Defiant Handscomb and Marsh do Australia proud

David Lord Columnist

By David Lord, David Lord is a Roar Expert

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    Australia will go into the series deciding fourth and final Test on a huge high after Peter Handscomb and Shaun Marsh had played the innings of their lives yesterday at Ranchi.

    Skipper Steve Smith and a determined Matt Renshaw opened proceedings on the final day with a minimum 90 overs to face to save the Test after India led on the first innings by 151 runs.

    It was one helluva ask to survive, but Australia did it superbly against the equal top-ranked Test bowlers in the world – spin twins Ravi Ashwin, and Ravi Jadeja on a wicket tailor-made for them.

    This was a scoreboard to read without runs, but rather balls faced to soak up time.

    And it makes for riveting reading.

    Peter Handscomb – 200 deliveries.
    Shaun Marsh – 197.
    Matt Renshaw – 84.
    Steve Smith – 68.
    David Warner – 16.
    Matt Wade – 16.
    Glenn Maxwell – 15.
    And nightwtchman Nathan Lyon – 7.

    That adds up to 603 deliveries faced for the 100 overs of the innings, plus the three no-balls.

    Renshaw and Smith set the pace with 152 deliveries between them, before Renshaw was trapped in front, and for some unfathomable reason the skipper shouldered arms, and lost his castle.

    That left the Handscomb and Marsh stand as the most likely to save the Test, even though there was a long way to go.

    Both have had a very ordinary series – yet their 62-over stand was pure class.

    It’s been 32 innings since an Australian pair has posted a Test century partnership for the fifth wicket, but at Ranchi they did it twice.

    The Smith-Maxwell partnership of 191 off 354 deliveries dominated the baggy green’s first innings total of 451.

    Yesterday Marsh and Handscomb put on 124 off 373 on the most difficult of pitches against the two best spinners in the world.

    Marsh and Handscomb will never play better digs for Australia, with Marsh saving his career.

    Australian batsman Shaun Marsh reacts after scoring a century

    And they proved the perfect foil of left-hander Marsh, and right-handed Handscomb, as the two Ravis tried in vain to separate them.

    Their dot balls tell the story of the Australian’s patience.

    Jadeja bowled 230 dot balls in his 44 overs, Ashwin 148 in his 30 – totalling 378 – from their 74 of the 100 overs.

    That alone defied the cynics, many of whom wrote off the Australians by predicting they would be all out by lunch.

    I’m waiting for the knockers to step forward to say the were very wrong, and salute the draw.

    But I won’t be holding my breath, just as I won’t be expecting the army of Glenn Maxwell supporters to explain why he only faced 15 deliveries for his couple of runs with 29 minutes left on the clock.

    There was still a danger of defeat, but Handscomb and Wade safely saw Australia home.

    So the fourth and final Test at Dharamsala will be the series decider with Australia on a massive high saving the Test, while India will still be smarting at not putting Australia away when they had all the elements in their favour.

    That puts the baggy greens in the box seat to turn the screws for Steve Smith to hold aloft the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.

    And no doubt throw the odd smiling glance towards Virat Kohli.

    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 21st 2017 @ 4:20am
      Brasstax said | March 21st 2017 @ 4:20am | ! Report

      Great job by Handscomb and Shaun Marsh but it was hardly the most difficult pitch to bat on as opposed to what David Lord says.

    • March 21st 2017 @ 5:10am
      SonOfLordy said | March 21st 2017 @ 5:10am | ! Report

      I think it was virtually even money at the start of the day for a draw. Australia were already in a decent position at lunch with only 2 wickets down for the day.

      It was a great effort, but this is a pitch where Australia could only manage 4 or 5 wickets for the best part of 150-200 overs. Australia got a flurry of cheap wickets at the end when India starting throwing the bat at everything. I’m not sure the pitch was as difficult as you make out. India got the moral victory in that Test.

      Had India got bundled out early on day four only 50 runs behind Australia, Australia likely get a 250 plus lead and put India in to bat on the last day on a hiding to nothing.

      India turned the tables and gave themselves an even money chance of winning on day 5.

      If Smith managed the workload of his bowlers better on days 3 and 4, and used his other spinner for more than 4 overs, then maybe Australia would have gone into the final day looking to bowl out India for victory.

      The one that got away for Australia because of some of the worst captaincy I have ever seen from an Australia captain. Tactically daft and undermines his own troops out of spite.

