But the timeless workhorse was supported and nurtured by two rookies, Todd Murphy and Matt Kuhnemann, who arrived as boys on a man’s mission and grew up quickly.
Regardless of what happens from here, they will go home with remarkable performances against their name. Murphy excelled on the debut in Delhi, picking up first innings counts of 7-124, and Kuhnemann did the same with 5-16 in the first innings of that game as India went out after winning the toss and batting for 109.
Kuhnemann appeared tired during the second innings in India on Thursday, landing a late hammer as the left arm tweaker began to lose length.
This shouldn’t come as a surprise as he’s only featured in two of Queensland’s first seven Sheffield Shield games this season. Veteran leg spinner Mitch Swepson, who sits on the sidelines between returning to give birth to his first child in India, was Queensland’s shield spinner of choice.
Australia had a snappy period of control on this tour, only to have their dreams shattered on the rocks of reality.
The possibilities were delicious, anticipation uplifting, then resolution draining.
Recent history hasn’t been kind, although Australia hasn’t been that close.
It’s the weight of those first two Test errors combined with the crumbling pitch that will raise questions of skill and mental toughness that Australia have so far failed to answer when it mattered most.
They had a chance to knock India out with 4/186 on Thursday. A cup of tea later, Australia were 197, losing 6-11.
Still, an 88 first-innings lead under these conditions is significant, although there is trepidation in this chase.
In the first Test, Australia failed to concede after batting first and struggled 177 in Nagpur before beating India 5-168. Game on became Game Over as India’s tail wagged the home team to 400, Australia surrendered on 91 and the result was an innings and 132 run loss.
Two days after the Delhi Test, the recalled Travis Head flew as an opener. Australia resumed at 1/61, a 62 lead, and could have knocked India out of the game. Inside Australia lost 8/28 thanks to sweep-mania and was thrown out for 113 to lose by six wickets.
Australia, at least, have come closer each time, suggesting another fortnight’s preparation may have made them more competitive from the start.
And this time they dare to dream.
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https://www.smh.com.au/sport/cricket/australia-dare-to-dream-of-a-rare-victory-in-india-20230302-p5cp1m.html?ref=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_source=rss_sport Australia dare to dream of a rare victory in India