Russell Jackson

Author's posts

Jul 13

Greg Combet hits back at Cricket Australia chairman’s ‘absurd’ claims

Players’ union adviser says David Peever’s reaction to the pay dispute is counterproductive amid heightening tensions between CA and the ACA

Former federal Labor minister Greg Combet has returned serve on Cricket Australia chairman David Peever, claiming the former Rio Tinto managing director’s reaction to the cricket pay dispute is astonishing and absurd, and that a newspaper column written by Peever on Thursday served only to deepen the divide between players and administrators at a time when CA should be looking to build trust.

“David Peever’s assertion that I am using my advisory role to the cricket players to re-prosecute some decades old industrial relations grudge is absurd,” Combet told Guardian Australia. “My advice has been solely directed to the achievement of the players’ goals – a fair share for all male and female players in the revenue they create, and to look after grassroots cricket.”

Related: Cricket Australia chairman launches counterattack on media and critics

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/jul/14/greg-combet-hits-back-at-cricket-australia-chairmans-absurd-claims

Jul 03

Jeff Horn: from underdog to millionaire poster boy for sport in need of a wholesome hero | Russell Jackson

The humble Australian’s life was transformed overnight, even though the classic warning signs of an upset against Manny Pacquiao were there from the start

Jeff Horn woke on Monday unable to see a thing from his swollen, bruised right eye, but having vanquished Manny Pacquiao in one of Australian sport’s greatest underdog victories, boxing’s unlikeliest world champion will now watch his life’s fortunes transform dramatically. The former Brisbane schoolteacher, who had only twice boxed for prize purses of five-figure proportions, is now the millionaire poster boy for a sport craving a wholesome hero.

Horn has quickly and predictably been dubbed the Australian Rocky. Though his actual nickname, The Hornet, alludes glancingly to the world of superhero fiction, his famous victory in front of an Australian record boxing crowd at Suncorp Stadium on Sunday surprised even his most ardent admirers – the people who knew of the thousands of hours of punishing training sessions, and the years of relentless physical and financial toil required just to get Horn into the ring for his one big shot.

Related: Manny Pacquiao beaten by Jeff Horn in one of boxing’s greatest upsets

Related: Life imitates Rocky as little-known Jeff Horn teaches Manny Pacquiao a lesson

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/jul/03/jeff-horn-from-underdog-to-millionaire-poster-boy-for-sport-in-need-of-a-wholesome-hero

Jun 28

Biggest hit worn in Bachar Houli episode has been to credibility of AFL | Russell Jackson

The league has effectively labelled their own tribunal a kangaroo court and exposed flaws they themselves engineered into the rules

Regardless of the outcome of Thursday night’s appeal hearing regarding Bachar Houli’s two-week suspension, the AFL has made a mockery of its own judicial process with an unprecedented vote of no confidence against its own tribunal. In scenes that bring to mind the pantomime of WCW wrestling, tribunal members themselves must wonder whether their positions even remain tenable.

This situation, and many more like it, are sadly inevitable when every tier of the game’s administration is more intent on reacting to murmurs of discontent and reasserting their own inflated sense of importance than they are establishing the clear and irrefutable regulatory processes required to run a billion-dollar sporting organisation.

Related: AFL appeal against leniency of Bachar Houli ban following Turnbull and Aly involvement

You do not decide the case according to prejudice, bias, sympathy, gossip or anything else. If there has been any television, radio or press publicity, you should totally disregard that. You should totally disregard any comment about the case by any coach, club member, official, commentator or any other person. It is your duty to act independently and impartially.

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/jun/29/biggest-hit-worn-in-bachar-houli-episode-has-been-to-credibility-of-afl

Jun 22

A game of their own: AFLW causing an amateur football revolution | Russell Jackson

The success of the AFLW’s first season has led to a grassroots football revolution with far-reaching consequences in rural and suburban areas

One winter morning a decade ago, a veteran AFL AusKick co-ordinator named Ivo Havard stood surveying a field full of kids at Point Cook, 25km from the CBD in Melbourne’s west. Havard turned to a helpful parent, Darren Smith, and offered his grand theory on the game’s future: “You watch: in 10 years women’s footy is going to go off, and it’s going to be shown on TV. We need to get as many girls doing this as possible.”

