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The Guardian - AU
The Guardian - AU
James Wallace and Angus Fontaine (earlier)

India v Australia: first Test, day two – as it happened

Todd Murphy of Australia is congratulated by teammates after taking his fifth wicket.
In Todd we trust? Photograph: Robert Cianflone/Getty Images

Here’s your match report:

That's it for day two in Nagpur

Another riveting day of Test cricket between these two sides, India snatched the ascendancy in the afternoon and didn’t relent. It’s a long way back for the Aussies now. David Kalucy still has hope and then some, though:

“This is going to be an epic draw, Australia batting for two days, a double hundred here, a 150 there, a couple of 40’s from the wagging tail, then, just for tension and to prove Test matches should always be five days, an absolute nail biter finish when India fail to make the last 20 runs… Long Live the OBO!”

Let’s finish on that *insert appropriate word here* note. The match reports will be posted any second now and we’ll be back tomorrow to bring you the OBO of day three. Have a good one, goodbye!

STUMPS - India finish day two on 321-7, a lead of 144 runs

114th over: India 321-7 (Jadeja 66, Patel 52) Nathan Lyon bowls the final over and STEVE SMITH DROPS JADEJA off the penultimate ball of the day. A sharp but regulation chance that taunts Smith, hitting him on the wrist at the second grab after he failed to cling on with his first snatch at it. A sickener for the Aussies.


113th over: India 321-7 (Jadeja 66, Patel 52) Todd Murphy ends his epic day with a maiden. You take five wickets on Test debut but your side look certain to be beaten, sod’s law eh. *


112th over: India 321-7 (Jadeja 66, Patel 52) Matt Renshaw is given the nod by his skipper and the less said about his over the better. I know that goes against my job description but trust me on this one, let’s agree on ‘full toss laden nonsense’ – and leave it at that. (Ok, there was seven runs off it and Jadeja smashed the fourth full-bunger for four)

111th over: India 314-7 (Jadeja 61, Patel 50) Top knock! Well played Axar Patel, he calmly pushes a single to long-on to bring up his second Test fifty.

Good this from Ray Downing: “Todd Murphy definitely has the look and name of a character Harold Bishop gives a roof to in Neighbours (despite all of Madge’s gravelly warnings not to) before falling back in with the wrong crowd and having to go on the lam after participating in a midnight robbery of Lou’s Place.”

Yep. He’d hotfoot it to Oakey on the back of a ute with nothing but his loot and a couple of Salvation Army tuba tunes ringing in his ears.

110th over: India 312-7 (Jadeja 60, Patel 49) Lyon hits his handkerchief six times in a row to chalk up a maiden. We’ll have a couple more overs, inky shadows sprawl out across the Nagpur outfield. Another absorbing day of Test cricket.

109th over: India 312-7 (Jadeja 60, Patel 49) Patel nudges a single off Murphy to go one run away from a priceless half-century. The partnership is worth a punishing 72 runs.


108th over: India 311-7 (Jadeja 60, Patel 48) Axar uses his height and long levers very effectively against the spinners, he gets on the big ‘front dog’ (felt weird typing that) and negates any turn. Labuschagne has been given his cable knit and told to have a blow after a meandering few overs, Todd Murphy is summoned.

107th over: India 310-7 (Jadeja 60, Patel 47) Marnus continues and a full toss is hoicked, yes hoicked away by Axar Patel for four. Runs coming apace at the end of the day, Australia yearning for stumps.

106th over: India 303-7 (Jadeja 58, Patel 42) Good effort Nathan Lyon, a maiden.

Spot on this.

105th over: India 303-7 (Jadeja 58, Patel 42) 300 up for India and the lead ticks up to 126 runs. Marnus gets the ball to rip in the shadows but he sends down a mixed bag, Patel gliding a shorter one away for another antipodean-wince-inducing boundary.

104th over: India 297-7 (Jadeja 57, Patel 37) Axar Patel plays a stylish late glide to pick up four off Pat Cummins, using the pace of the Aussie captain and steering the ball down to third for his sixth four, Patel has been the aggressor in this partnership with Jadeja. Marnus Labuschagne is coming on for a bowl, Ravi Shastri on the TV commentary is happy with this decision and booms his name out at a decibel shattering level, making me spill some of me Yorkshire Gold in the process. No need, Mr Shastri.

103rd over: India 292-7 (Jadeja 57, Patel 32) Todd Murphy sends down his seventh maiden. He has 5-79 off his 33 overs. Top effort.

102nd over: India 292-7 (Jadeja 57, Patel 32) The fifty partnership comes up for Jadeja and Axar Patel, off 113 deliveries. It’s been a tough one for Australia who would have been hoping to polish India off for a lead of 80-odd once they saw the back of Rohit. Cummins sends down a half-volley, he’s been guilty of a few of those in this match, Axar doesn’t miss out, bunting down the ground for four.

