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Harsh truths exposed in Test nightmare

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Australia are staring down the barrel off a massive defeat in the second Test at stumps on day three. India had a lead of 131 when they were finally dismissed on 326 on the back of captain Ajinkya Rahane’s 112 and Ravindra Jadeja’s 57. Watch Australia v India Test Series Live & Ad-Break Free During…

Australia are staring down the barrel off a massive defeat in the second Test at stumps on day three.

India had a lead of 131 when they were finally dismissed on 326 on the back of captain Ajinkya Rahane’s 112 and Ravindra Jadeja’s 57.

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From the outset of the Australian innings however, it did not go to plan.

Opener Joe Burns’ last chance appears to have been used up as he could only manage four before being dismissed as the Australian top order crumbled under some brilliant Indian bowling.

The Indian bowlers shared the wickets around, taking six wickets before Australia finally passed India’s score late in the day for a two run lead with just four wickets left.

Young gun allrounder Cam Green and Pat Cummins are at the crease on 17 and 15 respectively.

India’s dominance also arguably saw the side get the rub of the green with a controversial DRS call dismissing captain Tim Paine for just 1 off Jadeja.

The Aussie skipper was fuming over the call with the commentators erupting.

Originally given not out by Paul Reiffel, the DRS showed no mark on Hot Spot but a mark on the Snicko with Brett Lee saying “That’s not right in my opinion”.

It’s somewhat payback for the first innings when Paine survived a controversial run out call when it was inconclusive for the DRS.

He also copped what had happened to Virat Kohli during the ODI series when the Indian skipper was given out in the third ODI after the tiniest spike on Snicko despite Hot Spot being seemingly clear.

On Channel 7, umpiring legend Simon Taufel explained why it had to be given out. 

“If the ball is close to the bat (or next to the bat), and there is a spike on RTS while the ball goes past the bat or upto one frame past the bat, then that is deemed to conclusive evidence,” Taufel said.

But on Fox Sports, Mark Howard revealed there may be more of a grey area in the decision.

“The ironic thing, when the DRS came in … it was meant to get rid of the unknown, get rid of the debate, and it’s actually caused more debate,” Howard said.

“Just on the Snicko, the people in truck that work down there and analyse this stuff, they say a woody edge is a sharp spike and you see a duller spike from a scrape of a boot or a ball glancing a thigh pad.

“That’s more of a dull from what I’m told.”

But while it appears to have been a tough call with the commentators on Fox Sports believing it was the scraping of Paine’s foot rather than an edge, it’s just further exposed Australia’s middle order.

From 3/98, Australia lost 3/1 when Matthew Wade was dismissed, followed by Travis Head and Paine’s dismissal, no matter how unlucky it may have been.

With Steve Smith in a form slump, with just 10 runs in four innings, and a handful of batsman struggling for form, it shows the Aussie top order is once again looking fragile.

“Only a miracle could save the home team,” Kerry O’Keeffe said after Paine’s wicket.

Earlier he said the post-tea session would be important if Australia wanted to go close to winning this match.

Bring Warner back and bat Whiteman at five – he’s the form red-ball bat in the country #AUSvIND

— Tim Michell (@tim_michell) December 28, 2020

Whether Tim Paine feathered it or not, we have been outplayed in every session of this test & truth be told every session bar one in the last test. Lots of issues that need to be dealt with. Starting with Burns, Head & the teams loose shot making #AUSvIND

— Philip Dalidakis (@philipdalidakis) December 28, 2020

What about Warner/Khawaja as openers for the third test? 🤔 #AUSvIND #AUSvsIND

— Alexander Grant (@AlexGrantOz) December 28, 2020

Former Aussie skipper Allan Border said the Australian top order should be changed, calling the top order “a worry”.

“Joe Burns has struggled to a point where it’s almost impossible to pick him going forward,” he said. “It’s a sad thing to say that but you’ve just got to move on to another player.

“I think the bowling’s set but we just need more runs out of the top order.”

Post-match, Pat Cummins said “there are still two days left” with Australia holding onto hope of a rear-guard action.

“That’s the way we’ve got to look at it,” Cummins said after Shane Warne asked if a lead of 120 could be enough. “I thought it was a good first session and if we could try and sneak in a lead of 200, then that’s right in the game. The longer we bat out here, hopefully the wicket gets a bit tougher but anything over 100-150 would be great.”

Updates


Andrew McMurtry

Tim Paine has been given out on DRS review with the Aussie skipper fuming over the call.

With Australia 5/99, the side needed a partnership to even make India bat again.

The Aussie skipper went back to a ball and the Indian fielders went up – although not too convincingly.

But Indian captain Ajinkya Rahane sent it straight upstairs.

While there was no mark on hotspot, a spike on Snicko was enough for it to be overturned.

Paine, the commentators and mostly Australian fans on social media couldn’t believe it.

It’s somewhat payback for the first innings when Paine survived a controversial run out call when it was inconclusive for the DRS.