Smith couldn’t quite imagine Havard’s vision, but the words stuck with him. The father of three boys and a lifelong stalwart of football clubs, he took Havard’s ideas on board and in his words, “started singing that song as well”. Four years ago the Smith family moved to Bacchus Marsh, a rural footy stronghold 57 kilometres north of the state capital. At present, it is witnessing a grassroots football revolution.

Related: The power of AFL football: Pride game helps foster change in country Victoria | Kate O’Halloran

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/jun/23/a-game-of-their-own-aflw-causing-an-amateur-football-revolution

Jun 21

An Australian football hall of fame without Nicky Winmar verges on farce | Russell Jackson

The continued omission of the Indigenous icon among AFL greats raises questions about the exclusive club’s selection criteria

One of football’s emerging rituals is done and dusted for another year. We have peeled ourselves away from TV screens after 12 months of saying we absolutely won’t watch the Australian football hall of fame presentation, absolutely won’t get upset about those who continue to be unfairly omitted, and absolutely won’t do the whole thing again next year.

Of course, we will. Why pass up an opportunity to let some of the league’s arbitrary, effortlessly irritating rules get you wound up? It’s all there on the AFL hall of fame web page: “[Inductee] identities are always a hotly debated topic and a fiercely protected secret.” Prepare to be mad, prepare to be trolled.

Related: Flying the flag: Marngrook Footy Show brings up 10 years on TV

Related: David Squires on … Nicky Winmar and Indigenous players in the AFL

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/jun/21/an-australian-football-hall-of-fame-without-nicky-winmar-verges-on-farce

Jun 20

Flying the flag: Marngrook Footy Show brings up 10 years on TV

As the NITV show reaches a landmark episode, hosts Grant Hansen and Gilbert McAdam look back on a decade of family-friendly fun

People used to think Grant Hansen was crazy when he explained his television blueprint for the Marngrook Footy Show, the community radio cult favourite that turned into one of TV’s minor phenomenons. “They said I’d never have a TV show,” Hansen says. “But for some reason I just kept going and I had a sense that one day it would happen.” On Thursday this week, NITV’s star attraction celebrates its 10th anniversary on Australian TV screens.

Related: The power of AFL football: Pride game helps foster change in country Victoria | Kate O’Halloran

Related: The loss of Martin Flanagan’s AFL column is a blow to footy’s soul | Russell Jackson

Related: Nathan Lovett-Murray: ex-AFL star and family still surviving despite struggles | Joe Gorman

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/jun/21/flying-the-flag-marngrook-footy-show-brings-up-10-years-on-tv

Jun 13

The loss of Martin Flanagan’s AFL column is a blow to footy’s soul | Russell Jackson

The Age journalist is moving on. What a sad time for the culture of the game, and the health and diversity of its coverage, as he disappears from regular view

The Queen’s birthday long weekend has never traditionally been the time for sporting epiphanies, but on Monday I couldn’t help remarking upon the neat dovetailing of two significant events. The first actually came in the lead-up, when it became apparent The Age’s much-loved football writer Martin Flanagan had written his final column, the second when Melbourne’s Jack Watts, so often maligned by the haughty and uncaring, gathered a looping handball, strolled imperiously through the 50-metre arc and stroked through the game-clinching goal against Collingwood.

It was a moment tailor-made for Flanagan. For decades he’s been the champion of the misunderstood, and the heart, soul and conscience of a football media whose descent into self-important bombast manages to tailspin further every season. What a sad time for the culture of the game, and the health and diversity of its coverage, that such a warm and inquisitive friend is disappearing from regular view. As I reached the midway point of his final missive on my smartphone, a video advertisement for Hungry Jacks invaded the entire screen. At moments like these we must look inward too.

