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Monday, March 20, 2017

Unfashionable is how Aussie Press hails Indian classy innings !! Gaffaney guffaw !!

There is an outrage on social media with Smith being slammed for poor sportsmanship after pictures emerged of him appearing to hold his shoulder while celebrating Kohli's wicket.  It is the way they are – this morning’s Sydney Morning Herald while lauding the efforts of Indian batsman titled its article “ Unfashionable cricketers teach lesson in patience ”  - what has fashion and appearance to do in the classy innings ! only they know !!  in their usual way they tried hoarse on the pitches in two tests, this one appeared a beauty wearing the skin of a beast. Predictions were that the match could not last five days on this strip of rolled mud. Pundits wrote that toss is the decider.  But India won three Test matches against England recently after losing the toss, and one after winning it.

Heard of Christopher Blair Gaffaney, from Dunedin, aged 41 the Umpire – just imagine an Indian doing this !

Though would like to remember Anshuman Gaekwad for that bold innings in  Test no. 776 in April 1976 at Sabina Park, an  innings was one of raw courage taking several blows on the body and arms – the gears were not so protective those days.  I thought that his innings at Jullundur in Test 962 was the longest. He grinded the Pak attack for 671 minutes playing 436 balls scoring 201. 

Indian fans are delighted in reading the scoreline at Ranchi - : at draw of stumps on day 4 : Australia 23 for 2 (Jadeja 2-6) and 451 trail India 603 for 9 dec (Pujara 202, Saha 117, Vijay 82, Rahul 67, Cummins 4-106) by 129 runs.

Cheteshwar Pujara secured the longest occupation ever by an Indian batsman in a Test match as he and Wriddhiman Saha ground Australia into the Ranchi dust on the fourth day. The tourists were unable to maintain their shackles on the middle-order pair after a pair of close calls went against them in the morning, leaving India as the only side who can win this match. And when their chance came to bat,  Renshaw was shaky against Ashwin; Ravindra Jadeja bowled David Warner through the gate and then followed up by skidding through the nightwatchman Nathan Lyon with the day's last delivery. Jadeja's accuracy and variation of spin loom as the gravest threats to Steven Smith's bedraggled team on day five.

In all the Pujara-Saha stand was worth 199, denying Australia a wicket until the evening session when both batsmen fell in pursuit of quick runs to increase India's lead. Jadeja prolonged the punishment with a rapid fifty, celebrating with a rapier dance.  Patience has always been a strength of Pujara's, and by surpassing Rahul Dravid as the Indian batsman to spend the longest time batting in a Test, he showed fortitude of a truly rare kind. Saha offered excellent support, opening his shoulders to play attractively against a tiring Australian attack and reaching a deserved century. The comeback hero Pat Cummins  bowled with great quality for the tourists and deserved his four wickets. Closer to lunch Pujara was given out lbw to a delivery that Lyon straighted down the line of the stumps from around the wicket, but his review showed the ball to be spinning too much and also sliding past leg stump. Pujara's performance has effectively cancelled out the big hundred made by Australia's captain Smith, and put India in the ideal position to pressure the tourists on the final day.

O'Keefe's 77 overs were the sixth most ever by an Australian bowler in a Test innings, a tally not surpassed since Jim Higgs against England in 1979.  Pujara faced 525 balls, the most by an India batsman in a Test innings (where balls faced is known). The previous record was Rahul Dravid's 495 deliveries for his career-best 270 in Rawalpindi in 2004. 215 Number of balls Pujara faced from Steve O'Keefe in his innings - the second most by a batsman off a bowler in a Test innings since 2000. Mahela Jayawardene had batted 221 balls off Nicky Boje in his famous 374. Pujara scored 65 off O'Keefe at a strike rate of 30.23, and against other bowlers he scored at 44.19 - 137 runs off 310 balls.

In neighbouring Lanka, Bangla achieved a rare win on foreign soil against a strong team – in their 100th test by beating Sri Lanka with four wickets to spare at the P Sara Oval in Colombo. There were plenty of nervy moments though, especially after Shakib Al Hasan was dismissed with 29 still required in the 191-run chase. Then, umpire S Ravi adjudged Mushfiqur Rahim lbw, only to be overturned on review. In the next over, Rangana Herath could not hold on to a rather touch return catch offered by Mosaddek Hossain. It was Bangladesh's first win over Sri Lanka in Test cricket. They came into this game on the back of a timid performance in Galle. Then they had to deal with the messy axing of Mahmudullah and a late injury to wicketkeeper Liton Das. It must have been difficult to summon the focus needed to level the series.

Umpires after all are humans. Little did Umpire Chris Gaffaney know that one of his actions will get turned into a hit internet meme when he went out to do his job on the fourth day of the third test match between India and Australia. 

In the  140th  over of the Indian innings Gaffaney, after raising his finger realizing that there were no appeal from the bowler Hazlewood or the keeper Wade – settled to scratching his head.  To the bouncer, Pujara was tempted to a pull but it appeared not making contact.   Gaffaney, reacting to the appeal, started raising his finger only to quickly change his mind and end up scratching his hat.
With regards – S. Sampathkumar

20th Mar 2017.

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