WICKET! Smith run out (Jadeja) 131 (Australia 338 all out)
Smith again goes after Bumrah and this time he’s got the width to do it, swatting him to the deep midwicket fence. A couple flicked fine follow and then the batsmen again want two backward of square but Jadeja has an evil arm and throws the stumps down from distance. Incredible fielding, lethal accuracy.
105th over: Australia 331-9 (Smith 124, Hazlewood 1) It’s T20 time as Smith tries the ramp to Jadeja and fails, then tries the ramp again and succeeds, picking up two runs behind the keeper. A single follows and Hazlewood again does well to see off the remaining two deliveries. What’s the rush? These two could go on like this all day.
104th over: Australia 326-9 (Smith 119, Hazlewood 1) Smith premeditates a crude slog – can’t really describe it as anything other – and takes Bumrah for two over the covers, before playing a far more cultured ramp-like shot to a short ball that flies over the slip cordon for four. A single puts Hazlewood on strike and the No 11 does what every No 11 should do: take a single to put the star bat back on strike. A beautiful shot from Smith follows, a straight punch to a yorker that goes down the ground for three. Most would’ve done well to simply keep it out. Hazlewood sees off the final ball – it’s 11 off the over – and Smith is on strike again.
WICKET! Lyon lbw b Jadeja 0 (Australia 315-9)
103rd over: Australia 315-9 (Smith 109, Hazlewood 0)
With eight wickets down, the ton safely tucked under the belt, Smith now wants runs. And fair enough, too. A deft slog-sweep for four is followed by a single and unfortunately this puts Lyon on strike. The No 10 bunts away a dot ball before being struck on his toes, plumb in front by Jadeja, and is confidently given out leg before. Lyon decides to waste everyone’s time by demanding a review, and that’s precisely what it is: a waste of time. Tell your story walking, Gaz.
WICKET! Starc c Gill b Saini 25 (Australia 310-8)
102nd over: Australia 310-8 (Smith 104, Lyon 0)
Big stand-and-deliver six from Starc, who barely moves his body or feet to Saini but a slight swivel of the hips is enough to clear the square-leg rope. Extraordinary shot. The No 9 – No 9, really??!! – tries a similar shot and picks up two but then attempts another ambitious shot and this time runs out of lives, holing out to Gill running around from mid-on. Nice, cameo knock from Starc.
101st over: Australia 301-7 (Smith 104, Starc 16) Jadeja continues in the way only Jadeja can: at breakneck speed. Both batsmen pick up a couple of singles and we carry on.
How’s this for emotion?
100th over: Australia 299-7 (Smith 103, Starc 15) I suspect that with the Smith hundred out of the way, we might see Starc swing a bit more freely from now on. He doesn’t get a chance in this over, getting bombed by Navdeep Saini with the short ball. Fourth time lucky, Starc flinches away a single to square leg. Smith drops and runs another to put Starc back on strike for the last ball. Starc knows what’s coming, and hooks it for four! A bit of a hoick that does the job. And it’s a no-ball, so Starc has to face another. Misses this one and nearly top-edges it to the keeper.
And that’s me done. Thanks for your company, Scott Heinrich has you from here.
99th over: Australia 292-7 (Smith 102, Starc 10) A Jadeja maiden to Smith, aside from a no-ball. So it’s not a maiden, but you know what I mean.
Thanks Geoff. Well done, Steve Smith. Well done, India. It’s been such a topsy-turvy day – match, for that matter – that it’s hard to say who’s on top. But runs on the board always count for plenty. And Smith’s ton, after a couple of lean Tests, will do wonders for the confidence of not only the man, but the team he represents. Looking forward to the rest of the day. If you’d like to have your say, you know the drill.
Century! Steve Smith 102 from 201 balls
98th over: Australia 291-7 (Smith 102, Starc 10) Saini bowling to Starc, fast and full and Starc just thuds him down the ground for four. Over mid-on. Now Starc gets a single from the third ball of the over, to cover. Good get.
Smith has three balls to face. Defends the first. Inside edge from the second, and Starc sets off but again it’s Jadeja swooping at midwicket, and Smith shouts “No!”
he gets it! Walks across, squeezes three runs to deep backward square!
