gets one to keep a little low and seam-in to Head, beating the attempted backfoot drive. Then a little later the batsman again fails to connect with an expansive drive to a moving ball that contained a high degree of risk. Nonetheless he survives and can march off the field delighted with his battling effort.
87th over: Australia 191-7 (Head 61, Starc 8) Head on strike for the penultimate over of the day and he gets solidly in line and behind the best Bumrah can hurl at him. He even earns a single from the final delivery.
86th over: Australia 190-7 (Head 60, Starc 8) Shami belatedly has a dart with the new ball, and he may regret accepting the opportunity, seeing his first ball flashed along the ground through gully for four by Starc before both batsmen glide singles down to third man.
85th over: Australia 184-7 (Head 59, Starc 3) Bumrah continues and once again a short and wide delivery almost accounts for Head. Extra bounce this time with the new ball surprising the batsman and he’s lucky to avoid feathering a chance behind. Otherwise there is little to report with the bowler hitting the deck hard and the batsman watchful as the day draws towards its close.
The TV broadcast is replaying the wickets and when you see them in isolation you realise both Paine and Cummins got good uns. Credit to Ishant in particular for his subtle adjustment to winkle out the Aussie skipper.
84th over: Australia 184-7 (Head 59, Starc 3) Ashwin to Starc take two. Block, block, swipe! Massive thick edge that loops over Sharma at point who moved with all the elan of a girder and is unable to make the ground for the catch. Starc reverts to blocking to see out the over. Harsh to criticise Ishant too much considering his workload and how late in the day it is. However, worth remembering Cummins’ game-changing run-out around this time yesterday.
Three overs left in the day.
83rd over: Australia 182-7 (Head 59, Starc 1) Bumrah hasn’t settled into a consistent line and length with this new ball and initially it works in Australia’s favour with Head whipping a couple of his hip, but later in the over it almost induces catches behind the wicket, first a short and wide ball that isn’t put away, then a strangle down the legside with more runs on offer.
82nd over: Australia 180-7 (Head 57, Starc 1) Interesting – Ashwin retains his place in the attack, Kohli neglecting to go with a second paceman. Even more interesting – Head accepts a single first ball. What will Starc do against India’s premier spinner with a new ball? The answer is he will defend stoutly to three deliveries then accept a single off an inside edge. Head shows his, um, head, pinching a quick single from the final delivery to retain strike.
81st over: Australia 177-7 (Head 55, Starc 0) Huge breakthrough for India with Cummins and Head building nicely. It wasn’t the best over with the new ball but Bumrah’s ability make it jag off the seam accounted for Cummins who will regret not introducing his bat into the equation. Can India secure any more breakthroughs tonight?
WICKET! Cummins LBW Bumrah 10 (Australia 177-7)
Cummins on strike, Bumrah with the new cherry, annnnnnnnd the first delivery is a fizzer, harmlessly short and wide at moderate pace. The second is quicker with a bit of seam in, the third is a belter! Quicker, stacks of movement off the seam, Cummins shoulders arms and is rapped on the pad just about in line with off stump. Nigel Llong raises the finger! Cummins reviews, as he has to, but DRS confirms that the ball was crashing into off stump and by not offering a shot it matters not where the ball hit the pad. A splendid partnership is broken and the new ball does the trick.
Jasprit Bumrah has the new ball. Seven overs remaining in the day…
80th over: Australia 177-6 (Head 55, Cummins 10) Final over before the new ball and Cummins is happy to pad and dead-bat away as much as he can. Ashwin still gets one to rip and clip the inside edge and balloon behind square though – but there’s no waiting fielder. That run brings up the 50 partnership in what has been a superb effort from both Australians.
79th over: Australia 176-6 (Head 55, Cummins 9) Runs! Short and wide from Vijay allowing Head to shift out of defensive mode, rock back, and carve a four to the vacant third-man region. The dam broken, singles are then accumulated by both batsmen.