He also copped what had happened to Virat Kohli during the ODI series when the Indian skipper was given out in the third ODI after the tiniest spike on Snicko despite Hot Spot being seemingly clear.

But while it appears to have been a tough call with the commentators on Fox Sports believing it was the scraping of Paine’s foot rather than an edge, it’s just further exposed Australia’s middle order.

With Steve Smith in a form slump, with just 10 runs in four innings, and a handful of batsman struggling for form, it shows the Aussie top order is once again looking fragile.

“Only a miracle could save the home team,” Kerry O’Keeffe said after Paine’s wicket.

Earlier he said the post-tea session would be important if Australia wanted to go close to winning this match.

Can you get bowled out for less than 200 three times in four innings on home soil and really only make one change to your batting line-up? #AUSvIND

— Tim Michell (@tim_michell) December 28, 2020

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Whether Tim Paine feathered it or not, we have been outplayed in every session of this test & truth be told every session bar one in the last test. Lots of issues that need to be dealt with. Starting with Burns, Head & the teams loose shot making #AUSvIND

— Philip Dalidakis (@philipdalidakis) December 28, 2020

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Before the match, former Indian captain Kris Srikkanth provided a blunt assessment of Australia’s current batting attack.

“The Aussies’ batting is not great,” Srikkanth claimed to The Age.

“My belief is the Aussies’ batting is 30 per cent (David) Warner, 30 per cent Smith, all others put together is 30 per cent. But the bowling is very good.

“The Australian batting is not very strong.”


Andrew McMurtry

Entering the tea session, the commentators said Australia couldn’t win the Test match in this session but could definitely lose it.

Unfortunately the Aussies are staring down the later after falling from 2/71 to lose 3/27 as the Aussie middle order once again showed some cracks.

Just before the drinks break, Travis Head nicked off to the slips as Australia fell to 5/98.

“Australia are on their knees,” Mark Howard said on Fox Cricket.

— Fox Cricket (@FoxCricket) December 28, 2020

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Later Brett Lee concurred.

“Australia are on the ropes and they are punching,” Lee said.


Andrew McMurtry

Matthew Wade has followed on as the Aussies slump to 4/98.

The opener batted for 137 balls but was undone when he was caught in front by Ravindra Jadeja for 40.

It leaves Australia still needing 33 runs to make India bat again.


Andrew McMurtry

Australia is used to Steve Smith being the saviour but the World’s best Test batsman has been left stunned by how he was dismissed.

In fact, every one was.

The Aussie star was bowled around his leg with the ball from Jasprit Bumrah clipping leg stump.

Smith took off for a run, Bumrah appealed until a teammate told him the bail was on the ground and the Aussie star was walking off for eight.

Gee whiz – Jasprit Bumrah with the feather touch to dismiss Steve Smith! @hcltech | #AUSvIND pic.twitter.com/soi7Qrf4gs

— cricket.com.au (@cricketcomau) December 28, 2020

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In four innings, Smith has scored 10 runs at an average of 3.33 for the series, a long way from the usual output from the Aussie gun.

Smith was left baffled as Australia crashed three wickets down with just under 50 runs needed to make India bat again.

So he’s mortal….

— jim maxwell (@jimmaxcricket) December 28, 2020

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Steve Smith getting bowled around his legs is ridiculously normal, isn’t it? Not the Smith we know of 😂 #GoodBadRidiculous #AUSvIND

— S. Sudarshanan (@Sudarshanan7) December 28, 2020

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Nic Savage

Matthew Wade and Steve Smith have survived to the tea break on day three, with Australia 2/65 at the MCG.

The hosts are still trailing by 66 runs.


Nic Savage

We’ve witnessed some questionable DRS reviews this series, but India have called for an absolute shocker in the afternoon session at the MCG.

After the dismissal of Marnus Labuschagne, Indian seam bowler Mohammed Siraj struck opening batsman Matthew Wade on the pad.

Even though the ball clearly pitched well outside the line of leg stump, India bizarrely opted to review the LBW decision.

The Hawkeye replays confirmed the on-field umpire’s presumption, and Wade survived the review.

That pitched on the the other strip. How could you review it?#AUSvIND

— Garrett Mundy (@GarrettIvo) December 28, 2020

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Ridiculous review. Waste of time and energy. I mean, these are supposedly Test cricketers. #AusvIndia

— Andrew Faulkner (@AndrewFaulkner9) December 28, 2020

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Mohammed Siraj clearly has the makings of an excellent Test bowler: a poor judge of when to review #AUSvIND

— Andrew McGlashan (@andymcg_cricket) December 28, 2020

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What. Was. That. Review. #AUSvIND

— Oliver Caffrey (@ollycaffrey) December 28, 2020

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Channel 7 commentator James Brayshaw said: “That’s not a good review from the Indian team. That’s pitched a mile outside leg stump. That’s almost leg stump on the next set.”
On Fox Cricket, Australian cricket icon Shane Warne bluntly labelled it a “horrible” review.

“That was a poor review from India,” Warne said. “They wasted one.”

