The Liebke Ratings: India vs Australia third Test

Dan Liebke Columnist

By Dan Liebke, Dan Liebke is a Roar Expert

 , , ,

17 Have your say

    With the four-Test series between India and Australia locked at one game apiece, and with India holding all the precious momentum, according to Newton’s Third Law of Second Test Fightbacks, Australia had only one sensible option to keep themselves in the series.

    That option? Glenn James Tiberius Maxwell.

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

    Glenn Maxwell
    Grade: A

    An injury to Mitch Marsh opened the door for Maxwell to rejoin the Australian Test team, and, Maxwell being Maxwell, he exploded through the window to claim the vacant number six spot.

    Steve Smith won the toss and chose for Maxwell to bat first. Sadly, the ICC’s stubborn refusal to allow runners these days meant that Dave Warner and Matt Renshaw made their way to the crease without the guiding hand of Maxwell. This inspired Milhouse levels of frustration in Australian fans, as we all impatiently waited for the fireworks factory.

    But soon enough, Warner, Renshaw, Shaun ‘Poochie’ Marsh and Pete Handscomb departed, leaving Australia at 4/140, as Maxwell joined Smith at the crease.

    Australia Test player Glenn Maxwell raises his bat

    The pair put on 191 for the fifth wicket. In the process, Maxwell kept fans everywhere entertained with his predictable brand of unpredictability. He batted circumspectly at first, then brought up his half-century with a six, then failed to bring up his century with a twelve, instead batting out a maiden on 99, before slashing an edge past the slips.

    He inspired nonsense at the other end, as Wriddhiman Saha lunged for a ball trapped between Smith’s legs while the Australian captain tumbled to the ground. Then trumped it with nonsense at his end as he toyed with the idea of batting out Day Two with just half a bat.

    He batted in a baggy green. He became only the second Australian (after his former captain Shane Watson) to have scored centuries in all three forms of the game. He claimed the record for the best 50 to 100 conversion rate in Test match history.

    It was pretty much the best day of Test cricket so far.

    Pat Cummins
    Grade: A-

    But Maxwell wasn’t the only new cricketer in the Australian side. Following horrific confusion on the Mitchell Marsh hit instructions, Mitchell Starc had also headed home, meaning Pat Cummins returned to the side for his second Test.

    It had been almost six years since Cummins had previously bowled. To put that into perspective, when Pat Cummins had last bowled in a Test, Ned Stark was still alive.

    (Actually, that’s not quite true, but you get the gist. His previous Test was a long time ago.)

    So long ago that Smith seemed to not know the difference between Maxwell and Cummins, as he bowled the former in safety-first two-over spells during India’s first innings, while asking Cummins to slog through 39 overs in total. Luckily, Cummins was up to the task, as he led the attack with four wickets.

    Lovely to be able to exclaim ‘OMG! Pat’s back!’ in joy at his performance rather than in despair at a fresh set of stress fractures.

    Pat Cummins Cricket Australia 2017 tall

    Shoulder injuries
    Grade: B+

    Speaking of injuries and Cummins’ wickets, Virat Kohli was snared by the Australian quick for just six. This came about immediately after Maxwell feigned a shoulder injury while fielding the ball, in light-hearted mockery of the Indian captain who had spent most of the Australian innings off the field with a shoulder injury.

    There had been some criticism of Kohli’s injury from Australian fans. Initially, there was anger at the way that Kohli had immediately looked to the dressing room for advice on how his shoulder should be treated. Later, the enthusiasm with which he waved the batsmen in when India finally declared at 9/603 had some questioning the veracity of the injury.

    I don’t see it that way. I believe Kohli has spotted a fundamental flaw in cricket and is determined to make it a better game. For too long, cricket has been played between two teams of eleven players. But if American football has taught us anything, specialist squads for offense and defence are the best ways to play sport. And Kohli is showing the way.

    Come on, cricket. Let’s get cracking. By the time the Ashes rolls around, I want to be able to holler out ‘Great D, Cummo!’ as the Australian fielding unit trudges off the MCG to be replaced by the batting unit.

    Cheteshwar Pujara
    Grade: C

    India’s declaration was made possible primarily by the batting performance from Cheteshwar Pujara, who made 202 from 525 balls. A good effort. But a little disappointing that he wasn’t able to knuckle down and face a full thousand deliveries from the exhausted Australian attack.

    In the end, he fell a massive 475 balls short of that grand landmark. A sad lack of mental discipline from the Indian number three.

    Focus, Pujara!

    Grade: D

    Australia went into their second innings 152 runs in arrears. More immediately relevant, however, they had to bat for a little over a day to save the Test.

    And, somehow, they did so. Handscomb and Marsh were the heroes, putting on a 124-run partnership that selfishly denied us all the chance to see Maxwell bring up another century for the Test. Oh, sure, when Marsh departed there were still 66 balls remaining in the Test, more than enough for a Maxwell special.

    But sadly, the great man fell agonisingly short of his second ton, departing instead for a soul-stirring two.

    Still, there’s alway next Test.

    It feels so damn good to be able to say that.

    Oldest | Newest | Most Recent

    The Crowd Says (17)

    • March 21st 2017 @ 7:15am
      Rob JM said | March 21st 2017 @ 7:15am | ! Report

      To draw a test in India after we were on the ropes at 4/140 is an amazing achievement. Mitchell Marsh deserves some kind of award for selflessly succumbing to his injury and breaking the selectors hearts.

