67th over: Australia 191-6 (Carey 35, Starc 7) Big appeal from Jadeja as the ball loops up high from Starc’s pad, taken by short leg diving onto the pitch. No bat involved. Starc scores two more behind point. Also four byes for one that explodes out of the footmarks and goes through batter and keeper both. The first misbehaving delivery I can remember from the Vauxhall End. The lead 364, we’re into the top 10 for all-time run chases if India were to get this many to win.
66th over: Australia 185-6 (Carey 35, Starc 5) Axar Patel back on the field, luckily for India, because he dives at cover to save a scorching Carey cover drive. Shardul Thakur is bowling his first spell today. Carey settles for a single to a similar area, Starc responds in kind, and Carey opens the face to guide two behind point.
Guy Hornsby is crystal-balling and Bill Lawrying all at the same time.
“Morning Geoff, morning everyone. It would be perfectly reasonable to declare at lunch but this Aussie team are too risk averse to do that yet (they’re not called Stokes basically, who would’ve probably declared last night). They’ll want 400+ lead, so more like midway to tea and 5 sessions, keep the foot behind the line and take your catches, and it should be theirs tomorrow afternoon. India are already into middle territory anyway, and no amount of deplorable slowing the game down from either side will save a result, barring a monsoon in south London. Still, imagine if someone went all Laxman on Australia. Pujara rearguard? Rahane signoff? Kohli masterclass? Nah.”
65th over: Australia 181-6 (Carey 32, Starc 4) Off the mark with four for Starc, who plays a little dab at Jadeja outside off stump. Left-armer to left-hander, and the balls runs fine. Lead of 354.
64th over: Australia 177-6 (Carey 32, Starc 0) The leads goes up to 350, as Carey decides it’s time to go with Mitchell Starc at the other end. Laces one cut shot form Siraj for four, top-edges another through the cordon, takes two to square leg.
63rd over: Australia 167-6 (Carey 22) Wicket from the last ball of the over. A strange over, too. Just before the dismissal, Jadeja got in the umpire’s face while appealing. Walked at him, quite close, arms out. Wonder if the match ref will have a look at that.
He kind of deserved that, Cameron Green. Odd dismissal! Jadeja comes over the wicket, and Green kicks them away. The second one, Jadeja appeals mightily. Probably pitching outside leg. The third one Green does the same, but doesn’t have his back leg around covering the stumps. The ball bounces sharply, turns some, hits his back leg rather than his front pad, perhaps via the bottom of the glove as well, and rolls back onto the stumps. Venom from Jadeja that created it. It was like Green was copying Test batting without knowing how to do it.
62nd over: Australia 166-5 (Green 25, Carey 21) Another run dropped to the leg side for Carey, who has caught Green on the scoreboard. Not for long though, as Green gets four very streaky runs! Again from that Pavilion End, Siraj gets it leaping at Green’s back shoulder, and the big West Australian gloves it wildly down the leg side while flinching from the ball. It loops too high for the keeper.
Eamonn Maloney is thinking about similar things, differently. “These Australians have been a bit nervy bowing fourth over the last 5-10 years – Hazlewood sometimes the chief culprit but Cummins and Starc guilty on occasion, H@*&dingly comes to mind for the former. Kohli, Pujara, Jadeja… I can picture it if under 400. they have both a prayer and a receptive deity for me.”
Hmm. See two posts before this one, Eamonn. And also the start of this one.
61st over: Australia 161-5 (Green 21, Carey 20) Leading edge for Carey, safely through point as Jadeja’s ball skids on, and they race a single. They’re now leading by 334 (Bradman at Leeds, anyone), which would be top 20 for all fourth-innings run chases.
60th over: Australia 160-5 (Green 21, Carey 19) Around the wicket comes Siraj to the left-handed Carey, working to angle in at the stumps. Carey is happy enough to stand behind it, waits for the stray one to pick off to fine leg. One run. Back over the wicket, and Green cops a brute! There’s that spot on the pitch again. All of the nasty ones, lifting sharply, have been from the Pavilion End: Labuschagne’s three, Shardul Thakur’s three, Travis Head in the first innings, all climbing at the gloves from a decent length. This one smashes Green on the shoulder, it looks like, and he gets a brief physio visit. Gets a visit from Siraj next ball, too, wandering down for a chat after Green gets forward to defend. Then nice inward movement from a good length, and it stays low. Green keeps it out, Siraj has hands on head. Can’t see anyone chasing 300 on this.