Related: The most unpredictable and engrossing season of AFL football ever? | Craig Little

… football can be a wonderful spectacle, but it can also be dramatic; like all top-level sport, it reduces an aspect of life to single elements and pursues them to the point of excellence. It risks absurdity, but anyone who journeys towards abstract pinnacles within themselves can tell you much from what they learn along the way.

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/jun/14/the-loss-of-martin-flanagans-afl-column-is-a-blow-to-footys-soul

Apr 13

Melbourne’s sports talk radio boom: is anyone actually listening? | Russell Jackson

Like all traditional mediums, radio is starting to feel ‘disruption’, with audiences increasingly fragmented across live streams, apps and podcasts

It’s 10:13am on Tuesday and a caller has something to say about missing Fremantle Docker Harley Bennell’s latest ankle injury, so SEN radio host Kevin “KB” Bartlett puts him to air. “Connective tissue is a little bit like a ligament strain,” the man starts. We’re not told what, if any, medical qualifications the caller holds and unsure whether the diagnosis that follows is medically sound, but the man certainly sounds sure of himself. On sports radio confidence counts for plenty. Barlett’s co-host on this segment has just claimed he doesn’t want to share his thoughts on Bennell, lest he sound racist, so the sudden appearance of the show’s own Dr Nick Riviera actually counts as welcome relief.

This is sports talk, SEN style: a strange and verbose mix of old-timey front bar wisdom, sporting group therapy, crowd-sourced medical conjecture and an ever-churning footy rumour mill. Bartlett is a master of the format – a 403-game AFL legend who can muster an emphatic opinion on almost any sport topic thrown at him, at the same time skilfully cutting off nonsense-spouting callers and guests alike. An hour after the Bennell discussion he’ll wonder at length whether footballers who take their mouthguards out before kicking at goal are more accurate at taking set-shots.

Related: The Warriors review – breezy Aussie Rules drama not afraid of sharp edges

The lingering question here is what appeal these endless weekday sports radio yak-athons still hold

These things take time. You need to invest and build your audience, then the advertisers come

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2017/apr/14/melbournes-sports-talk-radio-boom-is-anyone-actually-listening

Apr 10

Perhaps it’s time to stop interrogating Gary Ablett’s dignified brilliance | Russell Jackson

Gary Ablett was pilloried before playing a starring role in Gold Coast’s win over Hawthorn, but the AFL great is now well beyond having to prove himself

At the start of the 2017 AFL season Gary Ablett’s CV contained items including but not limited to the following: 288 league games; 7,221 of the most beguiling disposals in the game’s history; 378 goals of varying complexity and historical importance; two life-affirming, drought-breaking premiership medals; two of the most convincing and deserved Brownlow medals; five league AFLPA MVP awards from his peers; five club best and fairest awards; eight All-Australian jumpers. And just for the sake of something exotic: three leading goal-kicker awards.

All of this Ablett achieved without a single noteworthy behavioural indiscretion or scandal at either of his two clubs. He did it as the embodiment of work ethic, dignity, humility and dedication, while stretching the parameters and possibilities of his sport.

Related: Gold Coast Suns condemn Hawthorn to stunning third straight AFL defeat

Related: All about heart and hate – the bedrock of any AFL rivalry worth its salt | Craig Little

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/apr/11/perhaps-its-time-to-stop-interrogating-gary-abletts-dignified-brilliance

Mar 28

India blaze their way to 2-1 Border-Gavaskar series win – as it happened

  • India defeat Australia by eight wickets to take four-Test series 2-1
  • Home side claims back Border-Gavaskar Trophy as KL Rahul dominates

7.16am BST

That is a wrap from me

But thank you for stopping by on what has been a disappointing day for Australia, who conceded the Border-Gavaskar Trophy. Thank you also for your company throughout this series, which has been claimed 2-1 by India. Want more? Here is the latest from the ground thanks to Adam Collins:

Related: India knock off runs to secure victory and claim series win over Australia

7.14am BST

Actually, Virat Kohli will have the final word

And he’s donned his whites! Look out John Terry! “Unbelievable,” he says. “I think this is our best series win so far. The Australian team gave us a fight throughout the series. The way the guys kept bouncing back showed the spirit of this team. The maturity and the responsibility shown by all of the guys was very pleasing.”