101st over: India 288-7 (Jadeja 57, Patel 28) Murphy continues and there’s just a single off it. Pat Cummins is going to come on for a bowl ‘mongst the shadows. The lead is 111 runs.

100th over: India 287-7 (Jadeja 57, Patel 27) There looks to be some weary bodies out there in the field, both Lyon and Murphy have got through 30 overs of graft. It might be time for Cummins to have a late burst or for Marnus to haver a twirl. India sense the fatigue and pounce on it, Axar Patel playing another crunch for four off a Lyon drag down. Another medium-sized partnership is hurting Australia.


99th over: India 282-7 (Jadeja 57, Patel 22) Murphy flashes one past the off stump as Axar shoulders arms, that was probably closer than Patel would have wanted, the ball passing so close to the off peg that the lacquer on each share a sweet nothing or two. Perhaps. Bosh! Next ball is dragged down by Murphy and Patel doesn’t miss out, rocking back and cutting to the fence. That was a tired looking delivery from the debutant.

98th over: India 277-7 (Jadeja 57, Patel 17) More punishing runs from the flowing blade of Ravindra Jadeja – Lyon drops short and is slapped in front of point, the ball beating a sprawling David Warner to the boundary sponge. Ominously for Australia, the lead is now into three figures.


97th over: India 272-7 (Jadeja 53, Patel 16) Shot! Patel gets on the front foot and on-drives the returning Murphy down the ground for a glorious four. Shadows begin to creep onto the playing surface, we should have an hour or so of play left.

96th over: India 267-7 (Jadeja 53, Patel 11) Lyon toils away after drinks, Jadeja works him away for a couple. Australia need to get these three wickets tonight to stop the damage becoming terminal. The lead is up to 90.

94th over: India 265-7 (Jadeja 51, Patel 11) Axar Patel crunches Boland away for his first boundary, finding the gap between mid-off and extra cover. This pair up the ante a little, Jadeja plays a flamboyant flamingo flick off his pads and Patel is looking to unfurl his drive. The lead for India is now 88 and it is time for a drink. The Aussies need a stiff one.


93rd over: India 257-7 (Jadeja 50, Patel 4) Another maiden for Nathan Lyon. India’s lead stands at 80 runs.

“Morning James”

G’morning OBO stalwart V Krishnamoorthy!

“Unprecedented control in resisting the “Murphy’s Law” quip so far? Or have you done it already?”

Let’s pretend I haven’t seen this and I’ll come up with a zinger before the close of play, yeh?

Alvin, Simon, Theodore!


92nd over: India 257-7 (Jadeja 50, Patel 4) Jadeja moves to fifty! And there is the bat flourish! Lovely. What a game he is having, a half century to go with his five key wickets yesterday.

91st over: India 255-7 (Jadeja 49, Patel 3) Lyon continues and is picked off for three runs by Jadeja who moves to 49. Will we see his trademark bat twirl? Hope so.


90th over: India 251-7 (Jadeja 46, Patel 2) It’s a double bowling change as the miserly Scott Boland comes on for a trundle. He is on the button as per and finds Axar Patel’s edge but the ball doesn’t carry to the slips, Smith pouching the ball on the half-volley. There have been a few that have died, I wonder if they’ll come forward a few feet to counter that, is a drop as a result of being too close less annoying than the ball just not carrying? I reckon so.

89th over: India 250-7 (Jadeja 45, Patel 1) Nathan Lyon replaces his captain and starts with a maiden. ‘Gaz’ has 1-81 from his 28 overs so far,the old hand has played understudy to his understudy.

88th over: India 250-7 (Jadeja 45, Patel 1) Axar Patel nudges one off his hip to get off strike and it is the only action of the over.

Just as there is a quiet moment in this game – a reminder that the Women’s T20 World Cup gets underway today. It promises to be a corker and Raf Nicholson is there for The Guardian:

87th over: India 249-7 (Jadeja 45, Patel 1) Another Murphy maiden. His control is very impressive, he’s doing a smashing job for his side here, not only claiming five big scalps but keeping the run rate down too.

Ben Bernards emails in to say Todd M reminds him of a young Daniel Vettori. Hmm the glasses might be fooling you there Ben, his action is actually eerily reminiscent of one Graeme Swann.


86th over: India 249-7 (Jadeja 45, Patel 1) India creep up to a lead of 72, Cummins looks desperate to get rid of Jadeja, another hour of the Indian all-rounder could sway the Test decisively India’s way.

“Don’t they dance on the streets of Echuca every night?” Asks Peter Salmon. I confess Peter that being a Pom I don’t know too much about Todd Murphy’s place of birth but a quick google shows some lovely pictures of paddle steamers chugging up and down the Murray River. Maybe they’ll be dancing on the dock?

