Hey selectors, he spells his name K.H.A.W.A.J.A

David Lord Columnist

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    Another superb Test ton from the very reliable Steve Smith and a career best from the usually very unreliable Glenn Maxwell earned Australia control of the third Test against India at Ranchi on the opening day.

    Having won the toss and batted, Smith’s 19th Test century was the ultimate display of concentration. The Australian skipper took 227 deliveries to become the third visiting captain to score two tons in the same seres in India after West Indian Clive Lloyd, who achieved the feat twice, and Englishman Alastair Cook.

    Smith also became the third fastest to pass 5000 runs in 53 Tests after Sir Donald Bradman’s 36, and Sunil Gavaskar’s 52.

    For the record Sir Jack Hobbs, Matt Hayden and Sir Leonard Hutton took 55, Sir Garfield Sobers 56, Wally Hammond, while Virender Sehwag, Younis Khan, and David Warner each took 59.

    Smith’s unbroken 159 for the fifth wicket with Maxwell broke the previous record in India held by the 149 set by Michael Clarke and Matt Wade in 2013.

    Maxwell was a revelation. He left his irritating cowboy antics in the shed and settled down to support his skipper with impressive self-control.

    To prove the point, Maxwell’s first boundary took 56 deliveries – an unheard of stat.

    In his previous three Tests, he had scored 13, 8, 10, 8, 37, and 4 for 80 runs at a miserable 13.33.

    Yesterday, he passed his previous career runs facing 147 deliveries, doing himself and his country proud.

    Australia Test player Glenn Maxwell raises his bat

    Hopefully the cowboy in him is now in the dust bin of history.

    The pair resume today with Smith on 117 and Maxwell 82 at 4-299, and a target of around 450 surely in mind, which would realistically make Australia unbeatable on a dicey wicket.

    Both Smith and Maxwell had to be very patient to get the job done.

    The downside to yesterday was Shaun Marsh’s effort, begging the question of how many failures by the Western Australian before the selectors punt him?

    He should never have been selected before Usman Khawaja for the first Test, and since then Marsh has scored 15, 0, 66 and been dropped at 14, 9, and two.

    Khawaja must be selected for the fourth and final Test, providing he’s not bored to death and/or sobbing because he’s been watching instead of playing.

    David Warner is another disappointment in this series, but his opening partnerships with Matt Renshaw have been spectacular.

    Since they first teamed up against South Africa in Adelaide, the pair has posted six 50-plus opening stands in nine starts, with a top score of 151.

    It’s early days, but so far they have accumulated 549 runs at 81. That is right up there with Australia’s best.

    Bobby Simpson and Bill Lawry posted 3600 runs at 59.01, Matt Hayden and Justin Langer 6081 at 51.53, and Mark Taylor with Michael Slater and their 3887 at 51.14.

    Later today, firebrand Pat Cummins will end his six-year-long wait to play his second Test after a spate of injuries.

    He was the man of the match on debut aged 18, and today he will make up for lost time.

    David Lord
    David Lord

    David Lord was deeply involved in two of the biggest sporting stories - World Series Cricket in 1977 and professional rugby in 1983. After managing Jeff Thomson and Viv Richards during WSC, in 1983 David signed 208 of the best rugby players from Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales and France to play an international pro circuit. The concept didn’t get off the ground, but it did force the IRB to get cracking and bring in the World Rugby Cup, now one of the world’s great sporting spectacles

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    The Crowd Says (30)

    • March 17th 2017 @ 11:12am
      Adrian said | March 17th 2017 @ 11:12am | ! Report

      I agree. I think SMarsh has done the worst of the players in the team and is the one to dump, and see if Khawaja actually can play spin.

      • March 17th 2017 @ 12:32pm
        Ron said | March 17th 2017 @ 12:32pm | ! Report

        Great article and yes I can’t belie Khawaja who has been our rock is not in the side, cab the Shaun marsh supporters please admit that our best number 3 should always have been there

        • March 17th 2017 @ 10:06pm
          Ron said | March 17th 2017 @ 10:06pm | ! Report

          We are the only nation who drops a world class number 3 after he averages 70+ in the summer and for who, Shaun marsh

    • Roar Pro

      March 17th 2017 @ 12:05pm
      Andrew Young said | March 17th 2017 @ 12:05pm | ! Report

      Agreed- Marsh (well both of them for that matter) is a frustrating sight in our batting line up. If the argument put forth by the selectors is that Usman can’t play spin, why is he in the touring party? If they claim his non-selection is based on a like-for-like type replacement, why is a touring party of 16 necessary?
      Credit where it’s due to Maxwell, so glad to see him perform; and hopefully he can cement a spot in the line up.