59th over: Australia 159-5 (Green 21, Carey 18) Australia lead by 329. If that sounds familiar, think Brisbane 2021. It soon becomes 332 though, as Carey drives three runs out through cover. Jadeja has a silly point and a slip for Green. Tries spearing at the pads, looking to force Green back perhaps. But Green gets forward whenever he can.
58th over: Australia 156-5 (Green 21, Carey 15) It’s time for drinks, Siraj finishing the half-term session with a wayward ball that ends up at fine leg for four leg byes. Green’s production thigh pad. They’ve managed a whole 14 overs in that hour, almost at the asking rate of 15! With three from Jadeja. And the hour went for about 65 minutes.
57th over: Australia 151-5 (Green 21, Carey 14) Thinking over the match situation. There have only been 23 Test run chases in history bigger than the current lead of 324. Still plenty in the surface. You wouldn’t really want to be batting after lunch, as Australia, in case India can dig in. We’re an hour into the session. Might have thought it’s time to up the ante here, and if you’re all out for another 40 runs quickly then that’s a decent result.
Three singles from Jadeja.
56th over: Australia 148-5 (Green 20, Carey 12) Siraj to Carey, who this time waits five balls to strike a run through point. They’re not in a hurry today, Australia. The lead is up to 321 so they’re comfortable, but want to get through some good bowling.
55th over: Australia 147-5 (Green 20, Carey 11) Astonishing that a team can have Jadeja’s ability to race through a maiden over in about a minute and still be so far behind the rate.
54th over: Australia 147-5 (Green 20, Carey 11) Mohammed Siraj comes on for his first work of the day. Carey tries a couple of shots without success, then leans back a touch and flays an extra-cover drive! Very aggressive shot for four.
53rd over: Australia 143-5 (Green 20, Carey 7) Alex Carey? A sweep shot? In this economy? Who could believe it. Ravindra Jadeja comes on for a bowl, and the first ball of spin today has Carey getting out the broom. Conventional, not reverse. Green plays him rather more uprightly, defending on the long stride.
Point and counterpoint.
52nd over: Australia 142-5 (Green 20, Carey 6) There’s a delay as… Green changes his pads. Yep, that’s a new one. We got about 75 overs out of 90 yesterday, the rates have been truly dire. And they can’t make up any time using the sixth day unless there are overs lost to rain or bad light. Teams just… choosing not to bowl them? That’s fine, the umpires will do nothing and nor will the ICC.
Shami is still getting movement away. Green is starting to resist playing at some of them. Tries the surprise yorker, Shami, but Green is equal to it, a crisp straight drive back under the bowler’s attempted stop. To the fence.
51st over: Australia 138-5 (Green 16, Carey 6) Another little test for Green, keeping out a ball that stays low and getting a single. Umesh bangs in a bouncer and Carey hooks, there’s a deep backward square protecting the boundary. Two slips and a gully for Green, I’d have another one in there. He takes on Siraj at mid on this time! Drops the ball there and runs. Might have been close, Siraj fumbles the pick-up. I think Green would have been home. It wasn’t dissimilar to Starc’s series of decisions that saw sub fielder Axar Patel get him in the first innings.
John Starbuck reminisces. “Frying eggs on the top of cars? When I were a lad we ‘ad summers so ‘ot you could fry an egg on t’ pavement. I saw me dad do it once, an’ besides, we din’t ‘ave cars in them days.”
It was the only way you could get seasoning back then, what with all the rations after the Crimean War.
50th over: Australia 135-5 (Green 14, Carey 5) Edged, and… four. Immaculate seam position and the slightest deviation from Shami. Green again plays one wider than he needs to. Nicked into the ground again, and Gill at second slip fumbles it on the bounce. It nutmegs him and runs away. That’s the first ball of the over, he nudges a single from the last. The lead is 308.
49th over: Australia 130-5 (Green 9, Carey 5) A run via Carey, who takes Umesh off the thigh pad to midwicket. Wonder how Umesh will go now that he has to switch from right-hander to left every ball. Got his line correct to Labuschagne with the right hand. Accuracy can be his weakness. He’s bowling up towards 140 kph, with the long bandage sleeves on both arms for diving in the field. A good sight when he’s really steaming.
