57th over: India 156-4 (Rahul 76, Karun Nair 26)
Such is his difficulty getting any assistance from the pitch, Starc now comes around the wicket to Karun Nair but offers up another full toss to be whipped through leg for a boundary. He won’t mind that as such. We all know he was going for the yorker. The bigger concern for Steve Smith is how well these batsmen are now turning the strike and refusing to allow the bowlers any rhythm.
54th over: India 139-4 (Rahul 73, Karun Nair 12)
A big section of Indian fans rise to their feet and start going wild here. Revealing a little of my current snack shortage, I will admit I assumed it was due to a tray of hot, delicious-looking samosas that were being carried into their vicinity, but they’re just trying to get on TV. Rahul and Nair continue to turn the strike in a manner no other pairing has managed today. But that matters not. I now just want a samosa.
52nd over: India 131-4 (Rahul 71, Karun Nair 6)
At the risk of speaking too soon for no less than the fifth time today, Karun Nair actually does look totally comfortable at the crease, and far more convincing than Rahane before him. Let’s see if I’ve just consigned him to the gallows with that mozz.
Lokesh Rahul has been the only Indian batsman to prosper on day one of the second Test. Photograph: Danish Siddiqui/Reuters
51st over: India 128-4 (Rahul 70, Karun Nair 4)
Sunny Gavaskar’s criticisms of Lokesh Rahul aren’t quite as frequent now, because the Indian opener is the only who has truly dug in today. The Australians are all over Karun Nair and needling the rookie six at every opportunity, but if it’s making him uncomfortable it doesn’t show in his batting so far.
The home team’s current predicament has the Chinnaswamy crowd a little pensive #INDvAUS pic.twitter.com/pfY6KV8FwL
March 4, 2017 Andrew Ramsey
49th over: India 121-4 (Rahul 65, Karun Nair 2)
“Last time I played this bloke…” we hear the abrasive Matthew Wade say behind the stumps as Nair faces up, but then the audio cuts out, so we don’t hear the end of what surely must have been a bon mot to rank with Jimmy Ormond’s take-down of Mark Waugh (“At least I’m the best player in my own family”). But Nair gets off the mark with two from the bowling of O’Keefe. “Every dog has their day when it comes to playing spin,” says Matthew Hayden. Perhaps a Border Collie would do better than India right now.
Ajinkya Rahane has gone mad! What was he thinking there? The Indian No5 charges halfway down the wicket in search of another hefty blow and misses it, and he’s so far down the pitch that not even a fumble and scramble from Matthew Wade behind the stumps can save him. He’s stumped by a mile. Lyon has another!
Australian keeper Matthew Wade stumps India’s Ajinkya Rahane. Photograph: Danish Siddiqui/Reuters
47th over: India 118-3 (Rahul 65, Rahane 17)
“Bowled!” bellows Brett Lee now, abandoning any sense of objectivity and openly barracking for a Steve O’Keefe wicket. He might burst through the glass if it happens. “Every ball is a brand new racing event,” adds Matthew Hayden. “You just have to let it go.” If you can translate that into English for me, answers on the back of an envelope and all that. O’Keefe has 0-17 off 11 overs.
45th over: India 113-3 (Rahul 62, Rahane 15)
Matthew Hayden is back, and he says the tension is now mounting, which is certainly true of my own state of mind at the very least. He reckons 350 is a par score in the first innings, and this like all of his utterings comes in the anguished cadence of a man dictating his bank pin code to mugger. Rahane meanwhile, burgles a boundary when he takes a full toss from O’Keefe and biffs it through mid-on. You don’t get many of those from SOK.
43rd over: India 106-3 (Rahul 61, Rahane 9)
O’Keefe is into his ninth over now and with another maiden, he’s only conceded 10 runs thusfar. It’s really applying the squeeze at one end, and very sound partnership bowling. Meanwhile, I need an answer to the below:
40th over: India 105-3 (Rahul 61, Rahane 8)
India pass the hundred mark now but Nathan Lyon has both batsmen in a bit of bother here, and is producing a quite magnificent spell of spin bowling. Sunil Gavaskar is calling it “brilliant”, and he’s not a man given to undue praise for Australians. Right as I type that, Rahane pitter-patters down the track like Fred Astaire and hoists the spinner over cow for a boundary. Good one Sunny.
39th over: India 99-3 (Rahul 60, Rahane 3)
“They’re better than what they’re playing like at the moment,” is Michael Clarke’s appraisal of India, and there is probably some truth to that. Virat Kohli can’t keep getting out cheaply, for one. Lokesh Rahul, meanwhile, takes a ball that Hazlewood angles in to him and quite deliberately opens the face to edge it through gully for four. Earlier Clarke was begging the Indian opener to turn the strike more often, and here he does so, sort of: a single from the final ball.
