As it happened: Australia vs India, 4th Test, Brisbane, 2nd day


Welcome to our live report of the second day of the Australia-India Test from Brisbane. Join us for updates, analysis and colour. You can find our traditional ball-by-ball commentary here

4.50pm: Play abandoned for the day

The umpires have conducted their second inspection, and found the outfield still too wet for play to resume. Play will begin half an hour early tomorrow, at 9.30am, to make up for the overs lost. Set your alarms as appropriate in your respective timezones, and join us bright and early for day three. We’ll have a full report of today’s play up very soon.

4.25pm: Inspection in progress

The umpires are out in the middle even as the Super Sopper continues sopping. The ground looks fine at surface level, but I’m guessing there’s still some dampness underfoot. We’ll have to wait a little longer for play to resume, with another inspection scheduled for 4.45pm.

3.45pm: The covers are coming off

There will be an inspection at 4.15pm, we hear. If you’re wondering what a rain-affected draw might mean for the World Test Championship standings, here are S Rajesh’s calculations:

India won’t mind a draw. The 10 extra points will mean a 3-0 result v England will be enough for them to stay ahead of NZ. If they lose here, they will need to beat England 4-0. Australia will need to win two Tests vs SA to stay ahead of NZ if this is a draw (assuming they aren’t docked any more points due to over-rate). If they win this, a win and 2 draws in SA will be enough.

3.05pm: It’s raining

And quite heavily at that.

2.42pm: Tea

India are 62 for 2, and would have been quite pleased with their 26 overs at the crease had they lost one wicket fewer. At the crease are Cheteshwar Pujara, on 8 off 49 balls, and Ajinkya Rahane, on 2 off 19. So much work still to do for this pair. As the players go off for tea, a mass of dark clouds appears above the Gabba. Let’s hope the rain stays away.

2.15pm: Good Rohit, bad Rohit

We’ve seen this before on a number of occasions. He gets himself in against the fast bowlers, shows impressive technical skills, and looks in no trouble at all, before getting himself out going after the spinner. Just off the top of my head, he did it against Moeen Ali in Southampton in 2014, Dane Piedt in Delhi in 2015, and against Nathan Lyon in Adelaide in 2018.

Now he’s done it again against Lyon, going after him when he had long-on back, and miscuing it. Good catch from Starc running in from long-on towards midwicket. He’s out for 44, and India are 60 for 2. Good ball from Lyon too, beats Rohit in the flight, but another batsman may not have committed so fully to an attacking shot having stepped out.

Just before that happened, I was going to praise the technical prowess he had shown against the fast bowlers, which has been noted by the experts too.

The adjustments referred to in the tweet were demonstrated by Sanjay Manjrekar on TV earlier: basically, he used to take a short front-foot stride earlier and defend off-stump balls towards extra-cover with a slightly open face. Now he gets right behind the line and defends towards mid-off.

1.57pm: Lyon comes on

Rohit and Pujara have added 27 in 8.4 overs. They’ve been watchful, but both have looked quite secure, particularly Rohit whose defensive technique on this trip has looked as solid as it ever has been. Pujara’s edged Cummins a couple of times, but both times the ball has fallen well short of the slips. Otherwise he’s batted in his usual fashion, except he’s been more willing than he was in Sydney to open his bat face and look for runs behind square on the off side. Signs that he trusts the pace and bounce a lot more on this pitch. India are 38 for 1 in 15 overs, and Nathan Lyon has come on for the first time in his 100th Test match.

1.13pm: That man Cummins, again

India’s openers had looked mostly comfortable while getting to 11 for 0 in six overs. Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood had probed away with discipline, hunting for the outside edge, but both Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill had batted solidly against them, getting their weight forward while defending and showing good judgment outside off. The only real moment of discomfort had been down to a crack on the pitch – Starc had hit it and jagged one past Rohit’s outside edge.

Then Pat Cummins comes on for Starc and changes everything. He makes the right-hander play a lot more often than Hazlewood – an otherwise similar bowler in many respects – because his arm goes slightly past the vertical and pushes the ball into the batsman. So the batsman feels his off stump is threatened a lot more than he might without that inward angle. Gill feels for one in the corridor, and it straightens to find his edge, producing the edge to Steven Smith at second slip. Replays show Gill – as is often the case – wasn’t really behind the line of the ball, and didn’t move his feet at all.

Next ball, Cheteshwar Pujara nearly follows in similar fashion, but he plays with softer hands and the ball falls just short of Smith. Phew.

12.00pm: Full, straight, bowled

Not quite the Natarajan yorker, but it’s pitched right up, on off stump, and Josh Hazlewood swings and misses. India took a while bringing him back on even with the last-wicket pair at the crease, but he’s come on and ended things with his second ball. Australia are bowled out for 369.

Before that, though, Australia’s No. 11 looked more than useful, playing a couple of gorgeous off-side drives off Mohammed Siraj that prompted this question:

It’s lunch now, and India will be quite pleased with how things have gone in that first session, even though the tail may have wagged for longer than they’d have liked. They also probably bowled shorter than ideal to the tail. In any case, five wickets for 95 in 28.1 overs. Three wickets each for the debutants Natarajan and Sundar, and three wickets for the near-debutant Thakur as well.

A patchy effort from Australia against India’s incredibly inexperienced attack, but it remains to be seen how much more potent Australia’s attack might look on this pitch. Two challenging sessions to come today for India’s batsmen, I’m sure.