      • March 21st 2017 @ 8:27pm
        Swanny said | March 21st 2017 @ 8:27pm | ! Report

        Son or Lordy

        It must have hurt u that Shaun marsh batted well .

    • Columnist

      March 21st 2017 @ 5:24am
      David Lord said | March 21st 2017 @ 5:24am | ! Report

      For starters, I only had one son Andrew who died far too young at 47, so SonOfLordy really offends me.

      How any Roarers can belittle what the Australians achieved yesterday defies description.

      They were facing the two equally top ranked bowlers in Test cricket – Ravi Ashwin and Ravi Jadeja – who bowled 74 of the 100 overs in Australia’s second dig for 378 dot balls.

      That translates to 63 overs of their 74 were the equivalent of maidens.

      Slamming the door shut over an entire final day on a wicket to suit Ashwin and Jadeja to save a Test, deserves nothing but the highest praise.

      • March 21st 2017 @ 5:40am
        Peebo said | March 21st 2017 @ 5:40am | ! Report

        Sorry to hear about Andrew, David. 47 is way too young.

        Great draw by the Aussies. The pitch was a road, all the same. Still a 5th day pitch is always a challenge, so Handscomb and Marsh were magnificent.

        On Maxwell, he prodded forward responsibly 15 times. No need for cheap shots. Save that for when he’s ramping when we’re trying to force a draw.

        • Columnist

          March 21st 2017 @ 7:34am
          David Lord said | March 21st 2017 @ 7:34am | ! Report

          It’s not a cheap shot Peebo, just one of exasperation.

          Glenn Maxwell came in at one of the least tension filled moments of the day, and lasted 15 deliveries.

          Earlier in the day when tension was at its highest, Matt Renshaw lasted 84 deliveries, Steve Smith 68, and Shaun Marsh 197 before they were dismissed soaking up all that precious time, while Peter Handscomb was still there at the death having faced 200 deliveries.

          I’ll give you the perfect comparison.

          Allan Border was 10 per cent natural ability, and 90 per cent sheer guts, determination, and application, He had a range of shots he was happy with and for the majority of innings he put those deliveries away.

          Glenn Maxwell is 90 per cent natural ability, and 10 per cent guts, determination, and application where he so often gets out early, or doesn’t build on a start to an innings, by trying to live up to the entertainer tag.

          That Peebo is the difference between a legend, and a waste of talent.

          • March 21st 2017 @ 7:42am
            Peebo said | March 21st 2017 @ 7:42am | ! Report

            David, leave it alone for a day and enjoy our great escape. Maxwell may have failed, but he was disciplined. You can rip into him again when he’s something otherwise.

            • March 21st 2017 @ 8:01am
              punter said | March 21st 2017 @ 8:01am | ! Report

              Exactly Peebo, wrong time to have a go at Maxwell.

              There are people with far greater natural ability that never ever got to play for Australia let alone score a hundred in every form of cricket for his country. This is life.

            • Columnist

              March 21st 2017 @ 8:05am
              David Lord said | March 21st 2017 @ 8:05am | ! Report

              Peebo, I long for the day when praising Glenn Maxwell is the norm, and the Australian team in all three formats will be the beneficiary.

              That’s where talent is supposed to surface.

              • March 21st 2017 @ 9:18am
                AdrianK said | March 21st 2017 @ 9:18am | ! Report

                I thought Maxwell was just unlucky. At least he batted more responsibly than Warner.

              • March 21st 2017 @ 11:46am
                Arky said | March 21st 2017 @ 11:46am | ! Report

                Without Maxwell’s hundred in the first innings (an innings in which Marsh and Handscomb failed), Marsh and Hanscomb would have never had the opportunity to have their blockathon in the first place. Maxwell came in in the second innings withh the draw all but secured, got a good ball before he was set, it happens.

          • Roar Rookie

            March 21st 2017 @ 8:00am
            Lancey5times said | March 21st 2017 @ 8:00am | ! Report

            That cricket ball was pretty new and hard when Maxwell came in to bat. Far newer than when Handscomb or Marsh started. And as was mentioned many times during the commentary, this was not an easy wicket to begin on.

            ‘Least tension filled moments’ is a strange statement given the pressure the whole day brought. To use your own words David ‘how any Roarers can belittle what the Aussies achieved yesterday defies description’. This applies to you as well.

            Maxi had a very good test.

