17th over: India 117-4 (Dhawan 36, Pandya 10) Target 375. Pandya pulls Cummins away for four early in the over. They need these consistent boundaries, it won’t be enough to simply wait for the fifth bowler to cash in later. Speaking of Stoinis, he makes an outstanding diving stop running around from square leg later in the over, kept in by no more than an inch. The best of the modern game right there.
16th over: India 110-4 (Dhawan 36, Pandya 3) Target 375. Tidy again, Zampa – just four off it, and very close to Dhawan rolling a ball back onto his woodwork, saved by some savvy footwork to kick it away. We’ve seen the cricket/football crossover in full flight this week at Tottenham, pleasing to see it go the other away here.
15th over: India 106-4 (Dhawan 34, Pandya 1) Target 375. Finch is now ringing the changes, Cummins on for Starc; not allowing any rhythm to form in the chase. A front-foot no-ball to begin – accurately called by the TV official, what a joy it is to see excellent reform in action in Australia – but very little else. For all the runs in the first six overs, the require rate has swelled from 7.5 to 7.7 by the end of 15.
14th over: India 103-4 (Dhawan 33, Pandya 1) Target 375. Ooh, Zampa’s wrong’un goes past the edge of Dhawan, so close to that outside edge. Four runs and the wicket from Zampa’s first over. He can really relax into his work at the bowling crease now with what happened to him earlier at fine leg well behind him.
WICKET! KL Rahul c Smith b Zampa 12 (India 101-4)
Zampa into the attack and gets a bit of luck right away, KL Rahul driving a low full toss straight into the hands of Smith at short cover. And that’s drinks.
13th over: India 99-3 (Dhawan 31, KL Rahul 11) Target 375. With Gilchrist, O’Keefe and Julian now on commentary, the conversation broadens out a bit. One point from that: it’s a good thing that we have these white-ball matches ahead of the Test summer. Of course, scheduling is a nightmare – not least with an Aussie summer – but the playing Tests in early November never feels quite right. Assuming England are going to be in for three ODIs as well as Tests next summer (after the T20 World Cup, that is), I hope they find a way to slot them in before the Ashes. Meanwhile, Starc has finally pushed through an accurate over, just the one single to Rahul.
12th over: India 98-3 (Dhawan 31, KL Rahul 10) Target 375. First up in the Hazlewood’s new over and it nearly brings a fourth wicket through his short option, Dhawan not in control with a hook that hands just short of Zampa at long leg. An appeal for caught behind down the legside later in the over but an exercise in trying to avoid a wide being signalled – they aren’t successful.
“Social media has not been too kind to the Indian team so far,” emails Abhijato Sensarma. “The pitch might very well be a road, but they’ve still not been anywhere near their best. I’ve watched enough highlight reels to cross-verify that the standard of fielding has indeed been at par with its less rigorous performances of the 1990s … The batting threatens to collapse too, and there is no Sachin Tendulkar to pull it out of the hat for a retro kit-donning India anymore.”
11th over: India 93-3 (Dhawan 29, KL Rahul 8) Target 375. India’s turn to push back, and why wouldn’t they with these two stars in the middle? And why wouldn’t they try and keep Starc down after his first two overs? The returning quick gives Dhawan something to drive through cover to start his new spell and it is driven away for four, another top shot – a shame he hasn’t had more strike. At the other end, Rahul plays with such soft hands behind point to get his first boundary. 13 off the over, leaving Starc with the figures of 0/40 off three. Still has a job to do.
10th over: India 80-3 (Dhawan 24, KL Rahul 0) Target 375. Two in the over. Meanwhile, Dhawan (24 from 19) has been seen a delivery in the last four overs of the power play. The temptation will surely be to keep Hazlewood going for another couple while it is working so well. He has 3/27 from his five with the field up.
WICKET! Shreyas Iyer c Carey b Hazlewood 2 (India 80-3)
Two in the over! And once again, it’s the Josh Hazlewood bumper that does the trick, on this occasion too quick for the new man who tried to pull out of the shot but couldn’t get his blade out of way in time, ballooning up to Carey. Superb.
