77th over: India 243-2 (Gill 127, Kohli 31) Mitchell Starc runs in under intense sunshine and truth be told he looks slightly weary. Kohli opens the face and runs him down to a vacant third for four. The runs coming more easily for India and the fifty partnership between Gill and Kohli.
76th over: India 235-2 (Gill 126, Kohli 24) Too full from the returning Todd Murphy and Kohli doesn’t miss out, lashing off the front foot through the covers for four. Australia are five overs from being able to use a new ball, this partnership is becoming a worry.
75th over: India 228-2 (Gill 124, Kohli 19) Twelve overs bowled after tea, India have added forty runs but still trail by 252 runs. Time for a drink, it’s a scorcher in Ahmedabad and I’m going to grind some beans*
*Quickly splosh hot water on some instant coffee before hurrying back to my laptop.
74th over: India 225-2 (Gill 122, Kohli 18) Three runs gathered comfortably off Kuhneman. All too easy. Mitchell Johnson ticking in the commentary box, you wouldn’t like him when he’s angry.
73rd over: India 222-2 (Gill 120, Kohli 17) Mitchell Starc replaces Lyon and is greeted by a sumptuous straight drive from Kohli that traces away back past the bowler for four. Shot! Kohli then flicks a length ball off his hip and he’s timed the silk stockings off it for four more. Starc kicks the turf in frustration.
72nd over: India 214-2 (Gill 120, Kohli 9) Kuhnemann lets out a grunt as he sends down his effort ball, he’s a bit too short though and Kohli and Gill are able to hang back and nurdle him around. In the commentary box, Mitchell Johnson is bemoaning the fact that there doesn’t seem to be much needle between the sides.
71st over: India 210-2 (Gill 117, Kohli 8) Lyon toils away around the wicket. Gill pats back a couple before scampering out of his crease and whipping through a tiny gap at mid-wicket for four runs. Have I mentioned how lovely he is to watch? It’s worth repeating.
70th over: India 205-2 (Gill 112, Kohli 8) A single to each batter, just ticking along after tea.
This made me chuckle:
69th over: India 203-2 (Gill 111, Kohli 7) A loud cheer goes up around the vast stadium as India bring up the 200. Kohli is busy and picking off the ones and twos, getting into his work. In a bit of a surprisng move, Kuhnemann is coming on to replace Todd Murphy.
68th over: India 199-2 (Gill 110, Kohli 4) Todd Murphy is quietly impressive, he’s accurate and probing, zeroing in at the pads, getting the odd ball to skid and hurry the batters. Just a single off the over to Shubman.
67th over: India 198-2 (Gill 109, Kohli 4) Enthralling cat and mouse from Lyon and Kohli, five dots sees Virat kept honest before some lovely placement brings him two for a glide into the off side.
66th over: India 196-2 (Gill 109, Kohli 2) Gill is showing all his shots now, he drops to his knees and reverse-sweeps a length ball from Murphy, powerfully struck away for four.
65th over: India 191-2 (Gill 105, Kohli 1) Nathan Lyon twirls away, Kohli works him off the pads into the leg-side to get off the mark and the single is accompanied by gleeful cheers from the crowd.
64th over: India 189-2 (Gill 104, Kohli 0) Todd Murphy starts the evening session, he’s pocketed Virat Kohli three times already in this series and very nearly has him again! Kohli plays for the turn but the ball skids on and passes his outside edge by the width of a rizla paper. Steve Smith wants to send it upstairs but Alex Carey isn’t convinced, rightly so.
Rightio, the players gather on the boundary ready to take the field for the evening session. Kohli and Gill at the crease for India and Australia striving, let’s play.
63rd over: India 188-2 (Gill 103, Kohli 0) Virat greets Gill with a firm hug and then settles in to face Nathan Lyon. Close! Lyon gets one to spit past the outside edge and then follows up with another that takes the edge of Virat’s blade but it just falls short of Steve Smith at slip. With that flurry of action it is time for tea.
*That’s exactly what they needed!* Australia get the wicket, Todd Murphy gets one to pitch and straighten and it slides past Pujara’s forward poke and wraps him on the pad. The umpire gives it on the field and the DRS review confirms it is the correct decision. Enter Virat Kohli.
62nd over: India 187-2 (Gill 102, Kohli 0)
Shubman Gill goes to a century! A paddle sweep sees the ball run away to the fine leg fence and the crowd rise and cheer. Gill removes his helmet and beams, all boyish good looks. However, it isn’t the only thing of note to happen in the over. Drumroll…
61st over: India 182-1 (Gill 97, Pujara 42) Shot! Gill prances down the wicket and drives Lyon back over his head for another four, that takes him within one blow of notching his first home Test century…
60th over: India 177-1 (Gill 92, Pujara 42) It’s a Murphy-Pujara maiden which gives me the opportunity to have a flick through these:
59th over: India 177-1 (Gill 92, Pujara 42) Nathan Lyon is summoned to replace Cameron Green who lopes off in shame after leaving the lid off the pressure cooker. A couple of singles.