His first Test century since Manchester 2019. Which sounds more dramatic than it is, given the scarcity of Test matches since then, but it’s still his ninth Test since last time which is a very unusual gap in the Smith career.
That’s century number 27, catching up with Virat Kohli for now, and also levelling Allan Border’s record. That means that the only Australians yet ahead of him are Clarke, Bradman, Hayden, S. Waugh, and Ponting.
97th over: Australia 283-7 (Smith 99, Starc 5) Hahaha. Starc facing Jadeja, four dot balls, then Smith gets strike for the last ball! This time it’s an outside edge from Starc, bouncing wide of slip and it gets him three runs. Smith faces…
and defends back down the pitch.
96th over: Australia 280-7 (Smith 99, Starc 2) Saini bowls to Starc, and this is all action. A wide ball and a big swish, fresh air. A good bouncer that hits the front of Starc’s top glove, up in front of his sternum, and luckily for the batsman doesn’t flick up in the air but goes straight to ground. A length ball that Starc also swishes at and misses as it angles across him, left-handed batsman facing a right-armer. A bouncer down the leg side that Starc is nowhere near. Fifth ball, he pushes into the covers and runs! Gives Smith one whole ball to face…
and it won’t bring a run! Jadeja at forward square leg swoops.
95th over: Australia 279-7 (Smith 99, Starc 1) Ha. Mitchell Starc to the crease with two balls to go, and his star batting teammate on 99, so he pushes the sixth ball for a single and keeps the strike.
WICKET! Cummins b Jadeja 0, Australia 279-7
Provided some support, but he’s gone! A worthwhile bowling change, Rahane brings back Jadeja with his left-arm orthos. A few dots, then Smith forces a single through cover. Goes to 99. Cummins has three balls to face and wants to just block them all. That number stays at three as Jadeja gets called for a no-ball, overstepping. But the re-bowled delivery works in the bowler’s favour, as he floats up a delivery that lands right on the popping crease, underneath the batsman. Cummins just mistimes his defensive shot, playing directly over the top of the ball and getting the bat down half a second too late.
94th over: Australia 276-6 (Smith 98, Cummins 0) Smith again gets on top of the bounce of a ball outside off, hitting it hard behind point but there’s a sweeper who’ll stop the boundary. Smith adds two, moves to 97. So close to that ton now that he can taste it. Takes on a shortish ball from Saini, doesn’t middle it, drags a single to deep square and keeps strike.
93rd over: Australia 273-6 (Smith 95, Cummins 0) Bumrah continues, but Smith doesn’t look fussed. It’s really ominous for India, not just today but for his next three innings. This is implacable hungry Smith, this is non-giving-up school-guy Smith. Takes a single. Then four byes after Bumrah’s bouncer starts to swing late after passing the batsman and Pant can’t glove it.
Max Bonnell has been in the stats books. “The answers to Mr Herman’s question that spring to mind are Jack Badcock and Frank Hayes. Badcock hit 118 on debut but six more Tests produced only 42 more runs. Hayes hit 106 on debut but in 8 more Tests never again reached 30 and ended up with an average of 15. I don’t count players with only one Test as they never failed!”
92nd over: Australia 268-6 (Smith 94, Cummins 0) After 23 overs for Bumrah and 25 overs for Siraj, the third fast bowler will finally get past 7 overs. Navdeep Saini on debut, picked up Will Pucovski’s wicket yesterday but hasn’t had many more opportunities. Second ball he overpitches and Smith drives through midwicket for four! Saini’s first two balls yesterday were boundaries as well. Smith is looking for another, flaying a wider ball behind point, but India have a man back for that. Cummins on strike and Saini pitches up at him, getting him stretching forward.
91st over: Australia 263-6 (Smith 89, Cummins 0) Smith is easing down the accelerator. Stands up tall and punches Bumrah off the back foot through cover for four. Hell of a shot. That’s difficult. Then gets a straighter ball and on-drives it for two, and adds a single next up. Seven runs against Bumrah with a new ball, solid work.
90th over: Australia 256-6 (Smith 82, Cummins 0) Now it’s Siraj producing a good ball, beating Smith on the inside edge. Smashes into pad, but it was the back thigh, too high and maybe just hit him outside the line. (A pointless Law, outside the line. Get rid of it.) The cordon really like the appeal but Siraj and Rahane decide not to review, correctly.