85th over: India 246-7 (Jadeja 42, Patel 1) A Murphy maiden. This made me chuckle:

84th over: India 246-7 (Jadeja 42, Patel 1) The dangerous Jadeja drives Cummins down the ground for four but Big Pat follows up with a huge appeal as he strikes the batter on the pad, the umpire says not out but Australia send it upstairs. Oooof. NOT OUT. Jadeja just got outside the line enough to make it umpires call. Cummins winces, he thought he had his man there.

83rd over: India 242-7 (Jadeja 37, Patel 1) The Aussie players swarm the debutant Todd Murphy who has bowled phenomenally well to pick up five wickets. He managed to get one to hold it’s line on leg stump and Indian debutant Srikar Bharat paid the price for pushing forward with pad in front of bat. Axar Patel is the new man and is off the mark with a nurdle.


WICKET! Bharat lbw b Murphy 8 (India 240-7)

Murphy has five wickets on debut!

83rd over: India 240-6 (Jadeja 37, Bharat 8) Cummins well and truly has his dander up now, he’s hustling in and scudding the ball in at the stumps with a hint of away movement. Wonder if we’ll see Jadeja open his swashbuckling shoulders a bit here, the lead is already a significant one at 63 runs, any lead over 100 could be terminal.

82nd over: India 236-6 (Jadeja 35, Bharat 6) Murphy rather than Lyon shares the new ball with Captain Cummins. Srikar Bharat is the new batter and he ups the ante straight away by skipping down and bunting Murphy over mid-wicket for four.

Looking back at the replay of the Sharma dismissal, Rohit was slightly unbalanced, on the walk even as he played his shot, the ball just nipped enough to beat his drive and the off stump went cartwheeling in a very pleasing fashion, especially if you are Australian – which I’m guessing emailer David Kalucy is: “Yesssssss! Comes the cry from a cold desk top in Spain...” It was all for you, David.

WICKET! Sharma b Cummins 120 (India 229-6)

Here we go! What a start after tea for Australia. Cummins went from anguish to delight in the space of one delivery, he nicked Sharma off only for Steve Smith (him with the incredible Test catching record) to shell the chance in the slips. Cummins went into full “if you need a job doing…” mode and followed up with a beauty that pitched and jagged just enough to beat the forward poke of Rohit Sharma. A fine delivery to end a fantastic knock by India’s captain. Game on!

81st over: India 229-6 (Jadeja 34, Bharat 0)


The players emerge and Pat Cummins is grasping the new ball. Let’s play!

*I went for a bagel with marmite, thanks for asking.


Teatime reading:

Stuart Broad giving his two’penneth on Pope:

Time for tea. Rohit Sharma strolls off with 118* not out to his name and India lead by 49 runs, this Test match simmering away nicely.

I’m off to raid the cupboards in a second but it would be remiss of me not to ask how the good ship OBO are doing today? Thoughts on how you see this one shaping up? Heck, thoughts on what I should wolf down for breakfast on a bright and frosty morning in London town. Feel free to get in touch on email or holler at me @Jimbo_Cricket.


80th over: India 226-5 (Rohit 118, Jadeja 34) A couple collected off Marnus’ latest, the new ball due imminently and ALL of Australia will be looking to Pat Cummins to make something happen, he’ll feel like he owes his side something after a somewhat off-colour spell with the new nut last evening.

79th over: India 224-5 (Rohit 117, Jadeja 33) NOT OUT. Todd Murphy puts his head in his hands as the DRS shows the ball hitting Jadeja just outside the line, the ball was indeed going to smash into middle stump but the umpire’s call was not out so the batter gets the benefit. Australia retain their review but that will be scant consolation.

We have a review for a Jadeja lbw…

78th over: India 223-5 (Rohit 116, Jadeja 33) Jadeja rocks back to a half-tracker from Labooshaayne and smokes a four to the point fence. A punishing shot that brings up the fifty partnership for this pair.


77th over: India 217-5 (Rohit 115, Jadeja 28) Todd Murphy replaces Boland and serves up a half-volley that Rohit smears high and handsome over the infield to pick up four. These runs are hurting Australia, their body language has just started to droop a little.


76th over: India 213-5 (Rohit 111, Jadeja 28) The new ball is due in just six overs time and Australia turn to prodigiously-talented-batter-and-coffee-botherer Marnus Labuschagne. Marnus sends down his wristy allsorts, and is picked off for three runs.


75th over: India 210-5 (Rohit 109, Jadeja 27) Just a single off the parsimonious Boland. Alex Carey is stood up to the stumps and showcases some fast hands with a leg side take, there’s a brief shout for a leg-side catch but there’s nowt doing.

74th over: India 209-5 (Rohit 108, Jadeja 27) Lyon does what he does, hitting a tight line, challenging technique and temperament. Just a single to Rohit, Matt Hayden on the TV commentary describes every run as ‘gold dust’.

