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Thursday, January 3, 2019

Sydney Test ~ India wins toss - 69/1 at lunch

Test no. 2339  got off to a start this morning ~ Virat Kohli winning the toss and electing to bat – new Indian pair of Mayank Agarwal and KL Rahul, yes Rahul gets another opportunity, struggles and got out for a single digit.  Pujara and Mayank play out till lunch – the rest of the team reads :  AM Rahane, GH Vihari, RR Pant †, RA Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Shami & JJ Bumrah
Irrespective of what Kerry O Keefe says and whether the opponents were Railway canteen or otherwise - 6 batsmen out of the Indian XI have first class 300s - Rahul, Mayank, Pujara, Vihari, Pant, Jadeja.  This morning  Australia’s bowlers peppered the Indians with short balls, with Mayank Agarwal and Cheteshwar Pujara both copping body blows. Agarwal made it lunch on 42 with Pujara on 16.   Fifteen years after Steve Waugh played his emotional farewell Test at the SCG, his presence could be felt on the hallowed turf once more. The former Test captain’s son, Austin, could feature for Australia during the fourth and final Test against India. He is not part of the Australia XI, but has been named as one of the side’s four substitute fielders.  Austin played in U19 WC 2018.

Sydney is a famous tourist spot.  Forty Thousand Horseman,  a 1940 Australian war film directed by Charles Chauvel about the story of the Australian Light Horse (mounted rifleman as distinct from cavalry) which operated in the desert at the Sinai and Palestine Campaign during World War I, was shot here.  We know it too well - the popular Shankar film “Indian” – one of the hit songs was ‘telephone manipol sirippaval ivala – Melbourne malarpol melliya magala” – though the lyrical reference was to Melbourne, it was Sydney and its famous bridge  !!

It is a bridge that is  equipped for tidal flow operation, permitting the direction of traffic flow on the bridge to be altered to better suit the morning and evening rush hours' traffic patterns.  The bridge has eight lanes in total, numbered one through eight from west to east. It is the Sydney Harbour Bridge,  one of Australia's most well known and photographed landmarks. The bridge is steel  through arch bridge across Sydney Harbour that carries rail, vehicular, bicycle and pedestrian traffic between the Sydney central business district (CBD) and the North Shore. Fondly known by the locals as the 'Coathanger', the Sydney Harbour Bridge celebrated its 70th birthday  on 19th  March 2012.
Sydney  located on South east coast of the Tasman sea, is the most populous city in Australia and the state capital of New South Wales. The site of the first British colony in Australia, Sydney was established in 1788 at Sydney Cove by Arthur Phillip, commodore of the First Fleet as a penal colony. The lush Sydney Cricket Ground has hosted more than 100 tests.  Only Lords and Melbourne have hosted 100 test matches and that way it is a significant landmark.   SCG has its history from 1840s, a time when military funds were used to transform the scrubland into a playing arena of high standard.   History has it that the First test at SCG was played in Feb 1882  where Joey Palmer bowled Australia to a five wicket victory in the second Test of the series against England.

Sydney for long was heralded as spinner’s paradise – perhaps no longer, though both the teams are with 2 spinners.  If you are in doubt of  the remark  spinner’s paradise – back in Jan 1989 – Test no. 1113 Australia defeated West Indies in the 4th test of Frank Worrel trophy.  In that test, largely unheralded 34 year old leg spinner Trevor Hohns made his debut alongside Mark Taylor….. the strong WI line up of Haynes, Greenidge, Richardson, Hooper, Viv Richards, Logie, Dujon lost to the spin power.

Way back in 1978 with series 2-1 in Aussie favour, Australia batted disastrously and were dismissed for a paltry 131.  BS Chandrasekhar was the wrecker-in-chief with 15-3-30-4 and Bedi taking 3 for 49.  Karsan Ghavri bowled 7 overs; while Mohinder took one wicket in the same no. of overs conceding only 6 runs. When India batted, it was a remarkable team effort.  Gavaskar 49; Chetan Chauhan 42; Vishwanath 79; Vengsarkar 48; Kirmani 42; Ghavri 64; Prasanna 25 all made runs enabling India to declare at 396/8 !!
Madan Lal (Pic Source: / Caravan Magazine)

For a change Australians were under pressure in a turning track.  Dyson was out cheaply and at draw of stumps on day 3 Gary Cosier and Kim Hughes were at the crease with score 40/1 ; the 4th day was the rest day in the Series which had 8 balls per over.   On playing day 4, Australians lost wickets regularly and at end of day, they were 243/8 still struggling to make India bat again, but had pushed the game to the fifth day of the match.   The hero was Peter Toohey who was unbeaten with 77.

On the 5th  day morning (early morning in India) the commentator screamed when Madanlal covering lot of ground got under the skier at long leg catching Toohey off Ghavri for 85 enabling Indian win by an Innings and 2 runs.   Madanlal was a substitute fielder and those days there was the restriction that a substitute shall not stand in close-in positions nor in any special fielding positions !! Strange rule considering that substitutes were allowed to bat or bowl also in some Onedayers. That day, the commentator remarked that given his abilities, Madanlal should not be allowed to be inside the field at all as he appeared to be a specialist in any position !! Really great appreciation for the die-hard cricketer Madanlal.   Prasanna took 4; while Bedi, Chandra and Ghavri captured 2 apiece.

Look forward to India conquering Sydney challenge and winning the Series

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
3rd Jan 2019

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