Green is finally able to add his first run of the morning, down to fine leg. He and Carey are working 9 to 5.
48th over: Australia 128-5 (Green 8, Carey 4) Green keeps on playing outside that off stump! Reaches very wide for an off-balance drive that hits cover directly. Gets an edge along the turf to third slip. He edged to slip in the first innings. Spoke about the IPL transition, where you go from hitting the ball in front of your body for power, to hitting the red ball as late as you can. But he’s more in white-ball mode here. Good seam from Shami cuts back in but his bounce takes it over the stumps. India’s bowlers have had so many beaten edges in this match, and I’d say it’s because they’ve so often bowled a small margin too short.
No score from the over. Five runs in four overs this morning.
47th over: Australia 128-5 (Green 8, Carey 4) This is interesting. The Australian lead is 301. Could India get through them for another 50 or 60 runs? Carey made a useful score in the first innings. Gets off the mark with four here, the rolling edge through gully from a forward press.
Top delivery! Good bounce and carry from the pitch, exactly the line to draw Labuschagne into a front-foot push, but the right length to give the ball time to leave the bat. Umesh has produced on this fourth morning, the edge flies to first slip and Australia’s engine-room bat has not added to his overnight score.
46th over: Australia 124-4 (Labuschagne 41, Green 8) Mohammed Shami from the Pavilion End, runs up to Green who is fishing slightly! Playing the line of the off stump and Shami just goes past the edge. Strays on leg and the big batter almost falls over turning it to midwicket, but to the fielder. Green settles into defence for the rest of the over, a very good one.
Samanda Black emails in. “Can you get a message directly to Ricky Ponting?”
“I have been in Jaipur for an extremely long time, and I learned myself cricket originally to always have some thing to talk about in my back pocket with suppliers and, well anyone really. My obsession with the game changed quite fast. And completely superseded polite conversation.”
As soon as someone finds out that one is Australian, says Samanda, the first response is to invoke Ricky Ponting.
“Every single transporter dude just loves Ricky. He should know this. He’s a legend among every bloke driving a camel, an elephant, a cart, a rickshaw, a car, an anything… No doubt you also know this yourself, Geoff. Please pass along to the great man.”
Ricky, if you’re reading…
And yes, I would agree that he is the most commonly raised name in my experience in India. Even more than Warne. There’s still quite a lot of Michael Bevan too, which is interesting.
45th over: Australia 124-4 (Labuschagne 41, Green 8) Umesh Yadav to start the day, interesting call. Good first over from him though, smashes the channel, and after a Green single, gets one ball to fizz back in at Labuschagne and hit him around the waist.
It’s gonna be a good one today! Warm and clear up above. Glowing green grass. And there’s atmosphere. A pretty good crowd for a Saturday, as per Billy J. We all came seething up from the underground station like Morlocks on the way to dinner. There were big lines to get in. Good signs for a full house, or as full as some unclaimed seats in the pavilion will allow.
If you want more detail about what happened yesterday – and there was a lot of it – maybe you want the Final Word podcast wrap that I do with fellow OBO-slinger Adam Collins. Here’s Day 3.
What caught my eye was how well Australia bowled early, even while catches were going down all over the place.
Match report? Fancy a match report? I can testify in court that Simon Burnton was at The Oval yesterday writing down everything. I saw him with my own eyes.
Day four? Day four! A stonker in London, it’s tipped to reach a mighty high of 29C, so get ready to see locals frying eggs on the bonnets of their cars. The World Test Champs final heated up yesterday – India are still well behind in the match thanks to the first two days, but they did compete fiercely on day three, first with Rahane and Thakur smashing enough runs to bring Australia distantly into view, then taking four top-order wickets.
India scored 296 and now trail by 296, which is neat.
So they would need to dismiss Australia for less than another 100 runs to have a prayer in the match, but it would be a small one. Chasing 400 doesn’t happen more than once in a blue moon, and this pitch has offered assistance, especially to fast bowling throughout, as Marnus Labuschagne learned during his bombardment yesterday that saw him smashed on the gloves multiple times. Siraj especially has got some heat out of the surface.
Australia will resume on 123-4, which is also neat.
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