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Sunday, December 30, 2018

India wins at MCG ~ leads Series - Jasprit Bumrah is M0M

A relaxed Sunday morning brought happiness !  ~  Jasprit Bumrah claimed his ninth wicket in Melbourne test -  the first India quick to reach such heights in Australia, when Pat Cummins' fine innings ended with a catch to first slip. Then in the next over, Ishant Sharma found Nathan Lyon's top edge as he hooked and with that, it was all over.  Reaction in Aussie media was sharp – one critic wrote on Sydney Morning Herald : ‘ Missing from the summer of cricket: Steve Smith, David Warner and reverse swing for Australia’s bowlers. It’s unlikely the last of those three will give interviews or shoot commercials, but the dark art is in its own dark place.’
Before we read more .. .. this offie played with little success (2 ODIs 2 wickets) – 24 tests – 53 wickets in a career spanning 7 years – never played against India !! – but in news !!

Brief Scorecard summarises :  India 7 for 443 dec (Pujara 106, Kohli 82, Agarwal 76, Rohit 63*) and 8 for 106 dec (Cummins 6-27) beat Australia 151 (Bumrah 6-33) and 261 (Cummins 63) by 137 runs.

Though it provides great comfort now, this morning Indians were scratching google and had started criticizing Ravi Shastri and Kohli for not enforcing follow-on and chosing to bat again and lose wickets in a heap .. .. for the first session on day 5 was washed out – India needing 2 wickets and Cummins seem to bat to eternity.  The web search  on  Google Trends for 'Melbourne weather' from India went through the roof but in the end, it took them just 27 balls to retain the Border-Gavaskar trophy. .. .. then after early lunch – match resumed, Bumrah claimed Cummins.  "The credit has to go to our bowlers, especially Jasprit, they have been outstanding," Kohli said after the game. "The way Jasprit bowled in Perth it was almost criminal not to get wickets, but the management told him they would come in bunches."

Australia had managed to take the match into the final day and the first part of Sunday was spent with the teams kicking their heels in the dressing room as showers scudded across the ground. Any early lunch was taken at 12.15pm but during the interval, the skies cleared to allow India to resume their quest.   The new-ball was only five overs old and was in the hands of Ishant and Bumrah, the latter immediately making life uncomfortable with his angle and bounce as he has throughout the match.  Cummins had put Australia's top order to shame with his display,  and there were hopes  of a maiden Test hundred  and threatening a go at the target were there – relieved to see them vanish  when Bumrah found the outside edge and Cheteshwar Pujara, the man who set this all up for India, grasped a good low catch at first slip. There was no final-wicket stand to annoy India when Ishant sent down a bouncer to Lyon who hooked and sent the top edge to Rishabh Pant to allow the celebrations to begin.

The Border-Gavaskar trophy has been retained, a wonderful end to 2018 for India, but an even bigger prize awaits in Sydney at the start of the New Year. "Nothing will distract us from winning that last Test," Kohli said, "we've worked really hard for this." Australian captain Tim Paine took  a thinly-veiled swipe at both the MCG and SCG curators, lamenting the state of pitches that the skipper suggested had played into India’s hands. The Australians are expecting the SCG wicket to turn, calling in Queensland spinning all-rounder Marnus Labuschagne to their squad.  You never go to India and get served up green wickets. And they’ve come out here and we’ve served some wickets up that have really suited them. Having said that they’ve outplayed us and we’ve got to go to Sydney and improve."

Australia captain Tim Paine tormented by Rishab Pant as ‘temporary captain’ has  thrown out the welcome mat to exiled duo Steve Smith and David Warner as selectors contemplate ringing the changes after a 137-run defeat in the third Test.  Selectors have sent an SOS to rookie Marnus Labuschagne by including him in what is now a 14-man squad for the Sydney Test, leaving opener Aaron Finch and all-rounder Mitchell Marsh sweating over their futures after Australia's problematic batting failed in Melbourne.

Earlier - Commentator Kerry O'Keeffe has responded to the anger of India's team over his on-air comments during the Boxing Day Test at the MCG.  On day one of the Test, O'Keeffe had run down debutant Mayank Agarwal's Ranji Trophy triple-century, saying it must have come against the "'Jalandhar Railways Canteen Staff". Then on day 4  O'Keeffe was getting some stick from his fellow commentators for struggling to pronounce some of the India players' names, when he said this: "Why would you call your kid Cheteshwar Jadeja?" mixing up the two names he had been struggling with and using a slight accent to pronounce them. It was accompanied by loud chuckles from the rest of the commentary box. Both comments caused plenty of social-media backlash from Indian fans against O'Keeffe. 

While the Test featured plenty of banter between the players, the chat off the field wasn't all in good taste. Mitchell Marsh and Virat Kohli have been booed by the MCG crowd, and some of the spectators in the infamous Bay 13 had to be evicted after they were heard making racist chants of "show us your visa.  Spectators in the MCG's famous Bay 13 were ejected and others warned after racially motivated taunting of Indian players and spectators raised multiple complaints over the first three days of the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne. Chants of "show us your visa" were a regular feature of the first two days, leading to a formal warning from Cricket Australia to spectators in the public area in the bottom tier of the MCG's Great Southern Stand that if the chanting did not stop then the entire bay would be ejected from the ground. Monitoring of the crowd on day three led to several fans being evicted.

A CA spokesperson said: "Cricket Australia takes a zero tolerance stance against any form of abuse or racial vilification at any of our matches, whether it be towards fans, players, or staff.

2018 ended on a high note for the Indian bowlers – in 1970s – there was the famous spinning quartet – Bishan Bedi, Erapalli Prasanna, Bhagwat Chandrasekhar and Srinivasan Venkatraghavan – Kapil Dev’s debut sought to change the way Indian bowling attack was – though there were to be Doshi, Shivlal Yadav, Maninder, Laxman Siva, Kumble, Harbhajan, Ashwin and more .. .. Indian team too now has classy pace bowlers .. on this tour we have Jasprit Bumrah, Ishant Sharma, Mohammad Shami doing so well with Bhuvneswar Kumar and Umesh Yadav & Hardik Pandya in the ranks. The 70s and 80s clearly belonged to those fearsome pacers of the Caribbean -   Andy Roberts, Michael Holding, Joel Garner, Colin Croft. .. .. there were many others to follow including Patrick Patterson, Ambrose, Walsh, Bishop and .. .. and in 1984 the legendary trio of Joel Garner, Michael Holding and Malcolm Marshall took 130 wickets.  That stands broken with Indian trio of Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami and Ishant Sharma taking 136 wickets in 2018 (please don’t jump to say that they are not in the same league !)  ~ the next in the row is the South African pace trio of Morne Morkel, Makhaya Ntini and Dale Steyn who managed to take 123 wickets in 2008. Bumrah has  finished with 48 wickets in nine Tests, Shami 47 (12) and Ishant 41(11). 

Well done and appreciations to the man of the match Jasprit Bumrah

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
30th  Dec 2018.

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