7.09am BST

The final word comes from the winning captain Ajinkya Rahane

“I really enjoyed it,” says the stand-in captain. “I thought our bowlers, batsmen and fielders all did well. Everyone did well.”

7.03am BST

No huge surprises there, at least not at first. Smith made 499 runs for the series, including three centuries, and deserves his trophy and cheque. But then Jadeja gets the “man of the series” award, so I’m really not sure what they’ve given Smith.

Update: Smith is merely “player of the series”. He’s apparently not quite the man Jadeja is. Jadeja certainly shaded him for half-century celebrations with his sword-work.

Virat Kohli “I think this was our best series win so far.” #INDvAUS

7.01am BST

Four wickets and a valuable 63 in the first innings were crucial for India, though they don’t let him stop by for a chat. His performances did all the talking.

7.00am BST

Steve Smith steps forward now for a word

“It was a maginficent series, and one of the best I’ve been part of so far,” the Aussie skipper says. “We played some good cricket in this series and had our opportunities at time… Credit to India for winning the series 2-1.”

6.48am BST

Sachin Tendulkar is reasonably happy

…and we’ll have the presentation ceremony shortly.

Indiaaa Indiaaa Indiaaa Indiaaa!!!! #IndVAus pic.twitter.com/legRgX9JSk

6.42am BST

No word from Steve Smith just yet, but it can’t be far away. First we wait for a kind of ‘This is your Life’ starring every figure in Indian cricket. What happened to interviewing the losing captain first?

6.39am BST

A final reader email

It comes from Robert McLiam Wilson, OBO favourite. He’s a bit full of himself, mind you. “It’s painful to admit it, as your regular ‘funny’ emailer (always a ready quip and a sick burn), but there’s no comedy here,” he writes. “Because this may well have been the perfect series. Stunning cricket. There wasn’t a bad quarter of an hour. Well done everyone (OBO included).” Cheers Bob.

Most Runs #INDvAUS Series:

Steve Smith 499
Cheteshwar Pujara 405
Lokesh Rahul 393
Matt Renshaw 232
Ajinkya Rahane 198
Peter Handscomb 198

6.38am BST

Che Pujara and KL Rahul stop by for a word with Ravi Shastri

“We wanted to win it 3-1,” says Pujara, not quite content with 2-1. “We are very happy. We wanted to be number one in the Test rankings and the way we’ve played has been fantastic.”

6.33am BST

We’re waiting for word from the captains

…but in the meantime, here’s the match report:

Related: India knock off runs to secure victory and claim series win over Australia

6.32am BST

India’s last Test series v all teams:

Aus – Won
Ban – Won
Eng – Won
NZ – Won
Pak – Won
SL – Won
SA – Won
WI – Won
Zim – Won#IndvAus

6.27am BST

All smiles as Virat Kohli and his men shake hands with the tourists

It’s been a spiteful series at times, but also offered genuinely compelling cricket. On balance India deserve this 2-1 series win. When it’s mattered they’ve been that little bit better, and they took their opportunities when they came to recover from a 1-0 deficit early in the series. Three first-time Test venues perhaps brought Australia into the series more than they might have been at grounds more familiar to the Indian side, but in a difficult series for batsmen India’s were just that little bit better. How sad it is that it had to end.

6.25am BST

Rahul gets his half-century and hits the inning runs!