WICKET! Kohli c Finch b Hazlewood 21 (India 78-2)
Hazlewood gets Kohli! Pulled straight to Finch at short midwicket. Once again, he’s followed him with that accurate short ball after the Indian captain made some room – outstanding cricket from Bendemeer Bullet. And Zampa can breathe again.
9th over: India 76-1 (Dhawan 23, Kohli 20) Target 375. Good grief, that clip from Kohli! From about off-stump, he’s taken it from his hip deep into the audience at deep backward square leg. Absurd timing – he’s the best. Zampa is in the game again at short fine, Kohli turning in his direction, but he’s able to get down to it with a safe stop. So important that he’s in a good frame of mind before bowling.
8th over: India 67-1 (Dhawan 22, Kohli 13) Target 375. Hazlewood, fantastic. Again, just when Australia needed a solid over after the dropped catch he delivers. India still need 7.3 an over but if these two bat for 90 minutes that won’t be so daunting.
Zampa drops Kohli!
7th over: India 64-1 (Dhawan 21, Kohli 11) Target 375. Straight down Zampa’s throat at fine leg, Kohli’s hooked top edge straight to the spinner… in and out! OH, NO! Such super bowling from Cummins to draw the error but it is all for nothing, the Indian captain responding with a far more imposing pull for four before dancing down the track to hammer him through cover for four more to finish. What drama!
6th over: India 54-1 (Dhawan 21, Kohli 1) Target 375. What a roar as the King sprints out to the middle. But Hazlewood, after his breakthrough, is up to the task with three accurate dots then finding the inside edge of Kohli’s bat to finish. Super bowling just when Australia needed it. Watching the replay back, the best part of the wicket-taking delivery was how he adjusted to follow Agarwal, who was backing away to try and flay him over point again. Fast bowling at its best.
WICKET! Agarwal c Maxwell b Hazlewood 22 (India 53-1)
Top edge, taken by Maxwell! Short, bang on target – that’s Josh Hazlewood.
5th over: India 53-0 (Agarwal 22, Dhawan 21) Target 375. The change is made: Cummins on for Starc. But it doesn’t change a thing – a big full toss first up is helped away through cover for four more, Dhawan moving India to 50 in 25 balls. Aaron Finch won’t panic but he will know that his RCB teammate Virat Kohli is next in, the most dominant 50-over player of all time. Cummins is back into his awkward back-of-a-length channel soon enough but when he tries out a bumper to Agarwal it doesn’t work – another wide. A bit rattled? Looks it.
“Hi Adam.” Hello, Damien McLean. “Glad you and Geoff are on the OBO today with that classic Maxwellball innings, can’t wait to hear you both dissect it. Does it get any more Maxwell than that? 45 off 19 so no half century stat, that shot over first slip spinning the bat in his hand was outrageous, two switch hits in a row for 10 runs, probably was the key to getting up over 350 but will be overshadowed by Smith and Finch centuries. Totally Maxwellball for mine, was so glad to witness it. Thanks for your work.”
Indeed, Maxwellball at its best. I was watching with nine-month-old trying to explain to her why I was getting so carried away – I suspect she’s already worked it out. And lovely to be back on the OBO with Geoff, always our home ground.
4th over: India 46-0 (Agarwal 21, Dhawan 16) Target 375. Hazlewood was magnificently frugal (and effective) with the new ball in England, bowling some gorgeous spells at Manchester to set up that series win in September. Of course, there’s nothing for the hosts to be too worried about as yet, but they could do with a dot-heavy over from the giant right-armer. And that’s precisely what he’s giving them until the penultimate delivery when Agarwal opens up the off-side and lifts him over deep point for six! That’s an outrageous shot! Can play, this man.
3rd over: India 39-0 (Agarwal 15, Dhawan 15) Target 375. It continues! First ball of the new Starc over and Dhawan strokes him with class through cover point out towards the SCG members. Not much wrong with the ball, that’s a super stroke on the up. As Harsha Bhogle puts it best, India haven’t played an away game – as far as crowd noise are concerned – for 20 years. And sure enough, the fans of the boys in blue are making plenty of noise. When Agarwal gets his turn again, he’s given something short and wide but can’t put it away due to a piece of Maxwell brilliance at point. Another quality quick single to finish from Dhawan into the off-side.