            • Roar Guru

              March 21st 2017 @ 9:51am
              Chris Kettlewell said | March 21st 2017 @ 9:51am | ! Report

              It did seem one of those ones where once you’d been in for a while, if you were happy to bat very conservatively and keep concentration it could be very hard to get you out, but starting out was definitely a tricky thing, and it’s never easy coming in after a long partnership. Anyone can get out cheaply in that situation. Can’t look at one failure here to basically rule the hundred in the first innings a flash in the pan. It may be, but also this failure might be the odd one. The hundred he scored has earned him a few more tests to prove himself. If he gets more innings closer to the first innings here than the second then he’ll get a few more, if not, then he won’t.

              But it was great from Handscomb and Marsh.

    • March 21st 2017 @ 5:58am
      SmithHatesMaxwell said | March 21st 2017 @ 5:58am | ! Report

      I had no idea about your son, sorry for any offence caused. I’ll use this name now.

      • Columnist

        March 21st 2017 @ 6:15am
        David Lord said | March 21st 2017 @ 6:15am | ! Report

        Appreciate the switch SHM, but don’t hate Glenn Maxwell, he’s a cricketer of enormous talent who he sells himself short far too often.

        Australian cricket needs that enormous talent once he joins the real world where there are no short cuts to consistency – it’s damn hard work every time he visits the crease.

        Until he realises that he will be more of a liability than the asset he can be – it’s entirely up to Glenn Maxwell.

    • March 21st 2017 @ 6:51am
      Craig said | March 21st 2017 @ 6:51am | ! Report

      Was certainly a heroic effort and our makes our batting lineup stronger and stronger. A great effort, but I hardly think you can talk it up as an impossible pitch to bat on. Given there was a a double ton and two hundreds scored on it during the test…

      Kudos where its due, an amazing effort to hang in there. But it was hardly the terrible pitch we were expecting. As shown by the fact that about only 5 wickets per day were falling….and about 5 of those were wickets thrown away by the Indians at the end of a long innings.

      • Columnist

        March 21st 2017 @ 10:55am
        David Lord said | March 21st 2017 @ 10:55am | ! Report

        Craig, don’t put your words in my column.

        Quote – “It was one helluva ask to survive, but Australia did it superbly against the equal top- ranked Test bowlers in the world – Ravi Ashwin and Ravi Jadeja on a wicket made for them,”

        Where are the words impossible pitch to bat on?

        • Roar Guru

          March 21st 2017 @ 12:07pm
          Chris Kettlewell said | March 21st 2017 @ 12:07pm | ! Report

          And considering England’s last two tests were on probably even better batting surfaces, where India managed 631 and 7/759 dec in their lone innings and then bowled out England in 55 overs and 88 overs respectively, and the fact that, despite plenty of these sorts of pitches, this is the first team any team has managed to hold bat through the fifth day for a draw in these sorts of circumstances in India since 2011 or something, suggests that it was still a pretty special achievement even if it wasn’t a minefield of a pitch to bat on. If anything, Shaun Marsh’s job was the more impressive of the two because he spent the whole time with Jadeja being able to bowl into those footmarks outside his off stump all day.

        • March 21st 2017 @ 5:55pm
          Craig said | March 21st 2017 @ 5:55pm | ! Report

          “Yesterday Marsh and Handscomb put on 124 off 373 on the most difficult of pitches against the two best spinners in the world.”

          Specifically your words “on the most difficult of pitches”. It wasn’t the most difficult pitch, in fact it was the easiest of the series by a mile.

    • Roar Rookie

      March 21st 2017 @ 7:37am
      Dan said | March 21st 2017 @ 7:37am | ! Report

      I thought you were going to disappoint me David, but then there it was – the inevitable Maxwell knock.
      Apart from your brief diversion to back hand Maxwell (again) I totally agree with your piece. It was a brilliant partnership and you are correct in your summation of Marsh and his career, which I am very happy to see. Always been a fan of his.
      This has been such an enthralling series, and even though some punters have derided and shouted down the histrionics and antics of both teams, I for one, have been loving the passion on the pitch.
      Bring on game 4!

      As an aside, as a father myself, I am truly sorry for your loss of Andrew. I can think of no more devastating news to bear. Stout hearts Mr. Lord.

      • March 21st 2017 @ 11:13am
        jameswm said | March 21st 2017 @ 11:13am | ! Report

        Maxwell’s ton in the first innings was as important as Handscomb’s knock in the 2nd.

        • March 21st 2017 @ 11:47am
          Arky said | March 21st 2017 @ 11:47am | ! Report

          As least as.

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