Stumps on Day 1 – India 303-4
Before this series began everyone’s attention was focussed on Virat Kohli. The theory went that two strong bowling attacks would be evenly matched but Kohli’s genius could be the determining factor. Well, the logic has proven sound, only the batsman to dominate proceedings has been Cheteshwar Pujara.
For the third time this tour India’s No3 reached triple figures, and his knock at the SCG was his most fluent of the lot. Not for the first time he arrived at the crease following an early dismissal but after the recalled KL Rahul (9) fell cheaply, he occupied the crease with the aggressive Mayank Agarwal (77) before taking matters into his own hands during the afternoon and evening sessions.
Pujara was particularly dismissive of Marnus Labuschagne, the leg-spinning allrounder called-up to add a second spin option as well as bat at first drop. It is the latest in a long line of selection gambles that appears difficult to justify and unlikely to pay off.
The pitch served up by the SCG has played well so far, offering pace and bounce early while providing certainty for batsmen. India will hope the couple of shorter balls that kept low later in the day become a more regular occurrence. Once again they have the benefit of bowling last after winning another crucial toss.
To find out how big Pujara can go please join me and Adam and Geoff again tomorrow. Oh, and think of a new description for Pujara’s wristy flick while you’re at it.
100 to Cheteshwar Pujara!
WICKET! Rahane c Paine b Starc 18 (India 228-4)
WICKET! Kohli c Paine b Hazlewood 23 (India 180-3)
Thank you very much Mr Collins, my favourite cricketing Adam since Adam Parore, a man with some choice claims to fame*, including:
- The first Māori to represent New Zealand in cricket.
- The only Test cricketer to climb Mt Everest.
- Highest ODI score without a boundary (96 vs India, in Baroda, 1994).
Parore also features in one of the angriest and most brutal dismissals in international cricket history. The scorecard reads Parore b Lee, but that only tells a fraction of the story.
*These are all shamelessly lifted from Wikipedia, so I can’t vouch for their accuracy.
TEA! India 177-2
51st over: India 177-2 (Pujara 61, Kohli 23) Shooooot! Kohli, on the cusp of tea, gets a big stride in to Lyon before driving him against the spin through cover. Wonderful batting from this pair, their stand passing 50 with that shot as they go to tea. The visitors added 108 runs in the session, losing Agarwal (77) along the way, holing out to long-on off Lyon after hitting the spinner for a couple of sixes. All told, it’s India’s day at the SCG. And with that, I’ll hand the OBO over to JP Howcroft for the final stanza. Bye!
Pujara to 50!