2nd over: India 32-0 (Agarwal 14, Dhawan 9) Target 375. That was the second worst first over ever in an ODI, the TV tells me. By the time this is done, it could be the latest finish for a 50-over game at the SCG as well, already 7:30pm local time. Hazlewood’s turn, with whom there is no concern with his radar, but Agarwal takes advantage from a slightly overpitched offering to slam a cover drive for four. Lovely shot. Edge next, four more! India are 30 from 10 (legal) balls. A misfield to finish too, through Maxwell at cover. 12 off the over. We have a live one here.
1st over: India 20-0 (Agarwal 2, Dhawan 9) Target 375. Agarwal off the mark first ball, squeezing a quick single. Starc’s first ball to Dhawan is speered down the legside, the left-hander off the mark later in the over with a quick single of his own to midwicket. “They can’t win it in the first ten but they can certainly lose it,” says Adam Gilchrist on telly. Spot on. Later in the over, Starc goes out wide to Agarwal who tries to cut but misses. It’s called a wide – I’m not sure about that; the right-hander made it look worse than it was with his lack of footwork. Ooh, no such confusion with the next ball, waaaay down the legside – two feet down the legside! – giving Carey no chance. Wow, three wides in a row now, overcorrecting to Agarwal well outside the off-stump. It prompts a change to around the wicket. He’s bowled four all up and there are still three deliveries to come in the over. Dhawan gets the chance to clip off his pads from one of those and doesn’t miss out, tucking over Labuschagne at square leg, skipping away for four. And it has been called as a retrospective front-foot no-ball!. Another close call but that’s what the technology is there for. Free hit… back over his head for four! One ball to come in the over and India are already up to 20. He finishes with a dot but goodness me, where does that rank in terms of the worst overs that the big left-armer has sent down for Australia?
“There’s actually 3 series starting today,” writes Mani Deep. “You missed mentioning NZ vs WI that’s going on right now.” Of course! I was just reading about that before coming on. Interesting broadcast news from over there: in the absence of a TV partner in the UK, we can watch it over here for free on YouTube.
The players are back on the field! Shikhar Dhawan and Mayank Agarwal for India in the absence of Rohit Sharma, rested from this series. They need to go at exactly 7.5 an over to reach the hefty victory target of 375. Mitch Starc, the most effective quick in the history of ODI cricket, has the ball in his hand for the hosts. PLAY!
Of course, this is one of two international series starting today. The other, the T20s between South Africa and England, begins later this afternoon (UK time). I’ll also be with you on the OBO for that, as it happens – can’t stop, won’t stop. Here’s Ali Martin’s preview piece from Cape Town out of Eoin Morgan’s press conference.
Thanks, Geoff. I woke up in London just when Finch raised three figures, before Maxwell enjoyed his brilliant turn. Compare that to the last time I was logging on for a one-day international shift at the SCG in March when the ground was empty and silent, with a foreboding sense of what was the come. Lovely to see.
Perhaps less enjoyable for fans of the IPL franchises where the aforementioned Victorians, and Smith at the Royals, struggled to cut through in their recently completed T20 season. A different story today in the canary yellow on home soil.
Right, housekeeping before we get into it: you can drop me a line at any time, or ping me a tweet if that’s more your thing. And as you eat your dinner and wait for India’s chase, I’ll leave you with a lovely chat Geoff and I had during the week with Pete Siddle, ten years on from his birthday Ashes hat-trick at the Gabba.
India must chase 375 to win
A big innings comes to an end – big in every sense. It’s 40 minutes past the scheduled end of the innings, meaning that the chase should have started 10 minutes ago. The Australians had about 58 breaks to change gloves, and the Indians drifted in the field.
What an impressive day with the bat though for the Australians, who haven’t played international cricket in so long. Stoinis and Labuschagne were out very quickly but everyone else went big. Warner and Finch have an opening partnership that is entering the conversation as one of the very best. They put on 156 together today. Finch got another ton. Smith got his fastest by an absolute mile. Maxwell started a surge that added 120-odd runs in 10 overs. Carey did enough at the end. Only Shami, with 3 for 59 from his full overs, came out of the day unscathed.