Wade has to be in the minds of selectors as a specialist batsman considering his form over the past couple of seasons.
78th over: Australia 170-6 (Head 50, Cummins 8) Australia’s lean run extends to just one scoring shot from five overs with Ashwin continuing to tie Cummins down, spinning the ball into the right-hander from the rough outside off stump.
Ian Forth is back. “Think I’m right in saying that the record for highest individual percentage of a team total remains with Charles Bannerman from that very first test. James Southerton also retains the record for oldest test debut at 49 years old from that match – a record he was never even aware of, as it wasn’t accorded test status till much later on. And one record that sadly can’t be beaten is that Southerton was the first test player to die, just three years later.” Adam and Geoff will be livid they’re missing Bannerman chat. This is very much their areas.
77th over: Australia 170-6 (Head 50, Cummins 8) Murali Vijay continues the hustle to the new ball and Head allows the part-timer to rush through his work, accepting another maiden is the price to pay for being at the crease for what promises to be a testing final half-hour of play.
76th over: Australia 170-6 (Head 50, Cummins 8) Woah! What happened there!? Three dots from Ashwin then Cummins tries to pad up but the ball goes between his legs! It bounces enough to go over the bails but that was an astonishing leave. Second maiden in a row from Ashwin.
75th over: Australia 170-6 (Head 50, Cummins 8) Almost consecutive maidens for India until Cummins nudges Vijay away for a single into the legside. The new ball is now just around the corner.
74th over: Australia 169-6 (Head 50, Cummins 7) Ashwin hasn’t bowled anything spiteful to the left-handed Head so far but he remains probing, forcing the free-scoring batsman to accept a dead-batted maiden.
73rd over: Australia 169-6 (Head 50, Cummins 7) Murali Vijay has a rare trundle with the second new ball approaching. His tweakers from around the wicket are respected by Travis Head but he still has plenty of time to pierce the offside ring to bring up his second Test fifty in just his third appearance for Australia. Head’s fluency is flowing into Cummins who elegantly earns two through the covers. This is becoming a decisive partnership.
72nd over: Australia 166-6 (Head 49, Cummins 5) Ooof! First delivery in yonks that Ashwin has made rip and it does Cummins like a kipper – gripping and spinning through the gate, beating the inside edge and skimming the bail on its way through for three byes. That was a bee’s wing away from bowling Australia’s number 8. More byes follow later in the over too, this partnership now worth 39 in just nine overs and the momentum swinging fractionally back the home side’s way.
71st over: Australia 160-6 (Head 48, Cummins 5) Shami continues after a drinks break but the delay does not disrupt Travis Head’s concentration. The left-hander crunches consecutive boundaries, first a powerful cover drive then a textbook on-drive in what is blossoming into a very impressive knock.
“And what about the Bannermans?” What about the Bannermans (Bannermen?) Gervase Greene? “Sure it was a while ago, but Charles hit not only the first run EVER in Test cricket, but the first ton. And no ordinary one: 165 out of a total of 245 all-out! His brother Alec, in five tours, never hit a Test hundred, and was universally known as “Barndoor”. ‘Nuff sed.”
70th over: Australia 150-6 (Head 39, Cummins 4) Not a lot of turn on offer for Ashwin with this soft old ball. His length and variation of pace remains a threat though, forcing Head to use quick feet to smother any threat. In among the defensive strokes there’s also a single, bringing Australia’s deficit to an even 100.
69th over: Australia 149-6 (Head 38, Cummins 4) Head has hit Sharma out of the attack with Kohli returning to Shami. The batsmen remain unruffled though, Head accepting singles down to third-man and off his hip, Cummins pushing one into the covers. Head is looking confident and composed at the crease and in line for a significant score on his home ground.
“From Indian perspective, surely Rohan Gavaskar should be there? And Stuart Binny? Snehasish Ganguly?” Sharath Kolachippu continuing the work begun by Ian Forth back in over 62.
