The Liebke Ratings: India vs Australia fourth Test

Dan Liebke Columnist

By Dan Liebke, Dan Liebke is a Roar Expert

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21 Have your say

    In this bonkers simulated universe we all now occupy, the India versus Australia series was off to a decider.

    After three Tests, India had won one, Australia had won one, with the third Test being drawn.

    » Match Report: Australia lose Test, trophy at Dharamsala
    » All the talking points from the India vs Australia series
    » How it happened: Day 4 live blog

    Obviously, then, the fourth Test was destined to be a tie, so that the series could successfully claim what cricketing nerds like to call a ‘cricket results full house’.

    Instead, India won by eight wickets. Weird.

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

    Virat Kohli
    Grade: A+

    Steve Smith won the toss and elected to bat. But it was a hollow victory, because Virat Kohli, in a stunning act of macho bravado, had outmanoeuvred the Australian captain by refusing to participate in this deciding Test at all.

    “My leadership is so good,” Kohli was essentially saying with his absence, “that I no longer even need to be part of the team. They can do this without me.”

    Sure, he’d implicitly been saying the same thing with his inept batting in the series to that point. But an act of typical Kohli boldness to make it so explicit.

    Indias captain Virat Kohli

    Steve Smith
    Grade: B+

    Smith had no such option available to him, because he had been forced, virtually single-handedly, to fight this series on Australia’s behalf.

    While others chipped in here and there throughout the series, Australia remained competitive in the series almost solely because of the presence of their skipper.

    This trend continued in Australia’s first innings, with Smith making his third century of the series as Australia stumbled their way to 300 all out shortly before the end of the first day.

    It wasn’t just with the bat either that Smith was keeping his team in the contest. On the third day, he took two brilliant catches in the slips to help constrain India’s lead to a relatively paltry 32, or 10.67 per cent, as nobody ever measures it.

    In retrospect, given that Australia had only one over to bowl before stumps on that first day, it feels like madness that Smith didn’t step to the crease with his leg-spin filth to complete the job properly.

    Australian Test skipper Steve Smith

    Kuldeep Yadav
    Grade: A

    The reason why Australia had been dismissed so cheaply on that first day was due primarily to Kohli’s replacement – the left-arm leg-spinner Kuldeep Yadav.

    Kuldeep destroyed the Australian batting, taking 4-68 in the first innings, and in the process becoming my new favourite spinner whose name sounds like a stoner’s response to seeing The Matrix for the first time – “Cool. Deep.”

    The effort also triggered controversy when it was suggested that maybe the term ‘Chinaman’ could be retired from common cricket use, given its potential for causing offense.

    A perfectly fair request – I can’t think of many words that give me so much pleasure that I’m going to keep using them once people point out to me that their use upsets them. Well, perhaps ‘Maxwellball’.

    Still, this cricket terminology controversy could’ve been nipped in the bud if left-handers had simply been banned from playing the game, as God intended.

    Matt Renshaw’s hands
    Grade: D

    India’s lead on the first innings could be attributed primarily to a couple of dogged batting partnerships, but also to Matt Renshaw’s sloppy hands at first slip.

    The baby-faced opener dropped two catches off Pat Cummins, with the second from Wriddhiman Saha being the critical one.

    That spill enabled the Indian keeper to combine with the ICC No.1 ranked swordsman Ravindra Jadeja to put on a 96-run seventh wicket partnership that turned the match in India’s favour.

    Renshaw later tried to claim the whole thing was an optical illusion and that the hands that dropped the catch were, in fact, Peter Handscomb’s. But he was sadly unable to find an alternative camera angle that proved it.

    Australian batsman Matt Renshaw

    The Wade-Maxwell rivalry
    Grade: C

    Going into their second innings 32 runs behind, Australia were hopeful the openers could knock the deficit off swiftly, leaving, effectively, a one-innings showdown to decide the series.

    It didn’t happen, as Umesh Yadav and Bhuvneshwar Kumar knocked over the top order with Australia still a run in arrears in a blistering spell of pace bowling. These lightning-fast Indian pitches are becoming a blight on the game.

    Glenn Maxwell came to the crease and, obviously, counter-attacked. With Handscomb and Shaun Marsh falling cheaply at the other end, the delicious opportunity for a Glenn Maxwell-Matthew Wade partnership to save Australia was on the cards.

    Sadly, an LBW decision against Maxwell put an end to that dream. Maxwell was adjudged to not be playing a shot to Kuldeep. A correct decision, because we all know that if Maxwell was playing a shot, it would have gone for at least six. That’s just common sense.

    But, more unluckily, a rare double umpire’s call on review meant Maxwell had to go. And with him went the chance of setting a decent target for India to chase.

    Ultimately, India needed just 106 for victory. Despite a brief muddle-headed period where all their batsmen tried to be run out by none other than Maxwell, they comfortably chased down the total early on the fourth day to bring to an end a remarkable series.

    In retrospect, though, perhaps the single most remarkable thing about the series was how by the end of it, many Australian fans were disappointed with a 1-2 result.