India love chasing, but they have a huge task ahead here.
That’s enough from me, I’ll hand over to Adam Collins for the reply.
50th over: Australia 374-6 (Carey 17, Cummins 1) Pat Cummins will bat with three balls left in the match. Hits hard down the ground for one run to long-off. Shami around the wicket to Carey bowls a perfect yorker for none. Tries the scoop from the final ball, misses it, and Cummins is fast off the mark to get through for a bye.
WICKET! Smith b Shami 105 (65), Australia 372-6
Shami to bowl the last, and he keeps Smith scoreless from the first ball, beating the bat outside off. Not from the second, driven over cover for four! A flat loft, hard and flying away. The next ball ends this marvellous day for Smith though, a low full toss curling in a bit, Smith backing away trying to get something on it, and misses as it hits middle and off stump low down on the full.
Century! Smith 100 from 62 balls
49th over: Australia 368-5 (Smith 100, Carey 17) I’ve totally lost track of the fact that Smith is gunning for a century. What a mad last few overs. He’s facing Bumrah, and he…
he sweeps it for four!
A sweep shot! Against one of the best fast bowlers in the world. Down on one knee, to a wide ball outside off, and Smith just held the horizontal bat there, at the right angle, and almost let the ball bounce off the bat behind square leg. Hit the gap. Four runs.
Next ball? Drives it through point for one, and that’s his century! Surely that’s the fastest he’s ever made. The 10th of his career. What an innings.
Carey backs away again, gets a high full toss from Bumrah, and slaps it over cover for four. Next ball, two runs for Carey becomes three with a misfield from Kohli who was backing up, the ball keeping low and scuttling through his legs in the infield.
48th over: Australia 355-5 (Smith 95, Carey 10) Saini, to Smith, and the first ball of the over goes soaring into the O’Reilly stand! Over extra cover, lofted, long, and Smith has been blazing tonight. He comes across the stumps and tries to ramp, but only gets a bit of wood on it to short fine for a single. Carey tries to pull, bottom edge into his ribs and that hurts. Left-hander facing a right-armer coming around the wicket angling it in. So Carey backs away and slaps over cover for four! That’s the trick. A couple of singles to close the over.
47th over: Australia 342-5 (Smith 87, Carey 5) Bumrah has the ball in his second-last over, and he is absolutely nailing it. Yorker, yorker, yorker. Keeps them to three singles in a row while the commentators are talking about Australia making 400. Make that four singles in a row. Around the wicket to the left-handed Carey, angled in at his boots, perfect, dot ball! Carey scoops the last ball away through midwicket and they have to do some dicey running to get back for a second. Six from the over, a triumph for Bumrah.
46th over: Australia 336-5 (Smith 85, Carey 1) Labuschagne out off the second ball of the over, Smith misses a wide down the leg side and is furious that he doesn’t glance it for four. Gets a wide yorker from Saini next ball and drives that behind point for two. Smith shapes to ramp the next ball but bails out when it’s too short to do so, and manages to bunt a single behind point. Alex Carey on strike, a ton on his last start for Australia back in September. Drives a run, slower ball, well stopped by Dhawan at backward point who is being pursued by this ball. Smith swings and misses at a wide one, not too wide. Six from the over, a good one for Saini.
WICKET! Labuschagne c Dhawan b Saini 2 (2), Australia 331-5
Labuschagne doesn’t last long. Has to go for it. Tries a big loft down the ground, and two things happen for India: Dhawan gets a catch, after a hard day in the field, and Saini takes a wicket, after a hard day with the ball.
45th over: Australia 330-4 (Smith 81, Labuschagne 2) Out comes Marnus with 31 balls to go, and gets off the mark driving two runs down the ground right away.
WICKET! Maxwell c Jadeja b Shami 45 (19), Australia 328-4
Steve Smith has been down the non-striker’s end a lot recently, so he hits the first ball of Shami’s new over for six as well. Why not! Whips it off his legs and away over deep square! Follows up with a single to give Maxwell the strike.