73rd over: India 208-5 (Rohit 106, Jadeja 27) A scampered single off a Marnus misfield gifts Rohit another run. Is that a DROP? Tough one, Jadeja prods at a Boland length ball and the ball dies on Steve Smith at first slip, I’m not sure it carried, the ball spurts away for four runs too.

Smith’s Test catching record is phenomenal by the way, have a look at this. He’ll surely go on to sit top of the pile. Some amazing catchers and catches on that list. Memories, memories…


72nd over: India 201-5 (Rohit 105, Jadeja 22) That is lovely from Jadeja, the latest of late cuts off Lyon directly in front of off stump and the ball whistles away for four. Jadeja is up there as one of my favourite cricketers, I don’t really go in for that sort of stuff but I do have a soft spot for him. Lyon ties him down after the boundary, five dots joined and the India lead ticks up to 25 runs.

71st over: India 197-5 (Rohit 105, Jadeja 18) Thanks Angus, marvellous stuff. I don’t know about the long run up though, more likely I’m sauntering in off a few paces to lob a few down…

Hello everyone. Exciting this eh? Boland sends down four dot balls before over pitching and STOP PRESS getting hit for his first boundary of the game, a lovely languid cover drive from Jadeja.


70th over: India 192-5 (Rohit 105, Jadeja 12) Nathan Lyon is toiling away but both these batters are dabbing easy singles, rotating the strike and building the lead in ones. Cummins has to shake it up here, I reckon. The containment game will work up to a point but he needs to draw more blood and fast. And on that lusty note, I throw the ball to my teammate James Wallace off the long run-up…

69th over: India 189-5 (Rohit 104, Jadeja 12) Lovely corridor bowling by Boland but, despite the ball nipping away a fraction, the linseed oil on Ravi Jadeja’s bat remains untouched. India lead by 13 runs now and although Rohit Sharma remains unconquered and Ravi Jadeja is no slouch with three Test centuries to his name, Australia will fancy that if they strike once more then the India tail may not wag.

68th over: India 189-5 (Rohit 103, Jadeja 12) Does Pat Cummins have a wildcard up his sleeve? His pace attack is building pressure but has been impotent when it comes to wickets. Nathan Lyon has bowled 24 overs and young Todd Murphy has done his bit with 22 and four wickets too. In the absence of a legitimately threatening part-timer like Travis Head, is Marnus Labuschagne worth a flutter?

67th over: India 189-5 (Rohit 103, Jadeja 12) Nathan Lyon wheels in to Ravi Jadeja. Lyon has 1-74 from his 24 overs… and it’s almost 2-74 with a fifth ball that cannons into Jadeja’s pads but is soon found to be sliding down leg. No review. Maiden over. The waiters are trotting onto the ground. That’ll be Drinks.


66th over: India 189-5 (Rohit 103, Jadeja 12) Despite a soft six-stitcher with a pulpy seam, Pat Cummins has thrown the ball back to Scott Boland. Probably a smart play. India now lead by 12 runs, Rohit and Jadeja are on the attack and Cummins needs any lead nullified by frugal bowling. Who better than the big fella from Frankston Peninsula? Boland’s speed has dropped a notch – he’s slinging at 130kph – but his figures are still 0-9 from ten overs.


65th over: India 187-5 (Rohit 103, Jadeja 11) Todd Murphy’s 22nd over has five runs taken from it as No 7 Ravi Jadeja reminds us that he’s a No 6 batter denied his rightful place by Ravi Ashwin’s nightwatchmanship last night.

64th over: India 178-5 (Rohit 101, Jadeja 7) Lyon to Jadeja, spinner to spinner. But now that India have moved in front they will reset. Will triple-figures free Rohit to play his shots? Jadeja certainly wants to. He clips Lyon’s final delivery through the gap and, despite the desperate dive of Pat Cummins, into the rope. Rohit Sharma has a remarkable 57.1% conversion rate for centuries. Nine times he’s reached fifty and gone onto a ton. Only six times has he failed to go on with it.

63rd over: India 178-5 (Rohit 101, Jadeja 3) Rohit Sharma is just one good shot from a ninth Test century. But he has to get through Murphy to claim it. Finally he snaps, dancing down to the fourth ball and lofting it high over the infield. At first he looked to have spooned it too high but it lands safe and trickles into the rope. The Nagpur crowd rise as one to cheer a wonderful captain’s knock. India’s captain has his ton and, with one more single, they finally have the lead.


62nd over: India 172-5 (Rohit 96, Jadeja 2) Almost a catch! Rohit has been almost flawless in this innings but he pushed hard hands at Lyon’s first ball and it inside-edged onto the pads and popped up. Alas it landed too far away for the silly mid-on. After four dots Lyon beats Jadeja’s outside edge with the final ball. But what have we here? Looks like the Australians are claiming a stumping. They’ve requested a review… but no, the foot was grounded.


