How runs and, er, runs proved Matt had the stom­ach to guts this out

The Cricket Paper - - FEATURE - from Adam Collins and Ge­off Lemon from the ABC Down Un­der

The boys are sep­a­rated by a few thou­sand miles but there’s still lots of sto­ries to process, both in In­dia and Aus­tralia... Ge­off Lemon: That was… ev­ery­thing, in mi­cro­cosm. First day at Pune, I mean. It had all the po­ten­tial that Aus­tralian bats­men can show in dif­fi­cult con­di­tions, then all its un­do­ing. A frus­trat­ing day and a de­light­ful day in patches. But I’m still left think­ing of the op­por­tu­ni­ties lost amid the ground gained. Adam Collins: As our col­league Dan Bret­tig put it, nei­ther as good nor bad as it should have been. Still, if you start as you plan to go on, at least Matt Ren­shaw’s ca­reer and tour are in good shape. We’ll come to the ob­vi­ous talk­ing point from his first over­seas Test in­nings in a sec­ond. But what I found most in­sight­ful in his Press con­fer­ence was that he ac­knowl­edged that it was a pitch un­like any he had seen, yet he took the same ap­proach he al­ways does. He’s just so damn ma­ture. GL: He’s un­flap­pable. Can­not be flapped. I don’t know if you’ve ever tried to flap him, but I tell you it can­not be done. They were dif­fi­cult con­di­tions, es­pe­cially with his in­ter­rupted in­nings and his team­mates go­ing OK and then fall­ing in a heap. In the end the weight was left to him, and it was a heavy one for young shoul­ders. But he took it on, and while he didn’t get a huge score, he outscored the rest of his team. AC: Con­di­tions that couldn’t be more for­eign to him, no mat­ter where you iden­tify him as hav­ing been brought up. So im­pres­sive. Okay, I’ll do the fun bit? The bit where he nearly soiled him­self on the field. Of course, we all laughed. Even with some­thing ju­ve­nile, though, he showed ma­tu­rity. By the sounds, Steve Smith wasn’t happy with him go­ing off. But he knew he had to, and had the strength of char­ac­ter to – as my ther­a­pist would say – tend to his own needs. It was a bit cute that he didn’t know if re­tir­ing ill would mean the end of his in­nings. As­ton­ish­ing how of­ten play­ers don’t know the laws of the game they make a liv­ing from. GL: It would be a harsh um­pire to try to give you out when you’re about to… in gram­mar terms, let’s say in­ap­pro­pri­ately use a colon. I’ve been to In­dia. You’ve been to In­dia. We all know what can hap­pen, and we know that when true ur­gency strikes, even a Test match in­nings won’t stay fore­most in your mind. AC: Last point on this. How about Al­lan Bor­der lining him up say­ing he would want to be “half dead” to jus­tify re­tir­ing? Give me strength. GL: I’d hope he was jok­ing, play­ing off all the (surely mytho­log­i­cal) tough guy talk around the Dean Jones in­nings way back when. They say the heart wants what the heart wants, but the guts don’t mess around when they have a tac­ti­cal plan ei­ther. Can’t fight it, and no-one wants to see the re­sults of the at­tempt by a guy wear­ing all creams. AC: Back to the park. Mitch Marsh is go­ing to cop it from the en­tire na­tion. But that was a very handy set up from Jadeja. There’s got to be some al­lowance. Like­wise Umesh Ya­dav in that spell later on, hoop­ing it around corners with re­verse swing. Helped by the prac­tice wick­ets on the square, of course. It’ll

en­cour­age Starc and Ha­zle­wood. Bit in this for ev­ery­one. GL: Dis­agree. That Jadeja set-up was so ob­vi­ous. Turn one ball away, fire one straight. Marsh saw that a hun­dred times in Sri Lanka, and still got done. If you’re not learn­ing, what’s the point? Ditto for Snif­fer Smith, as he did in Sri Lanka, go­ing for un­needed lofts against spin af­ter play­ing him­self in. Hol­ing out is a crime with the ad­van­tage of bat­ting first on a deck that will fall to bits. AC: It may be a well-worn plan, but the ex­e­cu­tion was spot on. It’s like say­ing Ather­ton shouldn’t have nicked off to Mc­Grath the dozenth time. But let’s not go down that worm­hole. Smith, yes, cul­pa­ble. Es­pe­cially com­ing af­ter Hand­scomb’s demise, with it still un­clear what role Ren­shaw would be able to play. It was glossed over against Pak­istan, but the mini-col­lapses con­tin­ued to be a fea­ture of Aus­tralia’s sum­mer – 4-15 they lost in the fi­nal ses­sion to­day.You can’t rely on your bowlers to save you. Even if they are as ca­pa­ble as Mitch Starc. Or as de­fi­ant as Josh Ha­zle­wood. GL: Ha­zle­wood’s su­per­power is the mas­sive part­ner­ship in which he doesn’t score. I was gut­ted when he fi­nally got a sin­gle. Ru­ined the whole bal­ance of the thing. But Starc was fun. Reached 1,000 runs in Tests to go with a hun­dred wick­ets. Most sixes in an in­nings at the MCG, sure, but now he has the most sixes in an in­nings at the MCA Pune Sta­dium as well. AC: Was wait­ing for you to bring that up. GL: Mind you, O’Keefe and Lyon are equal-10th all-time scor­ers at the ground with nought. AC: No-one does a non­sense stat quite like you. It is a lovely ground. Look­ing out , sun-drenched, moun­tain­ous back­drop, there’s even a ca­nine academy in the grand­stand. Beat that, Lord’s. Even if the track is go­ing to rage more than Steve O’Keefe at the disco, this could turn into a de­cent con­test. Pro­vided Aus­tralia’s spin­ners don’t get mauled, in keep­ing with that dog theme. I fear for Lyon to­mor­row. I truly do. GL: A fi­nal word on the Fi­nal Word for our guy Michael Klinger. Got his Aus­tralia cap in the T20s, made 38, 43, and 62, all at a good rate. The series slipped away thanks to some godly chas­ing from Asela Gu­naratne. But hope­fully the Klin­gon rates re­ten­tion. AC: Said he was in tears when he got the nod. Lovely story. As for the Test stuff, we’ll know a lot more by next week’s. Same time, same place, see you then.

Ha­zle­wood’s su­per power is the mas­sive part­ner­ship in which he doesn’t score. I was gut­ted when he fi­nally got a sin­gle

Across the line: Mitchell Starc hits out

Top-scorer: Matt Ren­shaw salutes his 50 as In­dia look on de­spair­ingly

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