“Glenn Maxwell is playing like Happy Gilmore,” says Ed Cowan on ABC radio.
Shami bowls very wide of off, and Maxwell swipes and doesn’t connect. Chahal has come off the ground with the medical staff, limping a bit. Might have hurt his ankle by the look the way he’s walking.
Shami might wish he was going off injured, as Maxwell plays a reverse lap shot for four! Over slip. Reaches wide of off stump, angles the bat like a ramp, then changes his wrist grip to divert it to the off side rather than the leg. What.
Fifth ball of the over, Shami gets some relief. And funnily Maxwell falls to the most conventional shot of his stay. Tries the lofted drive down the ground, doesn’t hit it sweetly enough, and Jadeja back on the rope comes in to claim the catch.
Catch your breath while we’re catching things. What a show.
44th over: Australia 317-3 (Smith 74, Maxwell 41) Navdeep Saini to bowl, and Smith just turns over the strike immediately. Saini just places the ball up there, and Glenn Maxwell plays a pick-up shot off his pads for six! Huuuuge! Just lifts that ball away from a fullish length, and it bounces deep into the concourse of the Ladies Stand, and takes an age to be returned and disinfected by the umpires.
Maxwell has 33 runs from 12 balls.
A couple of dots pass by as Saini bowls very wide of the off stump and Maxwell can’t make contact, then there’s another near catch for Dhawan that goes for four! Full and wide, Maxwell digs out the yorker with an open face, lofting it to deep point, Dhawan sprinting in has to dive forward, and it just half-volleys in front of him and through him for four. That’s three chances that have taunted Dhawan today.
Saini bowls the same ball. Maxwell plays the same shot! But better! Places it behind point this time, splits the outfielders to perfection!
He has 41 from 16 balls.
43rd over: Australia 302-3 (Smith 73, Maxwell 27) Ok, the spinner back on so Glenn Maxwell has called for the gold cap. Get some ventilation in there. Then he decides to ventilate Yuzi Chahal, and switch-hits him for six! A left-handed slog-sweep by a right-hander, along the ground between point and backward point for four!
No worries at all. Chahal stops and thinks. Bowls slow and really wide of the off stump. Maxwell makes it become his leg stump, and SWITCH-HITS FOR SIX!
Right out of the middle and it soars down to the Members’ Stand over the rope!
Fourth ball? Calmly flicked to deep mid for two runs. Fifth ball? Maxwell sweeps, gets a feather on it past his leg stump, and gets two more?
Sixth ball? Dropped, for six! Down the track Maxwell, drives long over extra cover, Dhawan running around from long-off, dives across to get a hand to it, and parries it over the rope.
21 from the over, 20 of them to G. J. Maxwell.
42nd over: Australia 281-3 (Smith 72, Maxwell 7) Bumrah to bowl, and Maxwell drives him for four!
That’s how we play Maxwellball!
Second ball he’s faced, opened his wrists at the ball, dipped through it as it arrived, hits the rope along the ground. Lovely.
Drives a run through point, Smith tucks another to the other side. Maxwell with this very open stance that he employs these days, both eyes on the bowler. Pull a short ball to the deep square sweeper. Smith adds another. Maxwell gets a bouncer from Bumrah, tries to uppercut over Rahul, misses out, then the umpire calls it a wide. Maxwell middles a drive but finds short midwicket for none.
41st over: Australia 272-3 (Smith 70, Maxwell 1) The first change in the batting order for Australia, with Glenn Maxwell coming in ahead of Marnus Labuschagne. This is pretty much Australia’s plan with Maxwell, that he can float as needed to finish an innings. He’s been getting on with Smith better than they did when Smith was captain. Now they’re batting together.
WICKET! Stoinis c Rahul b Chahal 0 (1), Australia 271-3
Marcus Stoinis to the middle. Had an amazing IPL (again), but historically he struggles to get moving early in an innings for Australia. Smith will keep things going, clearing the front leg against Chahal to slog-sweep six over midwicket. Drives a run down the ground. Stoinis on strike. Pushes at a ball outside the off stump, and he’s caught behind! Started walking before the umpire even moved.
At least he hasn’t soaked up any deliveries today.
