Ranchi will test the mettle of Australia’s batting

David Lord Columnist

By David Lord, David Lord is a Roar Expert

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42 Have your say

    Cheteshwar Pujura’s patient double century at Ranchi yesterday has turned the third Test into a match only India can win.

    It took Pujara an Indian-record 525 deliveries, eclipsing legend Rahul Dravid’s 495 for his 270 against Pakistan at Rawalpindi in 2004.

    That gave India an unexpected 152-run lead over Australia’s 451, setting up a fascinating final day.

    With a minimum 540 deliveries to face, and already two down, the bottle of the Australian batting will be sorely tested.

    With David Warner and night-watchman Nathan Lyon the casualties, skipper Steve Smith and Matt Renshaw will resume later this afternoon.

    It just so happens they are the only two Australians who have been consistent performers in this series.

    Smith, the only two-time century maker on both sides, is averaging 87 and Renshaw is averaging 43 with a top score of 68.

    Remember the Australians only needed 188 to win the second Test, but were bundled out for 112

    So Australia will rely on Smith and Renshaw to set the scene and bat for a long time.

    The first target is 152, but realistically Australia has to bat out the day, it’s as simple, and as difficult, as that.

    Next up will be Shaun Marsh, and how often have we said it, his Test career is again on the line.

    He’s been blessed so many times by selectors, but this is it.

    Marsh has managed a 66 in this series, but only averages 18. It’s definitely head down and bum up for the Western Australian today.

    Then there’s Peter Handscomb who went into this series with a Bradmanesque Test average of 99.75 on the back of two centuries and two half-centuries in seven visits, three of them not out.

    Australian batsman Peter Handscomb

    That has been cut to a more realistic 55, however he’s had a start in every dig in India with 22, 19, 16, 24, and 19, but hasn’t gone on with it.

    Today would be the perfect time to start.

    Then there’s Glenn Maxwell, fresh from the innings of his life with a maiden Test ton that didn’t include one reverse sweep, nor a ramp.

    Not interested in the fact one dig isn’t a career, countless Maxwell supporters were very quick to say ‘I told you so’ after the three figures, but today will be vastly different.

    If Maxwell has to bat, Australia will be in deep trouble and demanding the Victorian sees the side safely through to stumps and a draw, with no heroics.

    If the rest of the order – Matt Wade, Pat Cummins, Steve O’Keefe, and Josh Hazlewood have to bat – the troubles will be dire, forcing all four to raise their batting bar to heights they’ve never reached before.

    Yesterday I predicted Australia would win this hard-fought series, and I stick by that prediction.

    This team under Steve Smith has bottle. Today they will prove the point to keep danger men Ashwin and Jadeja at bay to go into the fourth and final Test at Dharamsala for the decider.

    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 (42)

    • March 20th 2017 @ 8:13am
      Peebo said | March 20th 2017 @ 8:13am | ! Report

      David, one can’t help picture you putting pins in a voodoo doll whenever Glenn Maxwell bats. And I must say, that goes well with the image I have of you as a student in journalism 101: asleep on your desk with drool running out of the side of your mouth.

      • March 20th 2017 @ 9:17am
        spruce moose said | March 20th 2017 @ 9:17am | ! Report

        The irony is that for David’s prediction of winning the series to be correct, Maxwell needs to succeed today.

        I wonder what he wants more?

      • Columnist

        March 20th 2017 @ 12:33pm
        David Lord said | March 20th 2017 @ 12:33pm | ! Report

        Ace it up peebo, the way you and your ilk write, you’d swear Glenn Maxwell was the second coming.

        Sure his 104 at Ranchi was a superb knock, but one courageous innings isn’t a career.

        Have you bothered to work out what Maxwell has done outside of Ranchi?

        His last 13 digs with one not out for Australia in ODIs is 233 runs at 19.43 with a top score of 78.

        In Sheffield Shield this season for the Vics five digs for 129, average 25.80 with a top score of 81.

        In the interstate 50-overs, 11 digs for 385, average 35, top score 78.

        Hardly second coming material, even with your rose coloured glasses.