61st over: India 172-5 (Rohit 96, Jadeja 2) Murphy’s 20th over is a maiden but India have whittled the margin to six runs.

60th over: India 171-5 (Rohit 94, Jadeja 2) New batter Jadeja takes two from this over as Rohit moves to 95. Australia have their tails up and the fielders are closing in. Cummins is licking his lips and there’s a tremor of pan ic running through India.


WICKET! Surayakumar bowled Lyon 8

Great bowling from Lyon. The big-hitter Surayakumar had been circumspect to now but Lyon sensed his hunger and shot one past those long legs and into leg stump. Great fightback by Australia in this session!

59th over: India 168-4 (Rohit 94, Surayakumar 8) As Rohit serenely sees off a maiden from Murphy, it’s worth reflecting on how the 35-year-old rose to the Indian captaincy. He first skippered the Mumbai Indians in the IPL and led them to five titles. We’ve seen all the qualities that made him successful in this innings: methodical, studious and calm.

58th over: India 168-4 (Rohit 94, Surayakumar 8) Fabulous shot by Rohit! Cummins pitched it up but the ball is soft and the seam is gone and it didn’t lift like intended. Rohit simply stood, swivelled his hips and rolled his wrists over it. On this ice rink surface, the ball raced to the boundary. Rohit adds a single to the total from the final delivery and the India skipper is now in the nineties.

57th over: India 163-4 (Rohit 89, Surayakumar 8) With his Harry Potter spectacles and scholarly air, Todd Murphy has the look of a young Daniel Vettori, currently serving the Australians as assistant coach. I wonder if the Kiwi great, only the eighth allrounder to take 300 Test wickets and make 3000 runs, has had a formative role in getting Murphy ready for baptism of fire in the Test arena? India take a couple of singles from this Murphy over and now trail by just 14.

56th over: India 161-4 (Rohit 88, Surayakumar 7) Pat Cummins, the fast bowling titan from the foot of the Blue Mountains, is into his tenth over. Rohit is happy for Surayakumar to face it, running a fast single from the second delivery. The debutant returns the favour, as the India batters move patiently toward 177… and beyond. The home side have 16 runs to get to lead and six wickets in hand.

55th over: India 158-4 (Rohit 87, Surayakumar 6) Murphy to Surayakumar. He taps away an easy run from the second but there’s a cry of ‘CATCHIT!’ from the next as Rohit top-edged it just short of the infield. Murphy is attacking the pads, pinning the batters in their crease and relying on speed and skid off the ball.

54th over: India 157-4 (Rohit 86, Surayakumar 6) Captain Cummins senses an opportunity here. He has taken the ball and is thundering in with fearful intent. Rohit has lost his partner with the first ball after lunch and he scurries a single to get to the non-striker’s end and plot how to run down these next 21 runs – patiently in ones or twos, or with a few lusty blows to bring the crowd into it? For now it will be Surayakumar on strike, as he peels off a single from the last.

53rd over: India 155-4 (Rohit 85, Surayakumar 4) Amazing start to this second session. Australia must have dreamed of removing Kohli early and with the very first ball they conjured their miracle. Smart work by Carey behind the pegs as Kohli chased a juicy leg side ball from the rookie and was undone by the ‘keeper’s fast feet and soft hands. Now we get a look at Surayakumar, the T20 pyro-technician playing his first Test. He lights the fuse in style, thwacking his second ball for four.

WICKET! Kohli caught Carey bowled Murphy 12

Sensational start! Kohli tried to flick that ball off his pads but succeeded only in glancing a snick to Carey’s fast hands behind the wicket. Whatever Murphy had for lunch should be standard issue for the Australian players hereafter. He has four wickets now and India aquiver as they whittle down this slim chase.


We’re back. How was lunch? No matter what you ate, your mouth must be watering at this next session of play. India in command but Australia fighting hard. Virat Kohli at the crease and young Todd Murphy making a name for himself. Players and umpires are ready. Let’s go!

LUNCH: India 151-3 (Rohit 85, Kohli 12)

India have won the first session of Day 2 but Australia aren’t done yet. They took two wickets and can expose India’s high-risk, big-hitting middle-order if they strike again. With just 26 runs to equal Australia’s first innings total, Rohit and Kohli will endeavour to lead India into the lead soon after the resumption. Can Todd Murphy continue his dream debut and stop them in their tracks? Will Nathan Lyon rise to his mantle of GOAT? Or will Rohit and Kohli pile on the runs and the misery and break Australia’s spirit?

Fill your belly, wet your whistle. We’ll find out after the break…


52nd over: India 151-3 (Rohit 85, Kohli 12) Lyon with the final over before lunch. Kohli works him off the hip for an easy single from the first. Rohit dead-bats the next five, moving back or dancing down. He’s an uptempo batter, Rohit, but he’s showing maturity and leadership by being more circumspect in the shadows of lunch. He survives and Rohit and Kohli walk off smiling. That will be lunch.