24th over: India 106-2 (Rahul 52, Rahane 38) – India win by eight wickets

6.21am BST

23rd over: India 102-2 (Rahul 48, Rahane 37) – India require four runs to win

Steve Smith decides against a comedy bowling change and continues with Lyon, so we’ll probably see a bit of nudging and nurdling until India reach their target. Lyon has an enthusiastic LBW shout against Rahane but Marais Erasmus turns it down and the ball tumbles away for four leg byes beyond a diving David Warner. As Lyon bowls his final delivery of the over India need four, but Rahane doesn’t chance his arm, so Rahul will have a chance to reach that sixth 50 of the tour.

6.17am BST

22nd over: India 95-2 (Rahul 46, Rahane 36) – India require 11 runs to win

One last roll of the dice for Steve O’Keefe, who has been a mostly solid and occasionally spectacular contributor for Australia on this tour. Rahane gives him slightly more deferential treatment than that meted out to Pat Cummins, but when the Indian skipper gets one down the leg side he feathers a glance down to the fence at fine leg. It’s all over bar the shouting in Dharamsala.

6.13am BST

21st over: India 89-2 (Rahul 46, Rahane 30) – India require 17 runs to win

A rather beleaguered Nathan Lyon gets another over, and it’s a calm one compared to the pyrotechnics of the last, but Rahul gets a boundary with a more conventional stroke when he cuts hard forward of point. He’s within one blow of his sixth half-century of the series, which has been a mighty effort in a tough month for batsmen. Whatever the circumstances or conditions he’s stood tall for India.

6.10am BST

20th over: India 84-2 (Rahul 42, Rahane 29) – India require 22 runs to win

Bang! Says Brett Lee: “What a ball!” (incorrect) “But what a shot!” (correct). Cummins sends down a 148kmph half-tracker and the Indian skipper belts it over cow corner with a mighty pull shot. Next up he shuffles down leg and absolutely creams another one over the ropes at deep extra cover. Oh boy, this is some kind of display from Ajinkya Rahane. He’s turned into Chris Lynn in the last few minutes. Virat Kohli – the man he replaced as leader for this game – has only lead by example with respect to his spiky persona. Rahane is doing it with his bat. His assault on Cummins suspended with a single, he looks around the arena and notes his side requires only 22 more to win. What a cameo this is turning into. Rahane is 29 from 16. Australia are cooked.

6.02am BST

19th over: India 71-2 (Rahul 42, Rahane 16) – India require 35 runs to win

Nathan Lyon continues. He’s got a slip and a short leg for Rahul, so pursues a leg stump line. Rahul sneaks a single, but the bowling approach doesn’t change much, and Rahane also gets one to the leg side. An inside edge from Rahul as he drives brings leg gully David Warner into play, though not to the extent Lyon was hoping. This is slipping away from Australia as play stops for drinks.

5.58am BST

18th over: India 67-2 (Rahul 39, Rahane 15) – India require 39 runs to win

Glenn Maxwell strikes again! What a weapon he is for Australia patrolling thew inner ring. Another direct hit from him has KL Rahul in trouble at the non-striker’s end but the Indian batsman just made his ground. Not so good is a half-tracker outside the line of leg stump from Cummins, who is belted around the corner for another Ajinkya Rahane boundary. The Indian skipper has all the energy of this match coursing through him but he’s channelling it to his side’s advantage. This target is being whittled away rapidly.

5.53am BST

17th over: India 62-2 (Rahul 38, Rahane 11) – India require 44 runs to win

Lyon has full control of his repertoire early in this spell but Rahane looks to get after him immediately, sweeping with intent to pick up a single. KL Rahul then gets luck, pushing forward hard and sending a thick but some would say controlled outside edge flying away through the vacant gully region for a boundary. Michael Clarke is still on about the number of men out on the boundary. He’s certainly not shy about criticising Steve Smith’s captaincy, which is welcome in these days of soft serve punditry.

5.49am BST

16th over: India 56-2 (Rahul 33, Rahane 10) – India require 50 runs to win

Pat Cummins continues with three slips and a gully in place for Ajinkya Rahane, but they’re unlikely to come into play while he’s bowling half-volleys. The Indian skipper gets forward with a straight bat and hammers the Australian paceman down the ground with exquisite timing. That’s four, and so is the next delivery, to which he steps back smartly to pick off a lofted pull shot. That second delivery was 148kmph and he didn’t quite nail the shot, but it fizzes away to the fence.

