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He was a reliable and gutsy presence at the top of the order for Australia through the 1950s

Colin McDonald, Australia’s lone resister during Jim Laker’s world record 19-wicket haul in the 1956 Old Trafford Ashes Test, has died at the age of 92.

In a lengthy and reliable stint at the top of the order for Australia for the best part of the 1950s and early 1960s, McDonald was a key part of the team in the era spanning the captaincies of Lindsay Hassett, Ian Johnson, Ian Craig and Richie Benaud, playing the last of his 47 Tests on the 1961 tour of England that saw the debut of his fellow Victorian opening batsman Bill Lawry.

Batting with a range of partners, McDonald was at his best during the 1955 West Indies tour and the 1958-59 Ashes series at home, the scenes of four out of his five Test hundreds and plenty of cut shots and leg-side deflections with a technique that was dominated by the bottom hand.

But McDonald’s most enduring efforts were arguably his run of scores in the Laker-led defeats of the Australians by both England and Surrey during the 1956 tour: scores of 89, 45, 32 and 89 out of team totals worth 259, 107, 84 and 205 represented high skill and no little determination against the turning, spitting ball.



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Aus vs Ind 4th Test 2020-21

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Gavaskar paises Pujara by saying he “put his body on the line for Indian cricket, for the Indian cricket team”

India pulled off a historic Test and 2-1 series win with a dramatic and thrilling three-wicket win at the Gabba. Here’s how former India captain Sunil Gavaskar, who was on commentary for the series from Australia, reacted to India’s historic win while talking to Channel Seven and Sony Ten 3.

On the dramatic win
“Absolutely, this is a magic, magical moment for Indian cricket. They were not prepared to just save the game. They were wanting to go out and finish the tour in a blaze of glory. Young India has done it. Young India has shown the way. Young India is showing that they are not afraid. What a win, what a magnificent win. It starts with Shubman Gill playing such a wonderful innings this morning. Then the old war horse Cheteshwar Pujara making sure that there were no inroads made by the Australians in that middle session. And then Rishabh Pant coming in, once again promoted up the order at No.5 by this managing to Rahane, who has an unbeaten record now. Two out of the three Test matches here he has captained he has won. And before that he has captained India twice, he has won both those Test matches. Natarajan making his debut, what a debut it has been. Prithvi also. But what a tour, what a win.”

On the importance of Pujara’s innings
“See, whatever I say about him will be very, very less. He put his body on the line for Indian cricket, for the Indian cricket team. He took blows on gloves, body, helmet but he didn’t deter. His presence at the other end also gives confidence to young stroke players that there is someone holding the other end. That’s why his innings was so important because if India had lost two wickets in the second session, it would have made things difficult. He held the fort together until the second new ball. And with that, Pant grew in confidence and see, what unfolded. It’s such an extraordinary day.”

On the significance of the series win
“This series win is even more magnificent because this time Australia had their full-strength team. The ball was turning on the fifth day. Yesterday also some balls kicked off, some kept low when Australia were batting. So to score on that pitch, and with such ease, the last two-three wickets fell while trying to bring the target down. It felt really nice because this young Indian team has shown something different. In this win, to whom will you give credit? Mohammed Siraj took five wickets, Washington Sundar took three, Natarajan three. Then the way Washington Sundar and Shardul Thakur batted. Shubman Gill, Rishabh Pant, the way they batted. After seeing all this, and they are all young players, I think the future of the Indian cricket is so bright that we can have great anticipation for every upcoming series.”



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Aus vs Ind, 4th Test, 2020-21 – Rishabh Pant

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Captain Rahane praises his team’s “character” while head coach Shastri says this series “will never be forgotten”

From 36 all out in Adelaide to levelling the series in Melbourne to a fighting draw in Sydney, India finally finished a thrilling four-Test series with a slim win in Brisbane to take the series 1-1. Here’s how India captain Ajinkya Rahane, Man of the Match Rishabh Pant and head coach Ravi Shastri reacted after the win:

Rishabh Pant, 89*
“I think this is one of the biggest things in my life right now. I am happy that all the support staff from the team and all the fans over here supported me a lot even though I wasn’t playing in the starting matches but it has been a dream series I can say that. After not playing the first match, I have been practising hard and everything paid off because we won the series.

“The team management always backs me and tells me that you are matchwinner and you always have to go and win the match for the team. That’s the only thing I keep on thinking every day that I want to win matches for India and I am happy that I did it today.

“It was a fifth-day pitch and the ball was turning a bit and I thought I had to be a bit disciplined with my shot selection. And if you win the match, everything pays off well. I think everything went so well for us, so I am happy.”

Ravi Shastri, India head coach
On missing players: “This team has tremendous character and self-belief. Even after being bowled out for 36, the team had the belief that they could come back. Virat [Kohli] also left the team, but he will always be with us. That’s because this team wasn’t built during this series. This team has been built over the past five or six years. And Virat Kohli’s character has rubbed off on the team. Ajinkya Rahane led in Virat’s absence, and while he’s a cool customer, he’s a real fighter from inside. He handled the troops really well in Virat’s absence.