51st over: India 150-3 (Rohit 85, Kohli 11) Murphy coming around the wicket to Kohli. This will be the penultimate over before lunch I reckon. India have taken the session, but Australia have landed a couple of late blows through Murphy. Can they get rid of The Captain or The King too and raise a toast over Lunch?

50th over: India 149-3 (Rohit 85, Kohli 10) Can Australia strike again before lunch? Not if Lyon bowls there and Kohli plays like that! That may have been the sweetest of the 414 runs King Kohli has scored against Lyon: a glorious straight drive to the boundary rope. And he takes a single off the last to move to 10.

49th over: India 143-3 (Rohit 85, Kohli 5) Todd Murphy has India on the hop. The youngster, now with match figures of 3-34, has got the ball dipping from a good height and skidding through on landing and it’s troubling Rohit, despite him being 83 from 130. He scampers a single from the last.


48th over: India 142-3 (Rohit 83, Kohli 5) Almost a runout! Kohli dabbed it to midwicket and took a stride down the wicket but then he saw the fielder was Labuschagne. He retreated, leaving Ashwin to rapidly backpedal. The throw was wide though. Good pressure in the field, alas. Australia hanging in here.


47th over: India 142-3 (Rohit 83, Kohli 5) Murphy to Kohli and after three watchful dabs back down the wicket Virat roars down the wicket to the next and drives it to the rope. That’s lovely stuff. Kohli took six weeks off in the middle of 2022 after a three year dry spell without an international century. But since his return, he has peeled off an unbeaten 122 against Afghanistan in a T20 and three tons in four matches in the ODIs. Murphy doesn’t care, he bamboozles Kohli with the last. It skews off the back of the bat but lands safely.


46th over: India 137-3 (Rohit 83, Kohli 0) Boland gets a break and Nathan Lyon returns for a 17th over. Perhaps with Kohli at the wicket, Australia sense a bit of blood in the water. The once-imperious Kohli has slipped to 15th in the ICC Test batting rankings and is desperate to atone for a horror 2017 series against Australia where he averaged just 9.20. Lyon has Rohit on strike though so the duel between King and GOAT will have to wait awhile.

45th over: India 135-3 (Rohit 81, Kohli 0) Todd Murphy bowls to Virat Kohli. How often did the young offie from the border town of Echuca dream of this battle? King Kohli got his usual rapturous reception as he strutted to the wicket. He’s been out of form though – he has an average of 26.20 since the start of 2020 – so the pressure will be on to climb out of this slump.

WICKET! Pujara caught Boland bowled Murphy 7 (India 135-3)

Top edge from Pujara and it balloons to Scott Boland at leg slip. Out! Australia with their tail up and the dream debut for 22-year-old off spinner Todd Murphy continues.

44th over: India 135-2 (Rohit 81, Pujara 7) India are clawing down this total. They are now only 42 runs from overtaking Australia and still with eight wickets in hand. Boland’s pressure won’t let up though. He leaks a single but nothing more as Australia turn back to young Murphy for another breakthrough.

43rd over: India 134-2 (Rohit 81, Pujara 6) Ouch! First ball of the new Murphy over strays onto leg and it’s easy pickings for Rohit Sharma who clips it off his toes for a sweet boundary. The second delivery draws a big shout though and although the original decision is Not Out Australia have gone up for the review. Again Murphy bowled it down the middle and found movement inside. It looks to have beaten the bat and hit pad. But is it straight enough…? No. It’s hitting fifth stump down leg side. Not a good review, that. The Australians will like their chances of picking up wickets in clusters like India did. But not this time. Instead, Rohit flicks the final ball of the over past Boland at leg slip and all the way to the boundary.


42nd over: India 125-2 (Rohit 73, Pujara 6) India start this over trailing by 53 runs. Pujara is quickly out of the blocks with six runs from his first five balls and Rohit Sharma has rocketed along to 73. Here, Boland buggers up his figures by overstepping and leaking a bye – they’ve now blown out to 0-6 in this eighth over! But there’s a big shout on the next ball. Carey was keen but Boland wasn’t as sure so there’ll be no review. Strewth that was close though. The ball nipped back and eluded the bat, crashing into the knee-roll of Pujara as it veered onto leg stump.

41st over: India 124-2 (Rohit 73, Pujara 6) As one door closes behind Ravi Ashwin another opens. Unfortunately for Australia, walking through it is Cheteshwar Pujara AKA The Rock that broke Australia in their 2021 home series and the same bloke who promptly belts Murphy for two and then four.