      • March 17th 2017 @ 12:34pm
        Ron said | March 17th 2017 @ 12:34pm | ! Report

        It’s simple , you don’t take a guy who absolutely blasted the batting in Khawaja based on 2 bad tests in sti Lanka , it was absurd

        • March 17th 2017 @ 10:07pm
          Ross said | March 17th 2017 @ 10:07pm | ! Report

          I am confident Khawaja will get picked for the fourth test

    • Roar Guru

      March 17th 2017 @ 12:27pm
      Chris Kettlewell said | March 17th 2017 @ 12:27pm | ! Report

      Is it a dicey wicket? Unfortunately I have no real way of actually getting to see any action, just following scores online and the like. In some previous away series I have managed to find some dodgy online stream of the game I could watch, caught a bit of the Sri Lankan series that way, but haven’t been so lucky this time. So I can see the scores, but no idea how the pitch is behaving.

      People talk 450 and my thought is that I still wouldn’t feel safe until I’d seen the Aussie bowlers scythe through the Indian batting lineup. Especially after England lost by an innings after scoring 477 just a matter of weeks ago. Is this a significantly harder pitch to bat on than that and Australia’s 4/299 is really good, or is it a pretty good batting track and anything short of 550 could be precarious?

      I had seen some commentary suggesting big turn from Ashwin, along with some pretty decent reverse swing happening, so the combination of those things may give the Aussie bowlers enough to work with to defend their total and hopefully build a good first innings lead. But until I’ve watched the wickets tick away in the Indian innings there’s still going to be nerves there even if they manage a 450 first innings score.

      • Roar Guru

        March 17th 2017 @ 12:39pm
        Anindya Dutta said | March 17th 2017 @ 12:39pm | ! Report

        I watched most of the match streaming yesterday. And the pitch is a road so far. Absolutely nothing in it. I would expect it would deteriorate with time but I dont see why it wont play well at least for another 2 days.

      • Roar Pro

        March 17th 2017 @ 12:59pm
        Jason Rebelo said | March 17th 2017 @ 12:59pm | ! Report

        So far there’s been a bit of turn, and maybe at most 5 balls have bounced a bit, but for the most part this pitch is very low and slow. Very little in it for the bowlers, but I expect the pitch will break up by day 4.

        Looks really can be deceiving, I thought this might be the worst pitch for batting so far, but it really is just quite flat at the moment.

        • Roar Guru

          March 17th 2017 @ 1:34pm
          Anindya Dutta said | March 17th 2017 @ 1:34pm | ! Report

          Yes Jason and thats exactly what I have said on multiple threads on Roar before the match started that Smith has no clue about the pitch which is why he made those comments that caused some anxiety, but given the soil and my experience with pitches in that exact part of the country, low and slow and no great turn were my exact calls.

    • Roar Guru

      March 17th 2017 @ 12:40pm
      Anindya Dutta said | March 17th 2017 @ 12:40pm | ! Report

      With Virat out of the match and potentially the series, I do however think this is Australia’s match and series to lose.

      • March 17th 2017 @ 1:00pm
        Ouch said | March 17th 2017 @ 1:00pm | ! Report

        Is he definitely out?

        TOI says he’s playing

        • Roar Guru

          March 17th 2017 @ 1:35pm
          Anindya Dutta said | March 17th 2017 @ 1:35pm | ! Report

          Knowing Virat and his work ethic and will to win, if India needs him to bat, he will bat, unless he cant move his shoulder at all. But I suspect the effort will be on to give him the rest he needs.

    • March 17th 2017 @ 1:05pm
      Perry Bridge said | March 17th 2017 @ 1:05pm | ! Report

      Hi David,

      This series at least should be educating people to review context as well as just pure stats.

      You’ve correctly noted: “In his previous three Tests, he had scored 13, 8, 10, 8, 37, and 4 for 80 runs at a miserable 13.33. ”

      However,

      Recall that the first 3 knocks were at #8, #8 and #7.