India’s young players Mohammed Siraj, Washington Sundar, Shardul Thakur and Rishabh Pant: “What do I say about Rishabh Pant. We play him in overseas matches because he’s a match-winner, and he showed us exactly why during this series. When he makes some errors in keeping, then people start criticising him. But the way that he batted today, he wins matches for us. In fact, the way he was batting in Sydney, he would have won the game for us by staying at the wicket for another hour. I think his performance has been exceptional. Guys like Washington Sundar and Mohammed Siraj showed how good their temperament is. Washington Sundar was a net bowler. Natarajan was a net bowler. He [Natarajan] played one-day cricket, then T20 cricket, and got his Test debut here. And the way Washington Sundar batted, it seemed that he was a veteran of 20 Tests. The kind of temperament he showed in his partnership with Shardul Thakur…a thing to mention about Shardul, he’s been through the hard grind of first-class cricket, but he got a chance here, and he grabbed his opportunity with both hands.

India’s brand of cricket: What these boys have achieved in this series is a massive feat. This is a series that we will never forget. I don’t think the cricket world will forget this series for a long time. As long as cricket is played, this series will not be forgotten. Our boys were in quarantine for six months. Some of the guys who live in metro cities weren’t even able to step out of their flats. And the only cricket they had was the IPL. Australians and New Zealanders were able to step out into parks and train June onwards. As a team, they [Australia] also played against England. Despite that, to come here and perform the way we did here is something creditable. Especially when all our main bowlers were injured. There’s this self-belief about this team, that once they cross the boundary line and enter the field, all 11 players know they are playing for the India badge. Nothing else.

On Pant’s innings: “He’s batted really well. If he keeps winning matches by keeping his composure like today, then it will be a huge thing for us.”

Ajinkya Rahane, captain
“It really means a lot to us. I don’t know how to describe this victory, but I am really proud of all the boys. We showed character, attitude…especially after the Adelaide Test. We decided we will fight very hard. We know Australia in Australia is a very dangerous team. We just promised not to think about results. I don’t know how to describe this victory. I am just really proud of each and every individual. When I went in (to) bat, the conversation between me and [Cheteshwar] Pujara was for Puji to bat normal, but I wanted to play with intent and if we get close to the total, then Rishabh and Mayank can get the total for us. It was all about the intent out there after lunch. Credit to Pujara for the way he batted, with the mental pressure. Washington Sundar was really good at the end.

“Taking 20 wickets was the key (playing with 20 players across the Tests), and that’s why we opted for five bowlers. We knew that if we are going to win this Test match and the series, then five bowlers will be the key. Washington Sundar got (us) that balance in place of [Ravindra] Jadeja. Unfortunate that Jadeja got injured in the last Test match. Washington Sundar got that balance for us, to allow us to play five bowlers. All credit to them. [Mohammed] Siraj had played two Test matches, Saini one, Shardul Thakur one. Washington in his debut Test match. The way these guys handled pressure was really good.

“As I said, after the Adelaide Test match, we didn’t discuss anything, about what happened in that Test. We just wanted to play that game. We wanted to play good on the field. We weren’t thinking about the result. Each and every individual contributed to the Melbourne Test match and that was the key moment for us. I am really happy for that.”



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Australia vs India, 4th Test, Brisbane, 5th day

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Welcome to our live report of the fifth 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

*Most recent entry will appear at the top, please refresh your page for the latest updates. All times are local.

5:38pm: Chuck the scripts out

There isn’t anything in the world today that will give you better than this. No fables, no mysteries, no fantasy worlds, no rollicking political thrillers will match up to India’s youngest members building around the oldest one, who took bruises, knocks and some amount of intimidation to take this game deep.

And then, the patience – yes, the patience – of Pant. Strung along at a strike rate around 40 for the largest part, gave himself time. “Give yourself time,” they’ve been telling him forever. He did at Sydney, it was his best Test innings they said. And then he comes back, and he brings us this. Unbeaten on 89, taking India to win with three overs to spare. At the Gabba. No one does this at the Gabba. A record chase, a loss for Australia for the first time since 1988.

A tied series was enough. A draw would do it. That was the talk all day. It was probably the balm that made this Indian line-up so composed today: play time, there’s little to lose. That manifested in a Shubman Gill innings of pure class up front. A 91 that kept Australia humble even as they kept breaching Pujara’s defenses to hit him, multiple times, on the body.

This was the last day, this was Starc’s time. Gill tore into him for an over of 20 runs, and Starc never quite returned all day from that. Spare a thought for Pat Cummins – No. 1 in the world, possibly the fittest man in the game. He had to do it all today, carrying that bowling line-up, arguably the best in the world, that has been defied three innings in a row now. And it culminates in a series loss.

This series was 0-1, India had been bowled out for 36. They were severely incapacitated. They had no business pulling off their greatest series win of all time, with ten minutes to go. Yet, here we are. What a series. Pure quality in every single session from two brilliantly competitive teams. It will take a while to forget it.

Full report to follow…

5:15pm: It is on

A hooked six, a spliced four, a ramp and a vicious sweep. Australia are utterly under the pump at the moment. There are no clouds, the cracks themselves are assisting India’s batsmen, and there isn’t a bowler in sight who seems to have an answer right now. India’s swashbuckling young left-handers are setting them up for history.

4.39pm: 69runs, 15 overs, 6 wickets





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