After three days of testing, this match could last three weeks
They had to wait nearly two days for Australia to bat first, but the wait was worth it as the ever-smiling Shubman Gill, 23, cashed in on Saturday with his second century and first in India.
Like Australia’s 23-year-old Cameron Green, who scored his first century a day earlier, Gill is a rare talent.
His timing is exquisite and he has a unique horizontal hit from the back foot to a short delivery that would cramp most batsmen. It took him a delightful limit from Mitchell Starc to record half a century.
In an attempt to make a difference, assistant skipper Steve Smith went mad with his fields and stalled India for 17 overs, who conceded just 25 runs.
Green bowled a 90 mph reverse swing without a slip, wicketkeeper Alex Carey stood the stumps and the catching positions were two short mid-wickets.
Young off-spinner Todd Murphy, who was on a remarkable tour for a 22-year-old with little elite cricket, bowled with a seven-two-leg sidefield.
Such fields were banned in the Sheffield Shield a few generations ago when only five were allowed on the leg side, to encourage developing bowlers to pursue attacking, wicket-taking lines.
But when the opposing team is just two wickets short of 200 and your 480 is shrinking with each over, it’s going to be an unconventional time.
Not that it ever got as mad as MS Dhoni, who seemed on a mission to kill Test cricket given the burgeoning Twenty20 spectacle during the 2008 tour of Australia, which India won 2-0 with two draws. This hit its nadir on day three of the Nagpur Test, when Dhoni set up eight-one off-side fields and instructed his bowlers to operate a yard outside the stump.
India had hit 441 first and Australia raced to 2-189 at stumps on day two, with Simon Katich flying to 92. It was a long time before he reached his century the next day.
After stumps that night, Katich’s first question at a press conference was why Australia had been so slow to score. Katich exploded and bluntly suggested that the question should be directed to the home team.
At the post-match press conference, I asked Dhoni what responsibility he felt as captain for the future of Test cricket?
He replied in Hindi. Apparently it translates to “Keep an eye on the price”. India had won by 172 runs.
Having already retained the Border-Gavaskar Trophy in this series, India’s prize is now the WTC Finals.
Hopefully this test doesn’t fall victim to the big picture.
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https://www.smh.com.au/sport/cricket/after-three-day-tests-this-match-could-go-for-three-weeks-20230311-p5crb9.html?ref=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_source=rss_sport After three days of testing, this match could last three weeks