5.43am BST

15th over: India 47-2 (Rahul 33, Rahane 1) – India require 59 runs to win

“What is going on out here?” asks Michael Clarke as Indian skipper Ajinkya Rahane gets off the mark with a single from the new bowler, Nathan Lyon. He refers not to the wicket-taking carnage of last over, but the fact Steve Smith has three men posted on the boundary. Everyone is a bit tense, it’s fair to say. Lyon beats the outside edge with a jaffa to finish his first over. People: breathe. I repeat: breathe.

5.40am BST

Chaos! Maxwell runs Pujara out with a direct hit! Oh my word, what were the batsmen thinking? Pujara bunts Cummins into the covers, where Maxwell is on his toes and moves in quickly, and after a mid-pitch stutter and conflicting calls, Pujara eventually agrees to run though. A problem there: he’s still only halfway down the pitch as Maxwell gathers, takes deliberate aim and throws down the stumps with an emphatic direct hit. Holy moly.

5.34am BST

Cummins gets the breakthrough! And it was a beauty – slightly short of a length, plenty of bounce and nipping away from Vijay, who was stuck on the crease and pushing forward with hard hands. Wade accepts the simple chance and things are now at least a little bit interesting. India require 60 runs to win and have nine wickets in hand.

5.32am BST

13th over: India 46-0 (Vijay 8, Rahul 33) – India require 60 runs to win

Steve Smith has now seen the replay of last over’s non-appeal but for all his eye-rolling, it’s kind of his and his team’s job to be going up for half-chances at this point in the game. Adding insult to injury, Rahul rocks back to Hazlewood and creams a pull shot to the fence at deep mid wicket. An existential question re Australia’s missed chance: what is the point of Matthew Wade if not to go up maniacally for half-chances like that?

Glove? Not much of an appeal from the Aussies and no review either: https://t.co/1HG79qHddv #INDvAUS pic.twitter.com/HswAGzaXFg

5.28am BST

12th over: India 42-0 (Vijay 8, Rahul 29) – India require 64 runs to win

With the momentum ebbing away at O’Keefe’s end, the spinner is replaced by paceman Pat Cummins. That might have been the go from the start, to be honest. Immediately he gets a short one fizzing past Murali Vijay’s rib cage and Matthew Wade needs to scramble to his right to avoid any more byes. Singles come easily enough from there, and Vijay also unfurls a pretty cover drive for no run.

KL Rahul hasn’t got a big score in the series, but has looked India’s best batsman. No longer all or nothing.

5.21am BST

11th over: India 40-0 (Vijay 7, Rahul 29) – India require 66 runs to win

Mmmmm it’s crack time. Josh Hazlewood hits one now to send a horror delivery thumping into Lokesh Rahul’s thigh pad. Then the Australian paceman squares his man up beautifully with one that goes on straight. Rahul is neither forward nor back, but will have a couple of nasty bruises as a result of this spell. Hazlewood also sends a snorter of a short ball rearing up past the outside edge and shaping away towards first slip. Rahul does well just to survive this over. There is one game happening at this end of the ground and an entirely different one at the other.

5.18am BST

10th over: India 40-0 (Vijay 7, Rahul 29) – India require 66 runs to win

Steve Smith doesn’t have many runs to play with but he’s prepared to give O’Keefe at least one more over, and Rahul makes the most of it by slashing a square drive to the boundary off the first delivery. The only helmeted player in danger here is Peter Handscomb at silly point, though not when Rahul forcefully sweeps another boundary through square leg. He might finish this off by drinks. His analysis this series: 64, 10, 90, 51, 67, 60, 29*

