Indian Captain MS Dhoni – might want to check the tape. Image via cricket.com.au
The New Daily: Josh Hazlewood’s debut, Steve Smith’s captaincy, India’s whinging. There was plenty to take out of the second Test in Brisbane.
With Australia wrapping up a Test win within four days at the ‘Gabba, and racing out to a 2-0 series lead now heading to Melbourne on Boxing Day, the summer is off to the best possible start.
All eyes will now turn to the MCG, with injury concerns forcing more changes on the squad from Brisbane.
Queensland batsman Joe Burns has been called up for Boxing Day. Image: ABC Grandstand
Mitchell Marsh has been ruled out of the Third Test with that hamstring injury, replaced for the Boxing Day Test by Queensland top order batsman, Joe Burns. Burns is one of the leading run-scorers in Sheffield Shield cricket this season.
The injury concerns have probably saved a few older players from a not unreasonable level of scrutiny and criticism, too. If all top order batsmen were fit and firing, there can be little doubt that Shane Watson and Brad Haddin would be under more pressure than they are.
Nevertheless, here are the lessons to take away from the Second Test.
Steve Smith (inset) raised a century on debut as Australian Captain, while Mitchell Johnson looked every bit the allrounder. Images: ABC Grandstand
The New Daily: It takes a bit to outshine Steven Smith’s brilliant batting currently, but Mitchell Johnson may just have managed it in one of the innings of his career on Day 3 in Brisbane.
India will go into the fourth day of the Second Test on 1/71 trailing by 26 runs, after they finally removed the last of the Australian tail just after Tea. Smith compiled a brilliant 133, but it was the crisp strokeplay of Mitchell Johnson, and later Mitchell Starc (52) that won the plaudits.
After poking around for runs from his first ten balls, Johnson unleashed a flurry of boundaries to raise his tenth Test fifty in just 37 balls. It was further reminder that his sublime talents aren’t just limited to the ball.
It was also a reminder of Johnson’s feast or famine returns with the bat. Today was a feast, and in amongst Johnson’s 13 fours and a six were some of the most beautifully struck drives, cuts, and pull shots as any top order batsman could imagine.
His straight-driven boundary to reach fifty will take a lot of beating as the shot of the summer.
Josh Hazlewood and Chris Rogers have put Australia in a good spot on Day 2 in Brisbane. Images: ABC Grandstand
The New Daily: Maligned Australian opener Chris Rogers issued a timely reminder of his value to the top order, compiling a fighting 55 in the middle session on Day 2 in Brisbane.
Australia finished the day on 4/221 when bad light stopped play. Steven Smith’s unbeaten run in this series continues, his tally now sitting at 279 runs scored and the Indian bowlers no closer to removing him.
In the morning session, Josh Hazlewood had capped a memorable debut with the ball, becoming the first Australian quick to take five wickets on debut since James Pattinson three seasons ago. He finished with 5/68, and bowled superbly to spearhead the attack, as India were all out for 408 on Lunch.
Much had been made of Rogers’ run of form coming into the Test, and with the national selectors choosing to look to the future in naming Smith the new Australian Captain, many wondered whether the push for youth might extend to other players in the side.
Josh Hazlewood goes off the field in what was an otherwise impressive Test Debut in Brisbane. Image: ABC Grandstand
Murali Vijay raised the century he left behind in Adelaide, and looked every bit as fluent as he did last week. Image: ABC Grandstand
Really pleased to be on board with The New Daily for the Brisbane and Melbourne Tests, where I’ll be wrapping up each day’s play.
On Day 1 in Brisbane, it’s been a tough initiation for new Australian Captain Steven Smith, who finished the day with two bowlers off the field, and another one holding a possible side strain.
Meanwhile, Indian opener Murali Vijay went one better than he did in Adelaide, bringing up his hundred and then deciding boundaries were a better idea in the heat than running between the wickets.
You can catch my full take on Day 1 over on The New Daily now…