Jaap Van Etten emails in with a bugbear:
“Jim, in this quiet passage of play, can I bring my bugbear to the OBO crowd? Whenever a wicket falls, chances are in my experience extremely high that at least one commentator will shout: “That’s exactly what they needed!” This always pisses me off, because when would a wicket NOT be exactly what they needed? Isn’t that the whole idea of every ball bowled?
Am I the only one in the OBO crowd getting annoyed by commentators doing this? Loving the OBO, as always.”
58th over: India 175-1 (Gill 91, Pujara 41) Another boundary! India have come to life in the last five minutes, Murphy floats a full toss down and this time Pujara gets in on the act, trotting out of his crease to bunt it through mid on. Normal business is resumed thereafter with five dots completing the over.
57th over: India 171-1 (Gill 91, Pujara 37) You wait 96 deliveries for a boundary and then two come along at once! Shubman Gill plays a lovely back foot drive to find the lesser spotted fence and then follows it up with a delicious cover drive for four more. He’s such an aesthetically pleasing player, a brace to the leg-side boundary takes him into the 90s. A nosebleed inducing 12 runs off Cameron Green’s over.
56th over: India 159-1 (Gill 80, Pujara 36) It’s a scorcher in Ahmedabad and Pujara seems to be struggling with a bit of cramp. The physio comes on to give him some treatment and he looks fine to continue. The mind wanders to 1986…
55th over: India 158-1 (Gill 79, Pujara 36) The pressure nearly tells as Gill forces into the off side and calls Pujara through for a risky single… he just about makes it home and the throw from Travis Head is a bit of a wild one. India aren’t really going anywhere, Pujara loves this sort of dogfight but it will be interesting to see how the usually swashbuckling Gill responds to being tied down for a lengthy period.
54th over: India 154-1 (Gill 77, Pujara 35) Murphy twirls away and it’s a case of dot after dot after dot after dot. A maiden. It feels like something’s gotta give.
53rd over: India 154-1 (Gill 77, Pujara 35) Cameron Green replaces Starc and he’s bustling in at the stumps, there’s a leg slip in place and Alex Carey is up to the stumps. Pujara and Gill manage to break the shackles ever so slightly with a couple of singles. The run rate has really plummeted in the last few hours, there’s been no boundary for India in over 13 overs, it’s a slow simmer.
52nd over: India 152-1 (Gill 76, Pujara 34) The bespectacled Todd Murphy is over the wicket to a packed leg side field, Steve Smith is on the squeeze, not giving any easy singles. Pujara can’t find the gap to rotate strike and it is six more dots, join em up.
51st over: India 152-1 (Gill 76, Pujara 34) Thanks Angus and hello everyone. It’s all gone a bit soporific since lunch eh? Pujara is doing what he does, he’s 34 from 86 balls. Australia need to prise him out if they are to have a chance of forcing this game towards a result. Mitchell Starc sends down a tidy maiden.
50th over: India 152-1 (Gill 75, Pujara 34) Gill scoops a single behind square to start Nathan Lyon’s 20th over. Pujara plays a strange shot to the next, letting his bat sway parallel to his body like a pendulum. Weird but it gets him a single and after 12 half-centuries since January 2020, who am I to question him? A third single taken from the last… as a tremor runs through the crowd. It can only mean James Wallace taking the fresh OBO cherry and me getting a spell in the deep. Thanks for your company, folks. I will see you on – gasp! – Day Four.
49th over: India 149-1 (Gill 74, Pujara 33) Are Australia turning the screws here? India were steaming along at 3.44 runs per over in the first session, rattling up 93 runs from their 27 overs. But since lunch Australia have put a clamp on things and only 18 runs have come from the 11 overs since the break at the miserly rate of 1.64. Smith is making a move with his field too, bringing in a leg slip to compliment his own position outside Carey. Can Starc find the magic ball to put them to use? Not in this over he can’t.
48th over: India 147-1 (Gill 73, Pujara 32) Lyon to Gill and there’s a sharper angle on the first ball as it jags back in. Gill is equal to the task, fending away, and moving his feet to the next few to play out a maiden, Lyon’s third of the innings.
47th over: India 147-1 (Gill 73, Pujara 32) Starc has notched fifty from his 10 overs and for his 11th he remains stubbornly over the wicket to Pujara who steps out and pushes a ball on off stump through gully for an easy two. This partnership with Gill is at 73 from 153 balls. It has slowed down after lunch but shown no sign of stalling. India trail by 333.