68th over: Australia 145-6 (Head 36, Cummins 3) Ashwin coming around the wicket to Head now looking to befuddle the batsman with the one that doesn’t turn. Head is watchful and compact, striding forward to prod away a maiden.
67th over: Australia 145-6 (Head 36, Cummins 3) After Head dominated their previous duel Sharma moves over the wicket (he was previously bowling round to the left-hander) but the batsman’s eye is well and truly in and he drives securely through the covers for a couple from the opening ball, nudges the third to midwicket for a single, and carves the sixth behind point for one. In between all of that Cummins also picks up a single.
66th over: Australia 140-6 (Head 32, Cummins 2) Head takes a single from the second delivery of Ashwin’s over, inviting Cummins to take on India’s premier spinner. The second ball he faces squirts off the outside edge and along the ground through the vacant second slip region for a couple.
65th over: Australia 137-6 (Head 31, Cummins 0) Sharma’s first over to Paine was faultless but his second, to the left-handed Head, quickly leads to an error, the hirsute paceman dropping short and wide and allowing his delivery to be crunched to the point boundary. The overcorrection full also results in the concession of four runs, Head whipping his hands quickly through the half-volley and depositing it through the covers.
“Very disappointed Ian Forth could find no room for Mark Waugh in that line-up (62nd over).” emails Gervase Greene, “And while tempers will flare as to which one, surely a Marsh qualifies…?” I think on your latter point, that was what prompted the email. As for Junior, would Dean Waugh perhaps not be the more likely family member to qualify? Or perhaps even young Austin (Steve’s son) currently making his way through the ranks with Australia’s U19s?
64th over: Australia 128-6 (Head 22, Cummins 0) That second wicket after tea heralds the return of Ravi Ashwin. Head deals with him comfortably, defending five into the legside before sweeping for a single to retain the strike. A lot resting on the shoulders of the home town favourite now.
“Call me a pessimist,” you’re a pessimist Sankaran Krishna, “but India has four bowlers who are all knackered by this point of the day. An Aussie lower order with the likes of Starc and Cummins who can really give the ball a clout. India’s problems are about to begin.”
WICKET! Paine c Pant b Sharma 5 (Australia 127-6)
Sharma replaces Shami and he gets the breakthrough straight away, teasing Paine into nibbling a perfect line and length delivery through to the keeper. It was the conclusion of a lovely over that was on a probing line and length throughout, ending with a jaffa that just left the Australian skipper enough to prompt his dismissal.
62nd over: Australia 126-5 (Head 20, Paine 5) Bumrah and Head engage in a tight and even duel for five deliveries before a rare full toss allows the South Australian a single from the final delivery of the over.
Ian Forth, who can often be relied upon to enliven one’s inbox, has sent in this fizzing back-hander. “Hello Jonathan, in honour of the Marshes and their illustrious father Geoff, I have assembled a Poor Relative XI: John Benaud, Trevor Chappell, Chris Cowdrey (captain), Jeff Crowe, E M Grace, Ian Greig, Richard Hutton, Dale Hadlee, Nathan McCullum, Albie Morkel, Chris Smith.”
61st over: Australia 125-5 (Head 19, Paine 5) Short and wide from Shami and Paine gobbles up the opportunity to cut for four. Somewhere in the Adelaide Oval changing rooms Peter Handscomb is shaking his head muttering to himself about how that was the shot he should have played. The shot brings Australia 50% of the way towards parity with 50% of their wickets down.
In my simple brain, I am finding it impossible to say Bumrah without thinking of Mumm-Ra, the arch enemy of the Thundercats. Is it just me?
60th over: Australia 121-5 (Head 19, Paine 1) Bumrah continues to bowl full and straight at Paine, finding some menace with one that holds its line from that angle wide of the crease. This is Ntini-like from the Indian quick. The danger with that line of course is it doesn’t require much of an error in line to leak onto a right-hander’s pads and that’s exactly what Bumrah does to allow Paine to get off the mark.