WICKET! Ashwin LBW Murphy 23 (India 118-2)

Great review from the Australians as debutant Todd Murphy claims his second scalp of the innings. That was the break they sorely needed. It was Alex Carey’s wicket as much as it was Murphy’s, that one. The wicketkeeper was vehement in his appeal and equally so in his demand that Cummins review it. Good teamwork by the Australians.


41st over: India 118-1 (Rohit 73, Ashwin 22) Big LBW shout here! Todd Murphy started his over with a straight ball that jagged back a shade and it rapped Ashwin below the knee roll. Alex Carey had real pep in his step when he requested the review from Pat Cummins and we’ve gone upstairs…

40th over: India 117-1 (Rohit 73, Ashwin 22) The Ashwin-Rohit partnership is now 41 and India are 60 runs adrift of Australia’s sub-par first innings total. Scott Boland starts us off after the players paused to wet their whistle. What was the cocktail du jour, I wonder? Nagpur negroni? Pimms and lemonade? Or that incredible iced cardamom tea so refreshing on the subcontinent?

I like to think Sujit A is sipping the latter as he emails to say: “The one player Aussies really missing is Hazlewood. Someone who is disciplined And skilful. Boland seems like a journeyman bowler - early 130 kph, little variation. The sort of bowler who excels at bowling maidens but in the match context not much impact.”

We’ll see Sujit, we’ll see…

39th over: India 117-1 (Rohit 73, Ashwin 22) Here comes Todd Murphy at last. The bespectacled 22-year-old picked up Australia’s only wicket yesterday and did so totally against the run of play. Rohit Sharma had flown from the blocks and left his partner KL Rahul eating dust. So much so that Murphy completely flummoxed KL late in the day and he popped a return catch. Bowling with that high loopy action, Murphy starts his spell with a miserly maiden. Drinks.

38th over: India 117-1 (Rohit 73, Ashwin 22) India are cruising here. If they get to 177 without loss and start building a lead with nine wickets to spare, the curtains will close fast on an Australian victory. In more positive news for Australian fans, Scott Boland has dried up the boundaries and is building pressure against Ashwin. Only seven runs from the last five overs. The big quick’s third ball is fast and just misses the edge of Ashwin’s half-shot, the fourth bounces into the ribs and gets Ashwin hopping. Boland is rarely getting above 135kph but unerring line and length and patience are the primary weapons in his arsenal. A maiden.

37th over: India 117-1 (Rohit 73, Ashwin 22) Will it be a sweet 16th for Nathan Lyon? He is 0-55, bowling to a Rohit Sharma in murderous form and wicketless from 15 overs so far. Rohit easily clips him for a single and then Ashwin squeaks one too. Lyon tosses the fourth one up a little more and it worries Rohit and draws a yelp of excitement from wicketkeeper Alex Carey. But no breakthrough.

36th over: India 115-1 (Rohit 72, Ashwin 21) As the partnership heads towards 40, Scott Boland barrels in to Ravi Ashwin who is into the twenties and growing in confidence. Not so Matt Renshaw who has been caught on camera heavily strapped for that leg injury. As if Covid in his Test recall in January and that golden duck in the first dig didn’t batter Renshaw’s confidence enough now he’s heading to hospital for scans! Yet another maiden from Boland.

Boland chats with captain Cummins and David Warner.
Boland chats with captain Cummins and David Warner. Photograph: Robert Cianflone/Getty Images


35th over: India 115-1 (Rohit 72, Ashwin 21) Nathan Lyon will continue here. The GOAT has bowled unchanged all morning and not looked especially dangerous. Surely Todd Murphy, who claimed Australia’s only scalp yesterday and looked the liveliest of all the bowlers, must be close to getting a bowl? India trail only by 66 runs now and Lyon isn’t bowling with enough variety to trouble them. He isn’t even reducing the run rate below it’s current tempo of 3.2… and Rohit edging through slips for four from the final ball doesn’t help!

34th over: India 111-1 (Rohit 68, Ashwin 21) Cometh the hour cometh the cult hero. Cummins tosses the pill to his Midas Man Scott Boland. The big Victorian is playing his first Test outside Australia but his figures remain typically miserly: just four runs chiselled from four overs. Out on the field we have Ashton Agar, filling in for Matthew Renshaw who has apparently sustained a leg injury in the warmup. What a bittersweet experience this must be for Agar, to be on the field but unable to bowl. Will Australia rue omitting he and his left-arm loopers?


33rd over: India 110-1 (Rohit 68, Ashwin 21) Another six! This time it’s Ashwin slog-sweeping Lyon five rows back. Great shot from the master spinner who also boasts an average above 27 and five Test centuries to his name. Eight runs from the over and India are in overdrive now. Danger signs for Australia.