    Who could have possibly foreseen that six weeks ago?

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    The Crowd Says (21)

    • March 28th 2017 @ 5:21pm
      KJ said | March 28th 2017 @ 5:21pm | ! Report

      “In retrospect, though, perhaps the single most remarkable thing about the series was how by the end of it, many Australian fans were disappointed with a 1-2 result.

      Who could have possibly foreseen that six weeks ago?”

      Nailed it!

      • March 28th 2017 @ 7:01pm
        Matth said | March 28th 2017 @ 7:01pm | ! Report

        Exactly! I’m not upset at all. Bloody proud actually.

      • March 29th 2017 @ 5:23am
        chris said | March 29th 2017 @ 5:23am | ! Report

        I’m absolutely gutted. Will stop watching any Australian overseas matches.
        After how well Australia played in the first 3 tests the batting in the last just reminded me of collapses that have been all to frequent with Australia recently.
        Maybe I’m just upset as I was so hoping Australia could retain the BG trophy – but watching it I just felt like the discipline and grit exhibited in batting in the first and 3rd test just weren’t there. There was a lot of time in the test match for Australia to just play within themselves and grind out the runs.

    • Roar Rookie

      March 28th 2017 @ 5:33pm
      cinque said | March 28th 2017 @ 5:33pm | ! Report

      Maxwell LBW to Ashwin

      • Columnist

        March 28th 2017 @ 5:38pm
        Dan Liebke said | March 28th 2017 @ 5:38pm | ! Report

        You’re right. I was thinking of the first innings. Ah well. Adjust in your mind as appropriate.

      • March 30th 2017 @ 10:02am
        Bugo said | March 30th 2017 @ 10:02am | ! Report

        Who cares cinque. get your stats, facts and figures on a different thread.

    • March 28th 2017 @ 5:45pm
      Josh said | March 28th 2017 @ 5:45pm | ! Report

      Let’s just play this side in the Ashes, your move England


      • March 28th 2017 @ 5:54pm
        JohnB said | March 28th 2017 @ 5:54pm | ! Report

        A bit light on for pace bowling. Maybe add in Tremain and Behrendorff for a couple of the superfluous batsmen?

        Good point about the Indian pitches by the way Dan (but please – offence unless you’re a septic!).

        • March 28th 2017 @ 7:02pm
          Matth said | March 28th 2017 @ 7:02pm | ! Report

          Don’t forget Jackson Bird, at least for his batting if nothing else.

      • March 28th 2017 @ 6:27pm
        Mike Dugg said | March 28th 2017 @ 6:27pm | ! Report

        That’s way too long a tail. starc is not a 7 by any means. An 8 at best. Khawaja will come in at 3. Smith needs to be at 4. No way Australia plays without Lyon unfortunately.

        Imo this’ll be the team.


      • March 29th 2017 @ 7:16pm
        zenn said | March 29th 2017 @ 7:16pm | ! Report


        Australia has not filled the void left by Shane Watson’s retirement. A great cricketing mind and team man, he was a natural leader and would have blossomed as a captain. No silly tatts nor punch ups in the change rooms nor Kings Cross. Watson had the moral fortitude to decline his homework in India and was right about Clark all along.

    • Roar Rookie

      March 28th 2017 @ 8:26pm
      Aron said | March 28th 2017 @ 8:26pm | ! Report

      “Sounds like a stoner’s response to seeing The Matrix for the first time – “Cool. Deep.”


      (stares into the void for a bit)

    • March 28th 2017 @ 10:19pm
      bozo said | March 28th 2017 @ 10:19pm | ! Report

      Highest paid Australian sporting team fails. What is the problem about that? And there are 8 other teams playing the sport!!

    • March 28th 2017 @ 10:19pm
      Bfc said | March 28th 2017 @ 10:19pm | ! Report

      Meanwhile, on our auntie ABC…Warner got 1(out of 10…) begrudgingly, Mitch Marsh struggled to get more than zero..but was gifted a rating of 1, Shaun Marsh got a generous 3…
      The coach and Selectors need to re-assess their rationale for team selections…too many dubious ‘calls’.
      Glad Smith offered to have a post series ‘drink’ with the Captain of India (Rahane on the day…)…it is still just a game.
      Congrats to India.

      • March 28th 2017 @ 10:59pm
        Josh said | March 28th 2017 @ 10:59pm | ! Report

        Warner scored more runs than all bar 3 Indian batsmen. Definitely a below average series but I think his ‘bad’ performance has been exaggerated quite a lot

        • March 28th 2017 @ 11:23pm
          Bobbo7 said | March 28th 2017 @ 11:23pm | ! Report

          Warner is averaging 34 outside Australia and 59 in Australia. This screams flat track bully given how dead Australian pitches have been the last few years. Good player but the criticism is somewhat fair given how good we keep hearing he is.

        • March 29th 2017 @ 12:39am
          Linphoma said | March 29th 2017 @ 12:39am | ! Report

          Just goes to show, we are witnessing cricket’s all-time list for the next century saying Bradman, number 1, daylight, the rest, Smith number 2, daylight the rest.

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