59th over: Australia 120-5 (Head 19, Paine 0) Head, Paine is Australia’s partnership at the crease and also the home side’s state of mind following that excellent Bumrah over. Head ensures wickets do not follow in consecutive overs, repelling Shami comfortably.
58th over: Australia 120-5 (Head 19, Paine 0) That wicket has upped the intensity in the field, Bumrah immediately hard at Paine and the close fielders audible. The length to Paine is full and he just about connects with a forward defence trapped on the crease, then he aims a drive that misses on the inside edge, drawing a massive appeal behind the wicket that is declined by Dharamasena. Big passage of play coming up for Australia’s skipper with India’s tails up.
WICKET! Handscomb c Pant b Bumrah 34 (Australia 120-5)
Bumrah begins the over by rapping Handscomb on his pads but the angle from well wide of the crease means umpire Dharmasena isn’t interested in the appeal for LBW. The next delivery is on off stump and Handscomb defends from the crease. The next one is wider and – eurgh – Handscomb attempts a late cut and glances the ball straight into Pant’s gloves. That was a peculiar shot considering all the effort Handscomb had made to dig in. It wasn’t short or wide enough for that type of shot, especially with Bumrah coming in on such a sharp angle from wide of the crease. Australia up against it again.
57th over: Australia 120-4 (Handscomb 34, Head 19) Mohammed Shami is Bumrah’s partner after Tea from the Cathedral End. He’s on a nice line and length, initially drawing Handscomb forward and almost inducing an uppish drive through the covers. The Victorian readjusts nicely, waiting in his crease to dab the next delivery behind point, rotating the strike.
This session is scheduled to witness a total of 32 overs, which means unlike yesterday we should see the full complement of 90 sent down.
56th over: Australia 118-4 (Handscomb 33, Head 18) Jasprit Bumrah opens the bowling after Tea, ending Ravichandran Ashwin’s marathon spell. He’s onto a nagging length from around the wicket to Travis Head but eventually strays onto the left-hander’s pads allowing him to rotate the strike. Bumrah is on the same length to Handscomb who defends watchfully from the crease.
The players are back out after that short interval, play will resume shortly.
Thank you very much Geoff. I am enjoying the impromptu game of Rumpelstiltskin. I look forward to the P guesses by day five in Sydney.
Time for me to settle in and steer you to the end of what has been another absorbing day of Test cricket. I will be on deck for the next couple of hours, anchoring this second day of the series to its conclusion. Please keep me company, either on Twitter – @JPHowcroft – or by email – firstname.lastname@example.org.
Enough from me – it’s time to hand over to Jonathan Paisley Howcroft for the run home. Thanks for your company.
On the Shaun Marsh question, some people would argue that it’s unfair to pile into him on the basis of one score at the start of the series. That’s true, he could easily make runs in the second innings, or the second Test. But it is worth noting how little he’s contributed since his senior teammates were suspended. And the overall trends of his career.
As of today, he now has 26 Test dismissals in single figures out of 60. That’s a rate of 43.33 percent, where most good batsmen are more like 20 to 25 percent. That second innings needs to be a good one.
Tea on day two – Australia 117 for 4, trailing by 133
That’s the break: Australia added only 60 runs in a hard-fought session, and more importantly lost two wickets. Their two biggest wickets, in Shaun Marsh and Usman Khawaja, the only batsmen in the side with multiple Test hundreds. Khawaja was done in by some good bowling that he couldn’t do too much about. Marsh was rather more culpable for the nature of his shot. The current pair have a big job to do, needing to eat into that 133 deficit as far as possible and then look to give Australia a lead. Which they’ll need batting last on this surface, which is spinning already.
55th over: Australia 117-4 (Handscomb 33, Head 17) The clock ticks past 3:40pm local time after only a couple of balls. Third of the over, Shami has Head attempting a glance and missing down the leg side. There’s an appeal that’s not all that convincing. But Kohli goes upstairs. It didn’t seem to be Shami pushing for that appeal. The review shows that it missed the bat and probably flicked Head’s clothing. Not out and a review offered up to the review gods.