Smith pulls a bouncer for a single, and Cummins sees out three balls with cautious defence. Cummins gave Smith great support in the Brisbane Ashes Test of 2017. Here’s hoping we get a Brisbane Test this year – the latest Australian city with a virus problem.
89th over: Australia 255-6 (Smith 81, Cummins 0) So the bowlers are into the bowlers, and predictably the first ball Patrick Cummins receives is a bouncer, down the leg side a bit, but still making the batsman tangle himself up to get bat and gloves out of the way.
WICKET! Paine b Bumrah 1, Australia 255-6
Bowled! The Australian captain is gone! Bumrah is good before lunch, good after lunch, the perfect aperitif or the ideal dessert. And that delivery was peaches and cream. That was gorgeous. It starts from a wide angle, looks like it will pass well outside off stump, but swings in a touch and then seams in a mile. Paine is only pushing at it defensively but it beats his inside edge and hits the top of off stump. Perfection.
88th over: Australia 252-5 (Smith 80, Paine 0) The normal off stump line to Smith, and he doesn’t mind that. Gets back into his old rhythm of stepping across and knocking a run behind square leg. Two runs in fact. Siraj bounces him, but leg side and unthreatening. As soon as he bowls length Smith is working another run. That brings Paine on strike from the last ball, and he’s hit on the pad shouldering arms! Huge shout. That was probably too high, but that sort of non-shot deserves to be given out just on principle. A nice in-ducker from Siraj that flummoxed Paine completed. Rahane doesn’t want to review.
87th over: Australia 249-5 (Smith 77, Paine 0) Bumrah bowls a maiden to Paine, who leaves and blocks solidly.
An email in from John Starbuck. “I reckon that at this stage of weather intervention this match will be a draw, which leaves the remainder of the series as a higher tension situation than we had a right to expect. Cricket: the gift that keeps on giving, if you have sufficient patience and a high tolerance threshold.Also, short-pitched bowling: as a fan of Harold Larwood, whom I once met, I agree that it is a part of the game. In the long-ago times I used to play, I was fairly tall but learned to duck everything except the wide stuff which begged to be hooked, being caught on the boundary notwithstanding.”
“By the way, thanks for promoting me to Captain yesterday, though in the 1980s, at work, I was known as the Colonel because of wearing short-sleeved green shirts (with epaulettes) in summer. How are the mighty fallen and careers dwindled.”
Here’s the thought process that took me addressing John as Captain Starbuck yesterday. Starbuck was Ahab’s first mate in Moby Dick. Then in early-season X Files, Dana Scully’s father was a former Navy man, and he used to call her Starbuck. He appeared to her in dreams after he died, wearing his uniform. So somewhere in my head, I conflated Scully Senior being a captain with Starbuck being a captain, and thence we arrived.
86th over: Australia 249-5 (Smith 77, Paine 0) Siraj to Smith, looking good off the back foot, punching to cover. Two slips, gully, point, cover, mid-off, and we’re back to a more normal off-side field rather than the strategy they employed with the older ball. A maiden over.
85th over: Australia 249-5 (Smith 77, Paine 0) Bumrah has one ball left in his over that was interrupted by lunch when the wicket fell. Paine leaves it outside off stump.
An email in from Murray Henman:
“I’m in Brisbane, so I’m thinking one silver lining of this weekend’s lockdown is some uninterrupted weekend cricket watching. One question you or one of the readers might be able to answer: Who would be the player who had the least successful Test career after making a century on debut?”
Well, logically it would have to be Andy Ganteaume, who was (and may well one day be again) the only player to average more than Bradman. He made 112 in his only innings for the West Indies. The only other player I can think of with one match and one ton was New Zealand’s Rodney Redmond. If there are any more, let me know.
The reason that Andy lost top spot is that Kurtis Patterson currently averages 144 from two Tests, but he may get the chance to play again and reduce that record.
Lunch – Australia 249 for 5
Oh, this has got interesting. With 84.5 overs bowled and a new ball in hand, India have worked their way through half the Australian batting line-up. We’ve got Smith at the crease looking very solid, and we’ll have the captain Tim Paine joining him after the break. The occasional ratty moment from this surface suggests that it will get harder to bat on later in the match. Australia still have the resources to bat big here and get 400 or more, or India could winnow through and keep them to around 300. Game very much on.
