Australia v India, 3rd Test, Melbourne

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Australia v India, 3rd Test, Melbourne

Post by Pal Joey on Mon 22 Dec 2014, 9:29 pm

First topic message reminder :

3rd Test, MCG
26-30 December, 2014

Australia:
D Warner, C Rogers, S Watson, S Smith*, S Marsh, J Burns, B Haddin†, M Johnson, R Harris, J Hazelwood, N Lyon.

India:
M Vijay, S Dhawan, C Pujara, V Kohli, A Rahane, KL Rahul, MS Dhoni*†, R Ashwin, M Sharmi, I Sharma, UT Yadav.


Last edited by The Loaded Dog on Thu 25 Dec 2014, 11:31 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Final teams updated)

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Re: Australia v India, 3rd Test, Melbourne

Post by msp83 on Tue 30 Dec 2014, 8:39 am

The other interesting call was to bring Cheteshwar Pujara down the order. I had suggested something similar before the match start, but I was thinking more of Pujara coming down a position followed by the other 2 guys. But think Dhoni got it better, Pujara to drop down the order, Kohli and Rahane to stay where there were as they have been doing quite well. Rahul played another absolutely horrendous shot and failed again, and Pujara made only 21 before he was done in by a beauty from Left-Arm Spinner Mitchell Johnson!. However, Pujara batted some 70 deliveries in such a critical situation. Even in such a patchy patch that he's been going through, the sight of Pujara coming in at the fall of Virat Kohli was far more reassuring than that of KL Rahul or Rohit Sharma doing so.

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Re: Australia v India, 3rd Test, Melbourne

Post by Pal Joey on Tue 30 Dec 2014, 8:45 am

Yeah, that's what I thought they would do but for some reason (tidier bowling for one!) they were unable to pile on a quick 30-40.

I think Smith was naturally wary of the Adelaide situation and this MCG wicket was still too favourable for batting... even late on Day 5.

The waving of the last 4 overs was probably due to the fact Harris was knackered... MJ had also busted his guts in his previous spells... Hazelwood had worked hard too... and it didn't look as though Lyon or Watto were troubling either Dhoni or Ashwin.

Still, as you say... one wicket ball could have led to a panic... but they all probably just wanted to throw in the towel by that stage. It had been a long day. Fair enough I say.

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Re: Australia v India, 3rd Test, Melbourne

Post by msp83 on Tue 30 Dec 2014, 8:48 am

Despite this absolutely horrible and atrocious start to his test career, I still have high expectations of young KL Rahul. But his terribly nervous debut should give pause to those who advocate bringing every youngster with potential into the test side after they produce a couple of good domestic performances. I certainly wouldn't want to go back to Rohit Sharma for the next game. But there have to be serious questions of Shikhar Dhawan. Yet another failure for the opener with too many technical issues and his temperament isn't saving him either. Had Rahul batted with a little bit of common sense for the same returns he had in this game, I would have dropped Shikhar, bring Rahul up to partner Murali Vijay, and bring in Akshar Patel for Dhawan. Akshar is an all-rounder, and Bhuvneshwar Kumar should be ready for the next test and should walk in for Mohammed Shami. MSD to bat 6, Akshar, Ashwin and Bhuvi to bat 7, 8 and 9. Sydney, if its a traditional track, should have something for the spinners, so playing Akshar along with Ashwin won't be a bad move really.
But with the terrible show from Rahul, they might retain Shikhar who has been getting a few 20s, and might bring Raina in at 6. If they indeed want to make a change and don't want to bring in the all-round option of Akshar who hasn't scored a first class ton yet, I can understand that, but I would be furious if its Rohit coming back in, would prefer Raina instead.

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Re: Australia v India, 3rd Test, Melbourne

Post by Pal Joey on Tue 30 Dec 2014, 8:55 am

msp83 wrote:The other interesting call was to bring Cheteshwar Pujara down the order. I had suggested something similar before the match start, but I was thinking more of Pujara coming down a position followed by the other 2 guys. But think Dhoni got it better, Pujara to drop down the order, Kohli and Rahane to stay where there were as they have been doing quite well. Rahul played another absolutely horrendous shot and failed again, and Pujara made only 21 before he was done in by a beauty from Left-Arm Spinner Mitchell Johnson!. However, Pujara batted some 70 deliveries in such a critical situation. Even in such a patchy patch that he's been going through, the sight of Pujara coming in at the fall of Virat Kohli was far more reassuring than that of KL Rahul or Rohit Sharma doing so.