32nd over: India 102-1 (Rohit 67, Ashwin 14) The Nagpur crowd has a shriller symphony to it today. Apparently the local schools have been given the day off lessons to attend the VCA Stadium so the bleachers are filled with smiling young boys and girls whooping and squealing at every ball Cummins hurls at Ashwin. Unfortunately too many of those balls are straying onto the leg side and easily left. Cummins – so often the talisman of this Australian side - needs to get his radar right quickly. He leaks a single to Ashwin which allows Rohit on strike. Captain to captain now. Cummins bangs it in short and – BANG! – Rohit hooks it off his eyebrows into the grandstand to uproar from the fans. What a shot! Todd Murphy was waiting in the outer but that sailed right over him.


31st over: India 94-1 (Rohit 61, Ashwin 13) Lyon persists around the wicket. He’s bowling flat and varying his pace. He has 34 career wickets in India and would kill for one here. Bit of a muddle between the India batters on ball four as Rohit runs for a single despite it being Ashwin’s call. The big allrounder eventually heeds his captain’s entreaty and goes but it’ll put him on strike to Cummins.

30th over: India 94-1 (Rohit 61, Ashwin 12) Pat Cummins returns for a seventh over. The skipper will be desperate to make amends for his uncharacteristically wayward early spell yesterday and he is bowling tighter lines today, pitching full and trying for late swing to draw a drive out of two batters who are well set. Cummins delivers a maiden to ensure Nathan Lyon gets a whirl at the nightwatchman Ashwin.

29th over: India 94-1 (Rohit 61, Ashwin 12) It’ll be Nathan Lyon to Rohit Sharma. He has leaked 40 runs from his 11 overs but he’s coming around the wicket and he nips one past the outside edge of Ravi Ashwin. That good work is undone when Lyon drifts wide on the next and Ashwin punishes it, driving it for two.

Ashwin keep his eye on the ball.
Ashwin keep his eye on the ball. Photograph: Robert Cianflone/Getty Images


28th over: India 91-1 (Rohit 60, Ashwin 10) And we’re back… apologies for the internet meltdown, folks. Australia resumed through Todd Murphy and Nathan Lyon but a reborn Pat Cummins is now thundering in at Ashwin. Five from the over and India trailing by just 86 runs and closing the gap fast.

Eight of yesterday 10 wickets fell to spin. That was entirely predictable given the recent Ranji Trophy game played at VCA Stadium. There, nine of the 10 final-innings wickets on day three fell to left-arm orthodox spinners as Gujarat were bowled out for 54 (they were chasing only 73). That match was played on the pitch immediately adjacent to the 22-yards of devilry being used for the Test.

However, closer inspection shows that Gujarat’s opening pace bowlers took five wickets apiece on day one, suggesting Cummins and Scott Boland might yet get some assistance from this track.

And for those who like a water cooler discussion, here’s a good one from the first day’s action…


For those who missed day one, here’s Geoff Lemon’s report…


Namaste cricket fans! Welcome back to the ‘tiger capital’ of Nagpur for day two of the first Test between India and Australia in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.

Day one had all the intrigue, controversy, fierce competition and beautiful bedlam we’ve come to expect from subcontinental cricket. Both teams named exciting debutants – 22-year-old off-spinner Todd Murphy for Australia, and 32-year-old T20 phenomenon Suryakumar Yadav for India.

Australia also dropped a bombshell by dropping the bombastic Travis Head. Despite clattering 525 runs at 87.50 in the home summer his 21.30 average from seven Tests in Asia was enough for selectors to sever Head from the XI and bring Peter Handscomb and Matthew Renshaw back from exile as the new No 5 and 6.

Before winning the toss, Pat Cummins urged his men to “embrace the chaos”. They took him far too literally.

David Warner and Usman Khawaja were back in the sheds within 13 balls, undone by pace and bounce (and perhaps age). Predictably, Steve Smith and Marnus Labuschagne picked up the pieces and set about rebuilding the innings. But with their rapid-fire dismissals after lunch, Australia’s decision to axe Head blew up in their face. In conditions tailor made for a stroke-maker and counter-attacker they instead got Matthew Renshaw and a big fat golden duck.

Alex Carey looked the best of the batters, reverse sweeping his first ball for four and chancing his hand until he gambled one time too many on 37. Left with only the tail, Peter Handscomb perhaps showed the baggy green bunnies too much faith, dabbing singles when he might’ve been better off swinging lustily. In the end, it was too little too late as Australia’s bottom-order collapsed, all out for 177.

When Rohit Sharma carted Pat Cummins for three successive fours in the first over, the intent was clear: attack and keep attacking because sooner or later the pitch demons will be unleashed and there’ll be a ball with your name on it. India duly rattled along to 77-1, just 100 runs behind, with only the loss of KL Rahul to a lovely caught and bowled by young Todd Murphy. That sole dismissal to a young spinner – following a fizzing five-for by Ravi Jadeja – is the flicker of hope Australia will take into what should be an entertaining day two of this Test.

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