WICKET! Finch c Rahul b Bumrah 114 (123), Australia 264-2
40th over: Australia 264-2 (Smith 63) Well, what a bizarre over. Having brought up his century, Finch is dropped! Dropped by Chahal at short fine leg. Bumrah the bowler, had Finch turning it away in the air, and Chahal shells it. Next ball? A misfield at deep square leg concedes four! Finch flicked it straight at Agarwal, who is beaten by the spin on the ball and lets it through his legs for a boundary. Bumrah’s next effort strays onto leg stump, and Finch glances four! He glances another brace, then from the last ball of the over, Bumrah goes short, Finch tries to uppercut over the keeper, and only gets a minor edge which sends it looping up for KL Rahul to take running back. Finally, Bumrah gets some reward.
Century! Finch 101 from 117 balls
39th over: Australia 252-1 (Finch 102, Smith 63) Well, Aaron Finch has all but disappeared in the last half hour. Steve Smith facing all the strike and scoring all the runs. Another boundary, as Smith cuts Chahal behind point, then gives Finch the chance to raise a hundred.
Finch takes it! Flicks Chahal away through deep midwicket for two, and starts his home season against a team that previously had his number, to raise his 17th ODI century for Australia.
Once he turns over the strike again, Smith finishes the over with six over extra cover! Ridiculous shot! A proper cover drive, only via the aerial route, and the deep cover watches it sail over his head. 14 from the over.
Fifty! Smith 50 from 36 balls
38th over: Australia 238-1 (Finch 99, Smith 52) Steve Smith is flying! Shami bowls in at the pads, decent ball, but Smith clips it over short midwicket for four! Next ball, fuller at the boot, Smith whips along the ground behind square for another boundary! He takes a single, Finch does the same. One ball to come in the over. Smith chops a run to deep third.
37th over: Australia 226-1 (Finch 97, Smith 42) Appeal for a stumping from India as Smith misses a cut shot, but his toe was grounded. He’s facing Jadeja, with a gap at deep cover, so Smith goes inside out and lofts four! Placement superb. Jadeja bowls a bit shorter next ball, so Smith back-cuts four more! Placement again, along the ground. Then to close out the over he lofts down to long on. The crowd sighs in anticipation of Shikhar Dhawan taking the catch, but the ball clears him for four! The fielder down there has been stationed well inside the rope all day, it must be said, even though the commentators are blaming Dhawan. It may have been a tactical blue rather than an individual one. No wicket, and it costs them four runs.
36th over: Australia 214-1 (Finch 97, Smith 30) Shami continues, taking a thick outside edge from Smith that squirts away for a run. Hits Finch on the pad and half appeals, but there’s a thick inside edge this time from Finch, the ball dribbling to midwicket for one more run. Finch on 97. Smith whips hard off his pads, but Kohli at short midwicket makes a spectacular diving stop, rendering them scoreless. Shami uses his bouncer, over Smith’s shoulder, but the umpire at square leg belatedly calls it wide. Not sure about that, looked a good short ball. Shami goes short again, Smith pulling away off a bottom edge to deep midwicket for one. Finch takes a leg bye straight of short midwicket. Smith keeps the strike with one.
35th over: Australia 208-1 (Finch 96, Smith 27) The batting pair just milking Jadeja here, or more accurately Smith is. Finch is batting a bit more nervously approaching his ton. A few dots, though he manages to drive two runs down the ground in between those.
34th over: Australia 203-1 (Finch 94, Smith 24) Finch with a single to start, then Smith plays the pull shot for four. Saini can’t stop bowling short balls, and it’s not working out for him. They play out a repeat version, except Smith doesn’t hit this as cleanly and gets a single to deep square. Short with width to Finch, who cuts along the ground, beating backward point for two as deep third comes around. Finch to 94, one hit away. Smokes a drive, but straight at Shreyas Iyer at cover. Smith is shadow-batting at the non-striker’s end. Course he is.
33rd over: Australia 194-1 (Finch 91, Smith 19) Jadeja is back, and has Smith down on one knee and hoicking a sweep shot away for a couple of runs. Two balls later, hit on the pad in front! Smith reviews quickly, he didn’t hit it but maybe he thinks it was high? It did strike him above the knee roll, he’s right back on his stumps but he might get this overturned here.