11.38am: Nine down

Lyon plays one shot too many, going too far across to sweep a ball that’s too full for the shot. Washington bowls him behind his legs, and Australia are 354 for 9.

11.30am: 350 comes up

Nathan Lyon and Mitchell Starc have played their shots and put on 37 off just 32 balls. There have been drives, pulls, sweeps, and Lyon has looked particularly dangerous, just as he did with his lower-order contributions during India’s 2018-19 tour of this country. Australia are 352 for 8 in 107 overs.

11.10am: 3 for 4

Australia are collapsing here. Shardul Thakur has been getting the ball to swing away consistently when he’s bowled outside off, but not so much when he’s bowled a straighter line. Pat Cummins ends up playing outside the line of a low full-toss on the stumps, playing for more swing than there was, and he’s hit low on the front pad. He reviews the out decision, and ball-tracking says it would have hit a good chunk of leg stump, but interestingly the predicted path seems to straighten slightly after pitching. For full-tosses, the assumption is that the ball will continue along its initial path. Perhaps there was a hint of late swing just before it hit the pad, and ball-tracking was only extrapolating from that. Australia are 315 for 8.

11.05am: Sundar goes the other way

Doosra? Carrom ball? Outswinging arm ball? From the release, it seemed like none of those, but whatever it was, it pitched within the line of the stumps and left Cameron Green, and he ends up bowled, defending inside the line of the ball. Did that hit a crack? Whatever happened, Australia are now 313 for 7. The release suggested it was just a scrambled-seam offbreak. Straightened off the pitch, grazed the outside edge, and hit middle and leg stumps.

10.57 am: A chance, a fifty, a breakthrough

With his third ball of the morning, Washington Sundar finds Cameron Green’s edge. The ball pitches on or around off stump, and Green is stuck on the crease while defending. It doesn’t turn as expected, and the thick edge hits Pant’s thigh and lobs up briefly and agonisingly towards Rahane at slip but falls well short of him.

Tim Paine reaches his fifty with a single in the same over, but he falls to a Shardul Thakur outswinger in the next one, going hard at a drive away from his body and edging to second slip. Australia are 311 for 6 in 99.2 overs. Good reward for Thakur, who’s got the ball to swing consistently all through this innings but has also bowled with better control this morning than he did all of yesterday.

Watching replays now, and Paine really didn’t play that ball well. His front foot went nowhere, and he ended up losing balance and stumbling forwards with his back foot as he reached out to drive.

10.40 am: 300 comes up

Tim Paine clips a half-volley from Shardul Thakur to the square leg boundary to bring up the landmark. Paine and Green have added 29 in the first nine overs of the morning without too much fuss. Natarajan has induced one edge from Green, when he looked to drive a wide one, but the ball flew away between second slip and gully. No third slip, but that’s to be expected in the middle of a significant partnership.

10.15 am: A minor (?) injury scare

Third over of the day, T Natarajan bowls a short ball that slants away from Cameron Green, ending up miles outside off stump. He slashes and misses, and the ball bounces a second time before reaching Rishabh Pant, who’s diving to his right. It hits him on the finger, and the physio comes on for a bit to have a look. He seems okay, though.

Otherwise, the morning so far has been about Green’s driving. He’s about 30 feet tall, he has a big front-foot stride, and he’s standing outside his crease on top of it, to increase his chances of converting good-length balls into drive balls. He hit Natarajan for two glorious fours straight of mid-off in the first over of the day, but he’s also played and missed at a couple outside off. And that big front pad often ends up planted firmly in line with the stumps, so if there’s any inward movement, the lbw is in play. Natarajan tried to angle it into him from left-arm around yesterday, but he’s begun from left-arm over today, no doubt because the ball is still new and he can swing it in, against the angle.

9.55 am: No word yet on Saini

Navdeep Saini hobbled off the field with a groin issue after bowling just 7.5 overs yesterday. The last official word we heard was he had gone for scans. It seems unlikely he’ll bowl today.

9.45 am: Labuschagne rides his luck

Luck has gone Marnus Labuschagne’s way right through this series, and it continued yesterday when Ajinkya Rahane put down a sitter off him at gully, when Australia were 87 for 3. But he batted beautifully to cash in on that fortune, as Dan Brettig observes here.

As a compulsive tinkerer and planner, Labuschagne enjoyed the need to make plans more spontaneously against a less familiar attack, and also on a Brisbane pitch quite unlike any he has seen before.

“Definitely today I had to formulate some plans on the run and keep understanding the situation of what they were doing and I think that’s the part of the game that is really enjoyable, you’ve got to read the situation out there,” he said. “You can look at stuff on a screen and see guys bowl, but only you know out there with the feel of how you can do things and what you can do differently to make life easier out there.”

I particularly enjoyed how he handled Washington Sundar’s leg-stump attack, picking off anything remotely short by rocking back, exposing all his stumps, and punching through the sparsely populated off side.

9.35 am: Can Australia drive home their advantage?

Morning, everyone. Australia are 274 for 5 overnight, and are most likely the happier dressing room at the Gabba. But considering the inexperience running through their injury-ravaged bowling attack, India will be pleased they aren’t entirely out of it yet. Cameron Green and Tim Paine have put on 61, however, and the fate of this Test match may well last in how far Australia’s sixth-wicket pair can extend their partnership.

Karthik Krishnaswamy is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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