46th over: India 145-1 (Gill 73, Pujara 30) India trail by 336 and captain Steve Smith and his chief weapon Nathan Lyon are furiously hatching plans. The arms are waving and the field is changing. This might be mere gamesmanship, slowing the game down, disrupting the too-easy rhythm of these batters and sowing the seed that something is happening when it isn’t. So far after lunch Australia have put a stopper in the boundaries and only 15 runs have come from the eight overs since. But there’s been nary a sniff of a wicket either and the singles are flowing freely… although Starc tried to turn that one into a five with a wild throw that Alex Carey had to dive full-length to stop running to the boundary.
45th over: India 144-1 (Gill 73, Pujara 29) A shout. A stutter. But no run. Starc’s attempted yorker was easily dug out but it was 70% a single and Pujara didn’t like the risk. Mitchell Starc is persisting over the wicket, trying to angle it in on the toes but it’s not working, and as he strays to leg again is easily worked into the outfield by the right-handed Pujara the mystery of why the big left-handed quick is not coming around the wicket deepens. Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?
44th over: India 143-1 (Gill 73, Pujara 28) Lyon notches his second maiden of the innings as Gill goes into his shell and looks for a shot to spark another rush of runs. Hang on, it just arrived: Mitchell Starc is coming back into the attack. I swear Shubman Gill is licking his lips but it’s Pujara on strike.
43rd over: India 143-1 (Gill 72, Pujara 28) Gill clips Green for a run leaving Pujara, the master bat from the Gujarat town of Rajkot, a cover drive from this stadium. He has huge local support here and they cheer even the scoreless shots mightily. Just a single from the Green over.
42nd over: India 142-1 (Gill 72, Pujara 28) Nathan Lyon is hunting Test wicket #480. Did he imagine such a quest when he was working as a curator, I wonder? The story is legend now. The boy from the town of Young, famous for its cherry orchards, becomes a gardener and groundsman at cricket grounds… until the day the aptly named Darren Berry spotted Lyon take a smoko from preparing the Adelaide Oval wicket to throw a few down in the nets. A star was born and 118 Tests later he’s got another cherry in his hand and he’s trying to bowl a peach.
41st over: India 141-1 (Gill 71, Pujara 28) Here comes the Green machine… and there goes Cheteshwar Pujara edging through the empty slips cordon for FOUR. Green throws his head back. He’s finally rushed one onto Pujara and found the edge of a bat five-feet wide but there’s no one there to take the catch. Tis a cruel game, Cam. Meanwhile his captain, Steve Smith, who would normally be occupying that first slip position, doesn’t budge from the outfield and the cordon remains vacant. India trail by 339.
40th over: India 136-1 (Gill 71, Pujara 24) Lyon skips in for his fifteenth over. He has 0-32 but just the one maiden and he can’t claim another here as Pujara pushes a single into the onside from this over.
39th over: India 136-1 (Gill 71, Pujara 23) India trail by 350. Cameron Green is into the attack, hurling down his rocks at 135kph from a height of three metres. The 23-year-old did his bit with the bat. Can he deliver more magic with the ball? So far he’s not troubling Gill or Pujara but nor are they giving him any stick. Until now. After a couple of dots and a couple of singles Green strays and Gill punishes him, driving through mid-on for a boundary. Gill is looking very comfortable and well he might – he’ll be teeing off for local IPL side the Gujarat Titans on this very ground next month.
38th over: India 130-1 (Gill 66, Pujara 22) Big session ahead! Australia desperately need to break this blossoming partnership between Pujara-Gill. Will it be spin or seam that does it? Nathan Lyon starts the counter-attack after the break and Shubman peels off a single but nothing more.
A good session for India and they needed it. There’s still a mountain to climb – 351 runs to be exact – but they are climbing it surely and quickly, with Cheteshwar Pujara and Shubman Gill in the midst of a fifty partnership for the second wicket and looking great.
Australia’s attack are working hard but Mitch Starc’s profligacy has released any pressure built by Nathan Lyon and Matt Kuhnemann and allowed India to rattle along at almost four per over. Still, the footmarks Starc is creating in his delivery stride may yet be his greatest contribution. Australia will take enormous heart from the delivery Todd Murphy ripped out of the rough and past the bat and pad of Gill late in that session. Food for thought at Lunch, no?!
Time for us to have a bite and bit to drink. We’ll be back in the land where every day feels like summer in two shakes of a lamb’s tail…
37th over: India 129-1 (Gill 65, Pujara 22) Green hits 140kph! Seems there’s some sap left in the Australian allrounder after his 170-ball 249-minute innings on days one and two. But he can’t crack the Pujara-Gill union and we go to lunch with a victory for India in that session – 95 runs for the loss of just one wicket.
https://www.theguardian.com/sport/live/2023/mar/11/india-vs-australia-live-updates-cricket-score-fourth-test-day-3-three-ind-v-aus-scorecard-international-match-latest-scores-ahmedabad-narendra-modi-stadium India v Australia: fourth Test, day three – live | Australia cricket team