And he does! It is missing the bails by literally a millimetre! There is no visible gap between the ball and the bails on the ball-tracking projection, the ball is sitting right on top of those bails. A couple of pixels in it. He survives. He would have felt the contact was high, and his hunch proves right.
Smith celebrates by punting over midwicket for four!
32nd over: Australia 188-1 (Finch 91, Smith 13) Steve Smith with a bit of time to pick up the tempo: he was opening the batting at times for the Rajasthan Royals in the IPL, and today he’s got a full 20 overs to get himself into the game. Drives a couple of runs to deep cover from Saini, then nudges off leg stump for a single. Finch moves one run closer to a century, gets the strike back, then cuts four to move into the 90s!
31st over: Australia 179-1 (Finch 86, Smith 9) Finch turns over the strike against Chahal first ball, and Smith likes batting against spin. Down the track, to the pitch, picks it up beautifully over midwicket for four! A big gap out there with a long-on and a deep backward square only. Hits that gap easily. Turns over the strike again. Finch cuts two runs, then drives two more square of deep cover. Then runs keep flowing.
30th over: Australia 169-1 (Finch 81, Smith 4) Navdeep Saini is back with the ball, didn’t go too well for him earlier. But he gets back into things alright conceding a couple of singles and a couple of braces.
29th over: Australia 163-1 (Finch 78, Smith 1) Chahal to Finch, and we’ll see if the dismissal causes any bigger disruption to the rhythm of the batting innings. It is a tidy over, conceding two runs from six balls… but then the last delivery is an overstep! The third umpire picks it up, and that’s a no-ball! Meaning a free hit. Aaron Finch takes the opportunity, since he can’t be dismissed, of playing a switch hit! Not a shot he plays often, but he goes well outside what was his off stump, that becomes his leg stump, which is where Chahal bowls. Finch nails it along the ground past backward point for four.
28th over: Australia 156-1 (Finch 73, Smith 0) That brings Steve Smith to the middle for his first hit of the home season. He drives Shami to short midwicket to end the over with a dot.
WICKET! Warner c Rahul b Shami 69 (76), Australia 156-1
Four from Warner from the first ball of the over. That’s a dicey shot but he nails it this time: a pull shot against a ball that isn’t short, isn’t even back of a length, it’s on its way to being full. Warner goes across the line anyway, and gets it through midwicket.
Fifth ball of the over though, they go upstairs for a long DRS review. Full outside the off stump, Warner comes forward and pushes at it, and the question is whether the ball clipped the edge or whether the bat hit the ground. Snicko shows a spike, but that could be either of those contacts. In the end the third umpire rules it out, but we didn’t see a Hot Spot on that, so I’m not sure how sure the umpire could have been. Warner doesn’t seem too bothered, so perhaps he thinks he hit it. India finally get one.
27th over: Australia 149-0 (Warner 63, Finch 72) Finch takes the lead! Walks down at Jadeja, and drop-punts him over long-on for six. Bumrah was backpedalling anticipating a catch but in the end it went about 20 metres over his head and way back into the crowd. Huge hit! Finch goes along the ground next ball in a similar direction for two. Then a single to keep the strike. 11 from the over.
26th over: Australia 138-0 (Warner 62, Finch 62) Shami is back on, and looking sharp. Right-arm over the wicket, brisk. Both batsmen are using the pace and trying to chop through backward point, steering from back of a length. Shami slips in a yorker that Warner does well to keep out. He’s not a tall bowler, Shami, but gets skiddy lift from back of a length. Two singles from his first five, then Warner squeezes out two runs to third man from the last. The batsmen settle on a matching score.
25th over: Australia 134-0 (Warner 59, Finch 61) Tied down by one spinner, unleashed against the next. Warner reverse-sweeps Jadeja for four! Third man is up in the circle, and that beats him. Three in the deep on the leg side, plus a long-off for Warner. He drives two in that direction, through cover. Three dots, then a single to deep mid. This pair, they’re not flying, but they have such a good foundation at the halfway mark, this score could get huge.