      • March 21st 2017 @ 7:58am
        Dom said | March 21st 2017 @ 7:58am | ! Report

        Good point. Mitch Marsh’s selfless actions have helped keep Australia in the series but I bet he doesn’t get the plaudits he deserves. Let’s hope Shaun can follow in his brother’s footsteps and also allow a superior batsman to take his place by the time the Ashes rolls around.

        • March 21st 2017 @ 9:56am
          Arky said | March 21st 2017 @ 9:56am | ! Report

          The Shaun who batted out 199 balls to play a huge part in saving the game? The Shaun who has had 50s in the past two Tests? Why would we want to replace him? He’s unfairly tarred with his brother’s brush IMO.

          • March 21st 2017 @ 10:56am
            Dom said | March 21st 2017 @ 10:56am | ! Report

            Because Usman Khawaja is better.

            • March 21st 2017 @ 11:55am
              Arky said | March 21st 2017 @ 11:55am | ! Report

              I suspect Maxwell will go out for Khawaja (despite the century), not Marsh. It’s not like they’re using Maxwell’s bowling. Maxwell out but with the spectre of him coming in to replace anyone who doesn’t perform quickly.

              But we’ll see how the 4th Test plays out. Another Maxwell century may turn the tide there if Marsh fails.

              I suspect Handscomb will be retained, on the strength of his potential, even if he fails in the 4th Test and has only this innings to hang his hat on for the tour.

              • Roar Guru

                March 21st 2017 @ 2:02pm
                Chris Kettlewell said | March 21st 2017 @ 2:02pm | ! Report

                I doubt they’ll replace Maxwell with Khawaja. There’s a definite belief that Maxwell is a better player of spin than Khawaja. It’s almost certainly what earned him a ticket to India despite definitely being a bit on the outer with some of his team mates, and having a less than stellar season at first class level leading into this.

              • March 21st 2017 @ 5:00pm
                ThugbyFan said | March 21st 2017 @ 5:00pm | ! Report

                Replace a right hander batsman with ANOTHER leftie, not likely while R.Jedeja is knocking lefties over with all those footmarks kindly left by Comical Ishant Shama and U.Yadev.

                If reports are correct that the Dharamsala pitch usually favours the quicks for the first 3 days and providing the BCCI is not instructing the groundman to make a dried out mud bath, then likely D.Warner will finally bat big; the only likely change may be J.Bird replaces a wounded finger N.Lyon.

            • March 21st 2017 @ 1:11pm
              Annoyedofit said | March 21st 2017 @ 1:11pm | ! Report

              Only the completely ill-informed and completely clueless people think that. He ain’t. Shaun has proven his worth is Asia once again

    • Roar Pro

      March 21st 2017 @ 9:39am
      Andrew Young said | March 21st 2017 @ 9:39am | ! Report

      hahahah poor Pujara; did the hard work but couldn’t capitalise!

      • March 21st 2017 @ 9:57am
        Arky said | March 21st 2017 @ 9:57am | ! Report

        Pujara capitalised, it was india as a team that couldn’t capitalise. (see what I did there?)

        • March 21st 2017 @ 5:02pm
          ThugbyFan said | March 21st 2017 @ 5:02pm | ! Report

          arky, that is such a lower case pun. 🙂

    • March 21st 2017 @ 10:46am
      JohnB said | March 21st 2017 @ 10:46am | ! Report

      Dan, I think you should clarify that your comment “It was pretty much the best day of Test cricket so far” doesn’t just refer to that day being the best this series, this summer, this decade or this century but to it being the single best day of Test cricket ever, anywhere, in the whole history of Test cricket to date and almost certainly to come. I know, looking at the day, it’s hard to read it as meaning anything but that, but some will insist on trying to do so.

      • Columnist

        March 21st 2017 @ 12:40pm
        Dan Liebke said | March 21st 2017 @ 12:40pm | ! Report

        Yes. Clearly the best day of Test cricket of all time.

    • March 21st 2017 @ 12:42pm
      Adrian said | March 21st 2017 @ 12:42pm | ! Report

      A quickfire Maxwell special of 100 off 34 balls would have been great fun to end the test. Would’ve made no difference to the result but it would have been fun. The old Maxwell would have gone for it, or died trying. The new Maxwell was happy to try to save the test, and plodded along to 2 off 16 before being out. Not 25 off 11, but 2 off 16. Who is this guy and what has he done to Maxwell?

      • March 21st 2017 @ 11:16pm
        Bee bee said | March 21st 2017 @ 11:16pm | ! Report

        Agree. Was hoping they would give him license to go turbo Maxwell. I just can’t see this reformed whackaholic restraining his natural urges for too long. Let’s hope they can replace his unreleased need to reverse sweep with a more constructive hobby like actual sweeping. Or perhaps a Bollywood film career.

    • March 21st 2017 @ 12:42pm
      Laura said | March 21st 2017 @ 12:42pm | ! Report

      hahahaha nice addition of “tiberius”, most likely accurate.

    • March 21st 2017 @ 11:41pm
      Bee bee said | March 21st 2017 @ 11:41pm | ! Report

      “Focus, Pujara!” ha ha. Good sledge. Would love to hear Wade change up “nice Gary” with some, “focus, Pujara!” Wade needs to work on his variation. This could be the start of big things for him.

    Have Your Say

    If not logged in, please enter your name and email before submitting your comment. Please review our comments policy before posting on the Roar.

    , , ,