37th over: India 93-3 (Rahul 54, Rahane 3)
Rahul gets a single to mid-off at the half-way mark of this Hazlewood over, but there’s nowt else on offer for the batsmen as the burly paceman does his thing. I know I’ve said it before, but he does present a challenge to the OBOer: how to explain all those dot balls in compelling terms without lying a little? Michael Clarke has replaced Matthew Hayden now, so I’ll see what gems he’s got for us.
Kohli departs! Sensational stuff from Nathan Lyon. That thing I said about taking him off? Clearly I was kidding. Here he has the Indian maestro shuffling across the crease in front of his stumps but Kohli inexplicably leaves it. It pitched outside the line of off stump and spun in at a decent rate but with no shot offered and contact coming in line with middle stump, it’s about as out as you can get. Remarkable! Nathan Lyon has done it again. Three balls earlier Kohli hit a sublime cover drive for four. Now he looks a chump.
31st over: India 79-2 (Rahul 49, Kohli 6)
I know I shouldn’t dwell on the commentary, dear readers, but there is something utterly maddening about listening to Matthew Hayden commentate a cricket game. It makes you wish you were reading one of his cookbooks. Throw Brett Lee into the mix and you start hoping for a padded cell. Virat Kohli, meanwhile, presses forward to Starc’s final delivery of the over and lathers a quite sublime cover drive to the fence. This is going to be fun.
30th over: India 75-2 (Rahul 49, Kohli 2)
Kohli strokes a single off Lyon to get off the mark and his most obsessive fans are almost fainting at the sheer magnificence of it all. “There is a crush of humanity in this country,” says Matthew Hayden, which is a worrying way to start a sentence. Fear not, he adds that this is “infectious”. He’s off on one. Lyon, on the other hand, is not looking quite as threatening as before lunch, but the stakes and atmosphere are both slightly different now.
29th over: India 72-2 (Rahul 48, Kohli o)
As Mitchell Starc returns, and the hostilities resume, the presence of Matthew Hayden and Brett Lee in the StarSports commentary box means that the conversation immediately turns to … curry. We wouldn’t stoop to such levels of content-padding on the OBO, but if you’re interested I’ve had to make do with some wasabi peas and a can of Pepsi Max: the choice of absolutely no generation. Starc bowls a maiden. He’s probably just wolfed down a bowl of chia seeds and kale.
Not the greatest omen: Fox Sports are currently playing the Laxman-Dravid mega-partnership of 2001. Why? Whyyyyyyy? Fans of Michael Slater should look away now. In other news, much of India is about to grind to a halt as Virat Kohli arrives at the crease to bat. We’re a few minutes away from the second session on day one.
But…a word of warning
You can never get too far ahead of yourself on Indian tours.
India 2-72 at lunch. Last time they batted first in Test here v Pak in 2007 they ended 1st session 4-65 – and went on to make 626 #INDvAUS
Che Pujara is practically Nathan Lyon’s bunny
Nathan Lyon, take a bow
Lyon this session Incredible grouping. Varied pace. Took wicket. pic.twitter.com/5Z61ckD9iN
March 4, 2017 Jarrod Kimber
Nathan Lyon strikes! Oh dear, that is a disaster for Che Pujara, who was shielding his partner from the strike brilliantly in the closing stages of the session but from Nathan Lyon’s penultimate delivery, gets an inside edge onto his leg and can’t do anything to stop Peter Handscomb swooping on it at short leg. Perhaps he didn’t deserve that, but Lyon is rewarded for a very handy spell of bowling and gets a crucial wicket for his side.
Australia’s players celebrate the wicket of India’s Cheteshwar Pujara. Photograph: Danish Siddiqui/Reuters
The highlight of this over is a slow-motion, side-on replay of Che Pujara’s forward defence to Mitchell Starc. It showcases how the Indian batsman can make even the most express pace look pedestrian, playing it late and comfortably. I wish I could do a single thing as well as that. Blimey. He also glances one down to fine leg off the last ball of the over to retain the strike. I wouldn’t bet against that being an attempt to save impetuous Lokesh Rahul from himself in what might be the final over of the session.
25th over: India 68-1 (Rahul 47, Pujara 14)
Sunil Gavaskar is talking Lokesh Rahul down a bit here, but he’s done pretty well so far this morning. With a little under 15 minutes until the break he’s moving closer to a half-century and weathered a few probing spells. Full tosses help, too. Starc gives him one off the final delivery here and it’s dispatched for a boundary.
Lokesh Rahul gets forward. Photograph: Aijaz Rahi/AP
24th over: India 64-1 (Rahul 43, Pujara 14)
Lyon has a deep mid-wicket and long-on in place for Pujara, which seems ludicrously optimistic at this juncture. He’s really given no indication he’d like to start lofting them towards the stands. With some sharp turn from the off-spinner Pujara turns a lovely glance down to fine leg for one. Lyon is very unlucky a delivery later when a fuller one stays low and beats the outside edge, the stumps, and wicket-keeper Matthew Wade to dribble away for four byes. Wade might not want to look at that replay.
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