WICKET! Green lbw Bumrah 0, Australia 249-5
Smith can’t save Green from Bumrah though! A few minutes left, time for Bumrah’s over and maybe one more, but India won’t need one more. Bumrah nails this one, seam movement cutting into the right-hander, beating his defensive push, hitting him just under the knee roll in front of off stump. Green doesn’t bother reviewing, and DRS would have shown it smashing the top of middle stump regardless. He’s lasted 21 balls and half an hour or so, a decent span in the middle, but Green has still gone for a duck.
84th over: Australia 249-4 (Smith 77, Green 0) Smith soaking up a lot of the strike here, which is probably in Green’s favour with five minutes to lunch. Flicks two runs from the final ball from Siraj.
83rd over: Australia 247-4 (Smith 75, Green 0) A funny looking pull shot from Smith to Bumrah, off balance, for a single. Bumrah holding firm, that’s the only score from the over.
82nd over: Australia 246-4 (Smith 74, Green 0) Siraj the new-ball partner, not Saini, who hasn’t had much work to do in this match: seven overs compared to Siraj in his 21st. Siraj is surprised by the outswing, which carries the ball so wide of the bat that it gets called wide. Then he bowls an in-ducker that Green leaves, not very far from his stumps. Green drives nicely but mid-on dives and saves, keeps him on strike. Siraj swings in at the pads and gets an inside edge into pad, false shot, lbw risk.
81st over: Australia 245-4 (Smith 73, Green 0) Swing from Bumrah with the new ball, mostly outside off and left. The last ball Smith has no choice about leaving, it screams past his bat. Angled in and it jags massively, and takes off from the surface. Smith does a re-enactment with his hand of that savage bounce.
There’s something to this, though is it just an Australian thing? Something I reckon we’ve seen across a few teams in the last ten years or so. The number of times you see players get genuinely badged, or get through the shot while turning and be hit on the side of the helmet while standing in the line of the ball, seems frequent. Maybe it’s more an approach of standing and delivering rather than moving out of the line?
80th over: Australia 245-4 (Smith 73, Green 0) Ashwin gets through an over for a run to Smith, and now the new missile will be brought out by fourth umpire Claire Polosak, who in this role is the first woman to be on the roster for a men’s Test.
79th over: Australia 244-4 (Smith 72, Green 0) Jadeja drops short again, he’s bowled a few of those today, and Smith nails the cut shot for four. He doesn’t tend to get out from this stage of an innings, Smith. Now he’s into the 70s with another cut for four! Not quite as short but well played. India put a fielder back, and Smith drives square to that man for one. Green drives solidly to mid-off, no run.
New ball due in one over. Use it, or more spin? Give it to your spinners?
78th over: Australia 235-4 (Smith 63, Green 0) Smith plays a couple of straight drives, either side of the wicket, for two and then for one. Green defends the rest from Ashwin, a big stride forward. Ashwin gets one lbw shout away early, but anything that hits the giant Green above the knee roll must be going over the stumps.
77th over: Australia 232-4 (Smith 60, Green 0) Cameron Green to the middle, defends the last ball of the over.
WICKET! Wade c Bumrah b Jadeja 13, Australia 232-4
That is such a waste. Wade has looked a million times better coming in down the order than he did opening: he hits a crisp straight drive for four against Jadeja, then nails yet another sweep shot into the pads of Vihari. But those were along the ground. Wade forces two through cover. But still, having taken six from the over already, he decides he wants six more in one hit over midwicket. Charges, tries to swing across the line, Jadeja darts it in flatter, Wade isn’t to the pitch of the ball, but carries through with the attempted loft regardless. Gets a big skew high towards mid-on, exactly the same way that he mis-hit the ball in Melbourne trying to smash Aswhin. Bumrah has a much easier catch than Jadeja did that day, though. Nonsensical dismissal from someone who is hitting the ball so well.
76th over: Australia 226-3 (Smith 60, Wade 7) Now Vihari’s in the firing line again! He’s at short leg for Ashwin bowling to Smith, and this time Smith sweeps four that may have taken a small deflecting from Vihari’s shin pad down near the ankle. On the bounce, not a catching chance.