The Liebke Ratings: India vs Australia second Test

Dan Liebke Columnist

By Dan Liebke, Dan Liebke is a Roar Expert

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    One of the all time great Tests ended with India defeating Australia by 75 runs on the fourth day to leave the series tied at one game apiece.

    And let’s be honest, most of us expected Australia to be somehow comically 0-3 down in this series by this stage. If you’d offered us 1-1 after two Tests before this series started, we’d have glued your lips together before you could retract the offer.

    Here are the ratings for the second Test between India and Australia.

    Ugly Aussies
    Grade: D

    Virat Kohli won the toss and elected to bat first, a decision that brought out the worst in Australia. Mitchell Starc dismissed Abhinav Mukund for a duck, and Nathan Lyon picked up Cheteshwar Pujara for 17, bringing Kohli to the crease with India at 2/72.

    The Indian captain made his way to 12 before attempting to leave one from Lyon and being given out LBW. Pretty shameful stuff from the Australians, who unsportingly keep dismissing Kohli in this series when he’s not even trying to hit it.

    Kohli immediately reviewed the obviously out decision, presumably just to give Steve Smith the opportunity to come to his senses and withdraw the appeal. But the Australian captain refused to do so, and Kohli was forced to go.

    How low will the ugly Aussies sink?

    Nathan Lyon
    Grade: A-

    But Kohli’s wicket was just one in an eight-wicket haul from Lyon, who tore through the Indians for just 189 on the first day.

    Such was Lyon’s dominance that he ended the innings by taking the wickets of Ravindra Jadeja and Ishant Sharma off successive balls, ensuring he’d be on a hat-trick when he next bowled.

    Sadly, he didn’t manage to complete the hat trick in India’s second innings. In fact, he didn’t take a single wicket in his 33 overs. Still, he was out first ball when he batted. Surely that should have counted as the completion of his hat-trick?

    Nathan Lyon of Australia looks on

    The Marsh brothers
    Grade: C

    Nathan Lyon completed his hat trick with the bat, however, the rest of the team had a hit. (Exception: the very polite Josh Hazlewood.)

    Perhaps the key moment in the innings was when Peter Handscomb was dismissed with the score on 4/160, ensuring that Mitchell Marsh would join his brother Shaun at the crease.

    As he did so, a strange feeling of deja vu came over older fans of Test cricket. Wasn’t this exactly how we felt when the Waugh twins came together to bat against the West Indies in the deciding Test in 1995?

    Could the Marsh brothers replicate the efforts of their Waugh-like predecessors? Would they be able to bat Australia from a position of peril to a position where the series trophy was almost certainly secured? Could they show –

    Alas, before we could even finish the third rhetorical question, Mitch Marsh was gone for a duck to a ball from Sharma.

    So, yeah. No.

    Reboots
    Grade: B+

    Still, despite Mitch’s failure, some excellent batting from Shaun, Matthew Wade and Mitchell Starc helped Australia to 276, a lead of 87 runs on the first innings.

    By this stage, baffled customers had alerted the tech support team that something was going very wrong with this Test series.

    So during the innings break, they turned the cricketing universe off and then back on again, allowing normal service to resume. Oh, sure, Glenn Maxwell wandered on to field for a while when it was unclear whether anybody else had gone off. But, y’know, he tends to do that. He’s very excitable, is Glenn.

    The freshly rebooted Test series saw India secure themselves a lead and end the third day in something resembling control, thanks to a century partnership between Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane.

    Starc’s all-rounderiness
    Grade: B

    And yet, Australia were still determined to hack the series. Taking the new ball on the fourth day, Starc bowled a deliciously bonkers spell that saw at least two Harmisonesque deliveries to the slips cordon precede a couple of unplayable snorters that put him on a hat-trick.

    You half-expected the hat-trick ball to go over gully’s head on the full, such was the unpredictability of Starc’s bowling. It didn’t, but, with Josh Hazlewood also chipping in, India suddenly collapsed from 4/238 to 274 all out, leaving Australia needing just 188 to win.

    With such a small target, a case could have been made for Starc batting at four, giving him a license to attack without the pressure of imminent defeat. It might have made a difference in a lowish chase.

    But instead, Australia pigheadedly stuck to their usual batting order and ultimately fell short. Probably for the best. There was a lot of chat before the Test that, based on Test figures and ICC rankings, Starc was the superior all-rounder to Mitchell Marsh and we don’t need to encourage such talk.

    Because if I know the Australian selectors, they’d react to that realisation by dropping Starc from the side just to avoid Mitch feeling bad.

    So, mum’s the word, guys. OK?

