Paine’s men let ball give right an­swers

Townsville Bulletin - - SPORT - RUS­SELL GOULD SR

FI­NALLY a ball was bowled and a host of pre- match ques­tions re­ceived at least tem­po­rary an­swers on a Test day won by Aus­tralia.

A last ball run- out of In­dia’s lone re­sis­tance Chetesh­war Pu­jara for a stoic 123, by a tir­ing Pat Cum­mins, was an ex­cla­ma­tion point on a great day for the home team.

The war of words, or world of words tossed around in the lead- up never set­tled on a proper an­swer as to not only how Aus­tralia would play, but whether In­dia could cope with it.

Would Tim Paine’s team be nice and would they play the “Aus­tralian way”? That in it­self had no clear def­i­ni­tion. It was ag­gres­sive, but not vo­cally, only phys­i­cally. Body lan­guage and all that.

The skip­per said “be­ing nice” never came into it, even though the PR of­fen­sive post the South African scan­dal sug­gested a friend­lier ap­proach was prefer­able.

As the sun set on the Ade­laide Oval and the score­board had In­dia 9- 250 the red Kook­aburra had done most of the talk­ing any­way.

There were a few bold stares from the Aussie bowlers as well as some mut­ter­ings. Mitch Starc let slash­ing In­dian keeper Rishabh Pant know he wasn’t long for the sheds too.

“Keep blaz­ing away, champ,” Starc said be­fore Pant was out for a flashy 25.

But it was the bowler’s ef­forts, not words, which gave re­newed hope to the fans.

There was no muz­zle on the home side, not even after Paine lost his third straight toss and his men were sent in to field on a scorcher.

It could have been cause groans with the mer­cury headed to­wards the high 30s, the wicket look­ing a bit flat and the In­dian bat­ting lineup boast­ing the world’s best.

Virat Kohli had, after all, three hun­dreds in his last four digs in Ade­laide.

But Paine and coach Justin Langer had pointed to how fresh their front- line bowlers were, the same at­tack which looked like the linch­pin of a side boast­ing two open­ing bat­ters who share only two com­pleted Tests be­tween them.

Starc was the only fast bowler who went to the Unit- ed Arab Emi­rates in Oc­to­ber, and he’d played in just a lone T20 since.

Josh Ha­zle­wood, who so many pun­dits picked to take more wick­ets than any­one this se­ries, had all but been wrapped in cot­ton wool since Cape Town. Pat Cum­mins much the same.

So they let rip and set Aus­tralia on a course back to­wards the sort of side they had been be­fore the most un­set­tling time in the game since World Se­ries cricket.

Their plans were near per­fect, ex­e­cu­tion close to it to. The catch­ing matched the bowl­ing stan­dards.

The In­dian open­ers went quickly, with only 15 runs on the board, which brought Kohli to the crease.

He’s a man for any sit­u­a­tion. But he’s hu­man too, and was brought un­done by a well- ex­e­cuted plan to get him driv­ing and a bril­liant Us­man Khawaja catch.

The In­di­ans were down by tea.

In­dian num­ber three Pu­jara was the only out­lier. He re­sisted all day with his fight­ing cen­tury, bat­ting as the pitch de­manded. But his part­ners didn’t last long. six

HIGH FIVE: Mitchell Starc. right, cel­e­brat­ing the wicket of Ishant Sharma.

Us­man Khawaja, right, cel­e­brates his bril­liant catch to dis­miss In­dia skip­per Virat Kohli.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.