Yes, it was an obvious strategy to strengthen the 4-5-6 middle order which would be better suited to offer more resistance in the defensive mode.

However, the flip side of that is that it disrupted the Indian batting rhythm somewhat when Rahul got out quickly and then Vijay would have had to adjust his game a little - given that he is more accustomed to batting with Pujara at 3.

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Re: Australia v India, 3rd Test, Melbourne

Post by Pal Joey on Tue 30 Dec 2014, 9:12 am

Breaking News:

MS Dhoni has just retired from Test cricket... effective immediately.

(Maybe msp or KP-f can set up a new thread?)

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Re: Australia v India, 3rd Test, Melbourne

Post by kingraf on Tue 30 Dec 2014, 9:25 am

Suspect Kpf is doing the happy dance now... As a test captain, I think he was good, at times very good, especially until the last two years. But today's performance as a skipper, 2-0 down, with at least a sniff in the match, to get up and decide, right we're just gonna go for the draw was disconcerting, especially given the fact that it was India's best bowling innings to date. As a captain, fair enough. New blood was definitely needed, maybe blood which wasn't so accustomed to being thrashed away from home they couldn't see see openings, was needed. As a WK/batsman, I think it's a rather sizeable loss. Maybe jumped before pushed?
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Re: Australia v India, 3rd Test, Melbourne

Post by Pal Joey on Tue 30 Dec 2014, 9:33 am

Oh to be a fly on the wall in the Indian dressing room.

He has achieved so much for Indian cricket overall but I agree he seemed even more casual (some say unresponsive) in the Test arena of late.

Interesting question, raf.
Maybe he was pushed... the pressure has certainly been on him.
If he jumped; then he knows best. Better to freshen up and concentrate on the World Cup.

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Re: Australia v India, 3rd Test, Melbourne

Post by guildfordbat on Tue 30 Dec 2014, 10:57 am

Loaded Dog, msp and distinguished others - there's an interesting article on espn cricinfo from Jarrod Kimber about the declaration. I can't attach from here but perhaps someone else can? Anyway, Kimber emphasises that there were ''no absolutes'' in this situation and that criticisms would have been made from different quarters whenever the declaration came (and even if it didn't!).

Kimber also touches on Dog's point that the declaration appeared to come from Lehmann.

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Re: Australia v India, 3rd Test, Melbourne

Post by Pal Joey on Tue 30 Dec 2014, 11:14 am

I think this is the one, Guildford.

http://www.espncricinfo.com/australia-v-india-2014-15/content/story/814955.html

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Re: Australia v India, 3rd Test, Melbourne

Post by guildfordbat on Tue 30 Dec 2014, 11:38 am

That's it - nice one, LD!

Whatever Smith chose to do, he was always going to come in for a bit of criticism if Australia didn't win this Test.

However, he would have been absolutely slated if Australia had lost it. Smith avoided that scenario and ensured the series was won. Nothing too wrong with that. I fully accept that mindset probably equates to the English and old fashioned approach that Jarrod Kimber mentions in the article!

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Re: Australia v India, 3rd Test, Melbourne

Post by kingraf on Tue 30 Dec 2014, 11:44 am

Well, not completely correct, there is a "right" decision in test cricket... It's the one which wins you the match. Maybe it is a little harsh to criticise Smith, but it can't be overstated how differently Clarke would most likely have reacted in a similar situation. Lest we forget just two tests ago, he declared overnight on a pretty decent pitch, against a team which scored 400+ in the first innings. Or declaring while behind in the Windies.
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Re: Australia v India, 3rd Test, Melbourne

Post by guildfordbat on Tue 30 Dec 2014, 12:07 pm

Raf - I actually think it's to Smith's credit that he's not attempting to emulate Clarke at this stage.

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Re: Australia v India, 3rd Test, Melbourne

Post by Pal Joey on Tue 30 Dec 2014, 12:59 pm

It's not so conclusive that Clarke would have reacted so differently either.

As most of us know, this MCG pitch was much better for batting on the last day than the Adelaide one. Completely different scenario really.

The main thing is to win the series. Whether it's 4-0, 3-0, 2-1 or 2-0 is only a matter of degree.