    Have Your Say



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    The Crowd Says (35)

    • Roar Guru

      March 8th 2017 @ 8:21am
      DingoGray said | March 8th 2017 @ 8:21am | ! Report

      Oh Dan, thanks for the laugh!

      Outstanding once again! I wish I had of read this before I kicked the crap out of my dog last night
      after watching yet another outstanding well complied collapse!

      • Columnist

        March 8th 2017 @ 8:29am
        Dan Liebke said | March 8th 2017 @ 8:29am | ! Report

        People, don’t kick your dogs.

      • March 8th 2017 @ 11:01pm
        Brasstax said | March 8th 2017 @ 11:01pm | ! Report

        DingoGray, i hope you jest when you say that you kicked the crap out of your dog. But if you really did, pray that we don’t cross paths because i just might kick the crap out of you. I hate animal abuse and that is the only thing i will never forgive any human for.

        • Roar Guru

          March 9th 2017 @ 9:30am
          DingoGray said | March 9th 2017 @ 9:30am | ! Report

          Brasstax, I do hope that we do stumble across each other, as I think you need a good kicking!
          To have read my comment in anything other than jest, I think you need a good kicking.

    • March 8th 2017 @ 8:39am
      Rahul Vaid said | March 8th 2017 @ 8:39am | ! Report

      No bit about Smith-Kohli DRS spat?! Come on mate, were you even watching on day 4?

      • Columnist

        March 8th 2017 @ 9:52am
        Dan Liebke said | March 8th 2017 @ 9:52am | ! Report

        I have only a finite number of words to work with here. You can always follow me on twitter or check out my website if you want bonus musings on such topics.

    • March 8th 2017 @ 8:53am
      JohnB said | March 8th 2017 @ 8:53am | ! Report

      Surely a comedy rating for the pitch would have been in order?

      • Columnist

        March 8th 2017 @ 9:54am
        Dan Liebke said | March 8th 2017 @ 9:54am | ! Report

        See reply to Rahul above

        • March 8th 2017 @ 10:36am
          JohnB said | March 8th 2017 @ 10:36am | ! Report

          Must make a nice change from having to scrap for material!

          • Columnist

            March 8th 2017 @ 11:08am
            Dan Liebke said | March 8th 2017 @ 11:08am | ! Report

            Definitely much more preferable. Some of those tedious ODIs are tough.

    • March 8th 2017 @ 8:55am
      Adsa said | March 8th 2017 @ 8:55am | ! Report

      If only the Marsh boys were twins.

      • Columnist

        March 8th 2017 @ 9:53am
        Dan Liebke said | March 8th 2017 @ 9:53am | ! Report

        FUN FACT: They were supposed to be twins, but Shaun was out early.

        • March 8th 2017 @ 10:44am
          Jameswm said | March 8th 2017 @ 10:44am | ! Report

          Great comeback…

        • March 8th 2017 @ 10:54am
          TheCunningLinguistic said | March 8th 2017 @ 10:54am | ! Report

          Boom- very clever!

        • March 8th 2017 @ 2:42pm
          matth said | March 8th 2017 @ 2:42pm | ! Report

          Brilliant

    • March 8th 2017 @ 9:08am
      Rilo said | March 8th 2017 @ 9:08am | ! Report

      I thought Starc should have come in earlier in the second innings to try to get a few runs off the total quickly. But then again I guess you need to back your genuine batsmen (and the Marsh’s) to do the job.

      • March 8th 2017 @ 10:44am
        Jameswm said | March 8th 2017 @ 10:44am | ! Report

        I was wondering that too. Give him a licence without the pressure on him if he comes in at 8 (guaranteed things will be tense then).

    • March 8th 2017 @ 9:32am
      Ronnie said | March 8th 2017 @ 9:32am | ! Report

      How long are we going to have to put up with the MARSHES??????
      Mitch is not bowling, Smith certainly is not showing any confidence in him.
      So should # 6 be M. Marsh or uzzie ??
      While looking at it how many runs and potential wickets has WADE conceded.
      Wouldn’t it be great to be an untouchable in the selectors eyes????

      • March 8th 2017 @ 10:39am
        JohnB said | March 8th 2017 @ 10:39am | ! Report

        S Marsh did top score in the first innings, and was fired in the second, so a little harsh to criticise him too much. Wade’s first innings runs weren’t to be sneezed at (and there were plenty of byes on both sides). He didn’t drop Pujara from what I recall. M Marsh certainly didn’t do anything much this game but wasn’t entirely on his own in that.

        • March 8th 2017 @ 12:53pm
          Pedro the Maroon said | March 8th 2017 @ 12:53pm | ! Report

          Pujara was Wade’s catch to his right hand. He was a block of concrete so Smith had to go late with his left hand.

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