        • March 20th 2017 @ 1:47pm
          Peebo said | March 20th 2017 @ 1:47pm | ! Report

          See Big Kev’s comment below re your pet Warner … perhaps if he was Victorian, you’d spend a bit of time deconstructing the myth he’s a great player

    • Roar Pro

      March 20th 2017 @ 8:40am
      Andrew Young said | March 20th 2017 @ 8:40am | ! Report

      Maxwell just can’t do anything right can he? Let’s rip on him, again, in suspicion that his patient and timely 100 in the first innings was a fluke, and that when Australia need it most, he will instead resort to “cowboy tactics” or an attempt at unrealistic heroics. Every bit of praise you have afforded him and his first innings knock, has been qualified with a judgement of his inability to have demonstrated such skills before, or a guarantee that it won’t last long. I sincerely hope he proves you wrong. Even if he doesn’t, some genuine acknowledgment for what he achieved wouldn’t have gone astray.

    • March 20th 2017 @ 8:56am
      Thunder Nation said | March 20th 2017 @ 8:56am | ! Report

      We will be all out before Lunch

      Wake me up for the AFL season

      This batting lineup is a dogs breakfast

      3-1 to India

    • March 20th 2017 @ 8:57am
      Super said | March 20th 2017 @ 8:57am | ! Report

      Dave Warner now averages under 30 in Asia (after 13 tests.) Why doesn’t this writer ever pick on that? Oh yeah, little Davie is from NSW

      • Roar Guru

        March 20th 2017 @ 11:26am
        Red Kev said | March 20th 2017 @ 11:26am | ! Report

        I would remove the UAE from the “Asia” equation (but that’s only the way I break things down with the UAE and WI standing alone without being grouped for pitch-type averages) and simply go with the “subcontinent” as India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Bangladesh can be grouped as. In that sense he averages 24.45 from 10 tests.

        • March 20th 2017 @ 12:58pm
          Mickyt said | March 20th 2017 @ 12:58pm | ! Report

          Of Warners 18 Test Centuries, 3 have been scored away in South Africa including a century in each innings at Newlands and 1 in “neutral” UAE.

          The rest of his 14 centuries are on Australian “drop in” pitches. The question I would be asking is not whether Warner can / can not play his natural game depending on match circumstances.

          Can Warner indeed bat on wickets outside Australia that provide turn (Asia) or movement in the air and off the pitch (UK)?

          If not maybe have Warner as a specialist “for Australia, in Australia” only player in test cricket.

    • Roar Guru

      March 20th 2017 @ 9:10am
      The Bush said | March 20th 2017 @ 9:10am | ! Report


      Lehmann has come out and said that we didn’t score enough runs in the first innings. A brutal, but I think fair assessment.

      The reality of this wicket is that we shouldn’t be in this position after bowling like that (i.e. containing them for so long). We should have at least made it to 500 or more in that first innings. That would have meant more overs faced and a small gap in the overall total. We might not, for example, have batted last night at all (or if we had, it would have been with a smaller deficit).

      • March 20th 2017 @ 9:19am
        spruce moose said | March 20th 2017 @ 9:19am | ! Report

        Well, the blame lies entirely in one of three categories

        A) glenn maxwell for not getting a big daddy century
        B) the carbon tax
        C) usman khawaja

        • Roar Pro

          March 20th 2017 @ 11:31am
          Andrew Young said | March 20th 2017 @ 11:31am | ! Report


        • March 20th 2017 @ 12:52pm
          Tanami Singh said | March 20th 2017 @ 12:52pm | ! Report

          I blame Labor.

        • Roar Guru

          March 20th 2017 @ 1:21pm
          The Bush said | March 20th 2017 @ 1:21pm | ! Report

          You didn’t even take the time to put them in order spruce:

          a) Cowboy

          b) Aussie Ussie; and then, belatedly

          c) Carbon Tax.

    • Roar Guru

      March 20th 2017 @ 9:44am
      Anindya Dutta said | March 20th 2017 @ 9:44am | ! Report

      “Unexpected lead” should not have been completely unexpected. As soon as Australia batted and found the pitch was a road, it was painfully obvious that it was going to be a repetition of the England series just past when India did exactly the same to england time and again on such pitches. And whichever way you spin it, Australia would not have got even 300+ if Maxwell had not hit that century because Smith would just have run out of partners. So let’s give the guy a chance instead of second guessing his future on past performance from a few years ago.

      • March 20th 2017 @ 12:06pm
        Andrew said | March 20th 2017 @ 12:06pm | ! Report

        +1, cant argue that.

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