Australia are 2/51 after 21 overs, with Wade on 18 not out.


Nic Savage

Australian batsman Marnus Labuschagne has been removed by Indian spin bowler Ravi Ashwin for 28.

Labuschagne rocked onto the backfoot to defend a delivery from Ashwin, which didn’t turn and caught the outside edge.

The ball flew to Indian skipper Ajinkya Rahane at first slip, who held onto a smart catch.

— 7Cricket (@7Cricket) December 28, 2020

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Ravichandran Ashwin – the wizard of Oz! #AUSvIND

— S. Sudarshanan (@Sudarshanan7) December 28, 2020

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Labuschagne’s dismissal was almost identical to the wicket of teammate Steve Smith at Adelaide Oval last week.

Smith joins opening batsman Matthew Wade at the crease, and the Australians are now 2/42 after 18 overs.


Nic Savage

Australian batsman Marnus Labuschagne has survived a nailbiting LBW shout in the afternoon session at the MCG.

Indian paceman Mohammed Siraj put the ball just short of a length, and it skidded into Labuschagne’s back pad.

The tourists appealed for LBW, but umpire Bruce Oxenford believed the ball would have bounced over the stumps.

After a lengthy chat with his players, Indian skipper Ajinkya Rahane called for the DRS.

And Hawkeye replays showed the ball would have clipped the top of middle stumps, but remained with the on-field decision due to Umpire’s Call.

Very, very close but Marnus Labuschagne survives a LBW review by India #AUSvIND pic.twitter.com/IWLnGoqmHC

— 7Cricket (@7Cricket) December 28, 2020

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Umpire’s call saves Marnus again. Siraj is going to be very tricky this innings #AusvInd

— Daniel Brettig (@danbrettig) December 28, 2020

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Labuschagne survived, and Australia are 1/38 off 16 overs.


Nic Savage

Several of India’s best pace bowlers have been struck down with injury this year, and Umesh Yadav has joined that growing list.

During his fourth over at the MCG on Monday, Yadav walked off the field alongside a medic due to a suspected leg injury.

“That is a really significant blow for India,” cricket journalist Peter Lalor said on SEN.

Although the loss of Yadav is less than ideal, India thankfully selected five strike bowlers in their starting XI.

This doesn’t look good.#AUSvINDpic.twitter.com/wqT3hRUGAd

— Wisden India (@WisdenIndia) December 28, 2020

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With Umesh Yadav now injured, that’s three of India’s four best fast bowlers who could be unavailable for last two Tests. Joins Ishant Sharma and Mohammed Shami in the casualty ward. #AusvIndia

— Andrew Wu (@wutube) December 28, 2020

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Nic Savage

Joe Burns’ Test career is hanging by a thread, with the Australian opener dismissed for four in the second innings against India.

Burns has bizarrely granted two extra lives in one delivery after Jasprit Bumrah fired in a ripping yorker, which crashed into Burns’ front toe.

As the Indians wildly appealed for LBW, the Australian opener was almost run out at the striker’s end, and would have been out if the fielder had hit the stumps.

Umpire Bruce Oxenford indicated not out, and the tourists immediately called for the review.

But fortunately for Burns, the DRS came back with an umpire’s call after flicking the leg stump on Hawkeye, and the on-field decision was not overturned.

In a cruel twist of fate, Indian seamer Umesh Yadav dismissed Burns the very next over with an absolute jaffa.

Yadav’s delivery seamed off the pitch and caught the outside, with wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant completing the regulation catch.

To rub salt into the wounds, Burns wasted a review before making his way off the MCG.

The summer of despair continues for Joe Burns – but what a delivery from Umesh Yadav! #AUSvIND pic.twitter.com/tVtgmDvOKx

— News Cricket (@NewsCorpCricket) December 28, 2020

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To be fair to Joe Burns, that was an absolute seed from Umesh Yadav #AUSvIND

— Samuel Ferris (@samuelfez) December 28, 2020

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Joe Burns, sorry, but that’s stumps for you at Test level. #AUSvIND

— Vince Rugari (@VinceRugari) December 28, 2020

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The Aus selectors have got plenty right in recent times. Labuschagne was an inspired call during the 2019 Ashes. But they’ve hung Joe Burns out to dry. Really poor. @FoxCricket #AUSvIND

— Tom Morris (@tommorris32) December 28, 2020

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“You’ve got a feel for Joe Burns, he’s been out of sorts and he got a beauty,” former Australian bowler Damien Fleming said on Channel 7.

“It was an interesting three overs prior to that though, wasn’t it. Nearly a run out, nearly an LBW. Could have been a run-out after that then he gets a faint edge.

“Peculiar he went upstairs. There was obviously only a faint edge, he didn’t feel it but felt the ball maybe flick his back leg on the way through.”

Burns now averages 10.4 with the bat this summer, passing 11 just twice in 13 innings.

Marnus Labuschagne was the next player at the crease, and Australia are 1/5 after four overs.

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