      On debut in Hyderabad – coming in a #8, was 5th highest score for the innings with 13 and was dismissed by a ball that bounced sharply while playing off the back foot. Nothing silly. The other batters 7-11 scored 6 between them.

      2nd inns with Aust facing a 266 run first deficit (and note – Maxwell 4/127 and got Vijay, Kohli, Dohni and Jadeja, while Doherty 3/131 got Ashwin, Harbhajan Singh and Kumar – the tail). Again in at #8, and ironically this time was 6th top score just behind Watson with 9 – Aust all out 131, and the other batters 7-11 scored 5 between them.

      What we learned that day was Henriques at #7 was a no-no. 5 & 0, and 0/45.

      His 2nd test in Delhi batted #7, made 10. Yep – soft out – Maxwell failure. Came in at 5/117. This match ironically featured the twin 50s of P.Siddle.

      2nd inns opened with Warner, both made 8, both fell to Jadeja.

      And bowling – 1/12 and 2/54. A tad expensive economy wise, but 7 wickets off about 40 overs, for 193 runs. Seen worse.

      3rd test – Abu Dhabi – batting 4 and 3 and I don’t know anyone who ever thought that was a sensible idea.
      The 37 first innings could have been his making but he’d made it off only 27 balls with 2 4s and a 6 and it was too risky a shot to get out – so, yep, Maxwell ‘failure’ in that respect. Who knows what his ‘licence’ was in this match???

      Anyway – main point of this is – work out how you’re judging him.

      As a #7 or #8 bat? In the side as a spinner – that’s the first 3 innings.

      Or – as a misplaced top 4 batter – that’s the next 3 innings.

      Isn’t it nice to see him in a spot a little more suited – #6. Seems a good fit. And – he certainly seems (so far) more at ease against the spin but, like everyone else – it will be far tougher work in the 2nd innings. What we saw in the previous tests was the batters from both sides seemingly determine that just holding out wasn’t going to ensure survival so they attacked. And spoonfuls of luck were required (Smith’s 100 in Pune an obvious example – with bucket loads of luck). So – Maxwell with that ‘licence’ might just come off – 2 overs might be enough if he does – 6 overs might turn the game. At least now – we’ve seen what he can do in the 1st innings.

      • Columnist

        March 17th 2017 @ 2:25pm
        David Lord said | March 17th 2017 @ 2:25pm | ! Report

        PB, I hasten to remind you Steve Smith started his Test career batting 8, 9, 8, 8, 6, 6, 6, 6, 7, and 7.

        Today he’s the world number one ranked batsman, right at home batting anywhere.

        Any comparison between Steve Smith and Glenn Maxwell applies only to currently being in the same side, and right-handed.

        Period.

        • March 18th 2017 @ 1:03am
          chump said | March 18th 2017 @ 1:03am | ! Report

          Seems to me like Maxwell and Smith are the only ones to make 100 this test?

        • March 21st 2017 @ 4:48pm
          Larry said | March 21st 2017 @ 4:48pm | ! Report

          Still dropping Marsh Lordy!?

          Your shout!

      • Roar Rookie

        March 18th 2017 @ 2:52am
        El Loco said | March 18th 2017 @ 2:52am | ! Report

        Perry Bridge, I assume you haven’t responded to David’s post because it’s hard to type even “WTF?” when you’re in an absurdity-induced state of catatonia?

    • Roar Rookie

      March 17th 2017 @ 1:06pm
      Disco Stu said | March 17th 2017 @ 1:06pm | ! Report

      Please stop your inconsistent use of statistics.

      When listing the scores for Shaun Marsh you had to discredit his 66 with a (dropped on 14), but when you say Steve Smith was the third visiting captain to score two centuries on an Indian tour you didn’t feel the need to mention all the times he was dropped in Pune.

      For the record I agree with you on Khawaja, but for god’s sake write an unbiased article for once. If getting dropped early in an innings means it wasn’t a good innings, then apply that rule to everyone.

      • Roar Rookie

        March 18th 2017 @ 5:50am
        Kashmir said | March 18th 2017 @ 5:50am | ! Report

        In that 66, caught behind early in the innings but kohli didn’t review, dropped once, 3 or four half chances that fell short, plumb lbw to a no ball, given not out lbw, reviewed and stayed not out due to umpires call, and what not. He got that 66 on the back of 7 or 8 let offs.

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