5.14am BST

9th over: India 31-0 (Vijay 7, Rahul 20) – India require 75 runs to win

It’s no real fault of O’Keefe’s (I’m not even sure why he’s bowling) but you feel Hazlewood is the man here. He’s getting the ball to swing in late and appreciably to the right handers, so attacks their stumps constantly. When he drops short Rahul plays a risky late cut and bisects the men at gully and third slip perfectly to pick up another boundary. A pained Hazlewood throws his head back in frustration, and he’s even more shirty when Rahul bunts a quick single to cover from the next delivery. Ravi Shastri is positing the theory that Matt Renshaw “dropped” the Border-Gavaskar trophy, then has the temerity to wish him happy birthday. With friends like these…

5.09am BST

8th over: India 26-0 (Vijay 7, Rahul 15) – India require 80 runs to win

Somewhat surprisingly it’s Steve O’Keefe pairing with the paceman from the pavilion end, and Rahul gets going by turning his first delivery to leg for a single. Vijay does similar, stroking an attractive drive to the man at long off. With Rahul on strike O’Keefe has a slip and a silly point, and also some sharp turn; so sharp he beats both Rahul’s edge and the gloves of a badly-positioned Matthew Wade to concede four byes. That was horrible keeping work by Wade. It’s only the second over of the day and he’s already hopping around to his left with his leg in the air, completely off balance. Don Tallon would turn in his grave.

5.05am BST

7th over: India 19-0 (Vijay 6, Rahul 13) – India require 87 runs to win

Josh Hazlewood gets us started on what will be denouement of this compelling series. His first ball is arrowed down the leg side, but Vijay misses the chance to flick it down towards the fence at fine leg. The Australian has changed ends from where he was bowling last night, and hopefully for his sake it’ll bring him the same sort of luck he had there in the first innings. He has two very enthusiastic LBW shouts when he has the ball tailing in to Vijay. Marais Erasmus turns both down, apparently believing they’ve hit the batsman’s pad outside the line, and that the second featured an inside edge. Very sloppy from the Indian opener, and perhaps a bit lucky. A promising start from Hazlewood.

4.52am BST

The pitch

“I think the first half an hour is going to be crucial,” says Sunil Gavaskar, hardly causing an earthquake with his initial take. Of more interest is the pitch. There is still a fair bit of grass coverage, and decent sized cracks just short of a length. That is where Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins will be focusing their energies, and hopefully landing the ball.

4.49am BST

A bit on Glenn Maxwell’s reemergence as a Test cricketer

“While he was at the crease we looked like we could build some kind of lead,” Allan Border says. Should he stay at No6 for Australia? “He’s showed enough that he should be,” says Brad Haddin. “He can move the game forward so quick. I think he needs to be given an extended run like we did with David Warner.”

4.42am BST

A Sheffield Shield final update while we have time…

South Australia are in all sorts of trouble in Alice Springs. In reply to Victoria’s first innings score of 487 they’re 132-6 with Joe Mennie and keeper Alex Carey at the crease. Jon Holland has been the chief destroyer for the Bushrangers. He has 4-39 from 13.1 overs having dismissed South Australian batting stars Callum Ferguson, Travis Head and Jake Lehmann. James Pattinson has 2-28 from 13 overs to do the rest of the damage. The Vics only needed a draw to win their third Shield on the trot, but they’re on track for an outright win at this rate.

4.21am BST

Preamble

Hello all and welcome to day four of the fourth Test in Dharamsala, where Australia are staring down the barrel of a Border-Gavaskar Trophy series loss. The task ahead for India: 87 runs to tick off with all 10 wickets in hand. Perhaps a few early scalps to Pat Cummins or Josh Hazlewood could throw the Kohli among the seagulls, but you doubt it. Since 1969 Australia have won just the single Test series in India, back in 2004. If they repeat the feat today it’ll be a minor miracle.

1.34am BST

Russell will be here soon. Here’s yesterday’s match report:

Related: India close to Border-Gavaskar Trophy victory after Australia collapse

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/live/2017/mar/28/india-v-australia-fourth-test-day-four-live