As I said earlier, we are a little spoilt when it comes to expecting whitewashes... nice though they are to see in the record books. Don't forget also that the last ones probably don't reveal the true picture - there were several critical moments when the tide could have turned the other way or a bit of luck favoured the winning side in those previous series. Always looks comprehensive on paper though. I'm also aware that Australia have also been on the wrong side of such results in India too.

It's much worse captaincy not to chase down a mere 8 runs to win the first Test of a 2 Test series as happened in Jo'burg just over a year ago.
That was pretty diabolical behaviour from Graeme Smith but that was sort of expected in a way. Australia would have definitely gone for that win... or failed trying. Steve Smith wouldn't have blinked twice either. He would have had more faith in his tail-enders for sure (faced with the same scenario).

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Re: Australia v India, 3rd Test, Melbourne

Post by kingraf on Tue 30 Dec 2014, 1:15 pm

It wasn't so much a criticism of Smith, as it was an acknowledgement of a factor in public sentiment. Personally, I'd have declared a lot earlier. Not overnight, but not more than 15 overs later. Certainly not at the end of a session. Any time a team has to chase 300 on a fifth day, I'd say they are odds on to lose, especially one which bats with three number elevens. I do understand why he chose not to chase the game, 2-0 up. But it's not what I would have done, and as I have said, he probably won't get many safer environments to learn how to press against time (2-0 up).
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Re: Australia v India, 3rd Test, Melbourne

Post by Pal Joey on Tue 30 Dec 2014, 1:21 pm

Yeah, as I said earlier: me neither... I wouldn't have waited so long.

It (the public/journos) has sort of gone off here. It will simmer down again quickly though.

Looking forward to the last one. A few team changes on both sides.

I have a strange feeling they will rest Harris again and experiment with someone else - Starc again or maybe even Pattinson?
Just throwing that one out there to ponder. Also Agar is in the squad but that could well be a smokescreen.

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Re: Australia v India, 3rd Test, Melbourne

Post by msp83 on Tue 30 Dec 2014, 1:43 pm

A very unexpected change has to be made to the Indian lineup with Wriddhiman Saha taking over wicketkeeping duties as India's best ever wicketkeeper batsman retires from test cricket.
Dhoni has been a very unique cricketer. He had a style of his own whether its keeping or batting, and in India's test history, there has been none better in that combination of keeper-batsman.

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Re: Australia v India, 3rd Test, Melbourne

Post by kingraf on Tue 30 Dec 2014, 2:19 pm

What do you reckon msp? Jumped or pushed? Certainly understandable, South Africa-India is certainly a big series, but hardly marquee for either country, except our money men, so you can understand him not being motivated to hang on that long.
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Re: Australia v India, 3rd Test, Melbourne

Post by msp83 on Wed 31 Dec 2014, 11:26 am

Think he has jumped before being pushed.......

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Re: Australia v India, 3rd Test, Melbourne

Post by alfie on Wed 31 Dec 2014, 4:53 pm

The Loaded Dog wrote:Yeah, as I said earlier: me neither... I wouldn't have waited so long.

It (the public/journos) has sort of gone off here. It will simmer down again quickly though.

Looking forward to the last one. A few team changes on both sides.

I have a strange feeling they will rest Harris again and experiment with someone else - Starc again or maybe even Pattinson?
Just throwing that one out there to ponder. Also Agar is in the squad but that could well be a smokescreen.

Didn't see the last day as was travelling ; but I was a bit surprised to read of the seemingly less than whole hearted pursuit of victory by the new Australian skipper. Bet Warne was going off his head Smile
But I imagine Smith was thinking partly of the tiredness factor on his fast bowlers , who had done a lot of work only a day or so before...plus as LD says the pitch was still fine for batting. Not certain Clarke would have played it too differently at 2-0 up ; though he might have pushed his batsmen to get on a bit more in the morning ? Calling it off with four to go doesn't worry me if the bowlers were tired and nothing happening ; even rabbits can block a few balls when they have to.

Reckon Dhoni has made the right call . He looked as if he had just about had enough of the long game , at least overseas. And this gives Kohli another fairly pressure free opportunity to tune his skills against a strong opponent as he grows into the role. He is ready , I think , now that his batting form has bounced back from the England tour horrors , and I think he'll do a good job. Bit punchier than Dhoni - like Ganguly ? Good luck to him.
And best wishes to MSD who did a lot for India ...and entertained us all on the way clap


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