Head works three runs square, then Handscomb is nearly out again, forcing at Shami off the back foot and nearly edging. Hands on heads in the Indian cordon. If you run your fingers through your hair in frustration, I suppose that’s a hands-comb?
As for Allan – alright, I’ll take it. I promise it had nothing to do with Peter Siddle.
54th over: Australia 113-4 (Handscomb 32, Head 15) The tea break is looming, and Head happily prods out a maiden from Ashwin.
53rd over: Australia 113-4 (Handscomb 32, Head 15) Finally Handscomb’s positioning deep in the crease pays off. When Shami starts a new spell with a half-tracker, and Handscomb can swat the pull shot for four. He’s into the 30s. Glides a single later in the over. Head pulls a ball awkwardly, lobbed in the air towards leg slip, but lands it safely for a run. Was that just off the pad? Probably.
52nd over: Australia 106-4 (Handscomb 27, Head 14) Ashwin getting good bounce still, hits Handscomb with some kick from the pitch as the batsman advances yet again. Eventually finds a run on the drive from the fifth ball.
51st over: Australia 106-4 (Handscomb 26, Head 14) Ishant to Handscomb, the bowler is attacking the pads a lot more now, angling in and hoping to get through. Handscomb plays consistently to the on side, but only a couple of singles result from the over.
50th over: Australia 104-4 (Handscomb 25, Head 13) Handscomb coming down to defend, has to suddenly jam down on an Ashwin ball, stopping it from sneaking through to stump him – the batsman had to drop his knees and try to smoosh the ball with a startled action, like a surprised chef trying to flatten a darting mouse with a spatula. It doesn’t stop Handscomb employing the dance next time. Eventually he gets off strike with a single through midwicket, but Head hands it right back again. All yours champ.
49th over: Australia 102-4 (Handscomb 24, Head 12) Head is starting to get off strike easily now, looking the more in control. Handscomb has a booming Finch drive at Ishant which both nearly nicks his bat and takes his off stump. So it’s not like any Australian batsman so far today has covered himself with glory, but…
… can’t stop, won’t stop.
48th over: Australia 100-4 (Handscomb 23, Head 11) The hundred comes up as Head works a single. Ashwin then bombs the ball in at Handscomb’s pads, drawing a couple of false shots and one appeal at bat-pad. Is there some rough starting to create problems there? That makes it interesting for Handscomb, so positive against spin.
47th over: Australia 99-4 (Handscomb 23, Head 10) Handscomb is batting so deep, with his backlift so high, that Ishant Sharma is very happy to pitch full to him. Test him out and make him take risks. Ed Cowan on the radio reckons that the high backlift makes it harder to get power in your drives, and certainly Handscomb’s versions of the shot that over are jammed out to mid-off or mid-on rather than driven fluidly away. It’s a maiden for Ishant as the seamers rotate.
46th over: Australia 99-4 (Handscomb 23, Head 10) Head is getting a bit of footwork going against Ashwin, coming down to drive a single. Handscomb is coming down almost every ball.
45th over: Australia 97-4 (Handscomb 22, Head 9) Head versus Bumrah, clips a couple of runs, edges a single. For Victoria at the MCG, Glenn Maxwell just reached 50, then had his batting partner whack a return catch to the bowler, who dropped it and accidentally ran the non-striker out. Maxwell must have killed a black cat with a ladder a couple of years ago.
44th over: Australia 94-4 (Handscomb 22, Head 6) Of course, Handscomb ruins that immediately because he’s so comfortable against Ashwin that he tucks the first ball away for a single. It doesn’t work in India’s favour in the shortest term, as Ashwin bowls one too short and Head is able to cut it away for four. A bit close to his body, maybe a touch of risk, but he hit it cleanly. Then nudges to mid-on for a single to keep the strike.