He was a reliable and gutsy presence at the top of the order for Australia through the 1950s
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.
Asked in later years by Gideon Haigh about how he viewed the 1956 Ashes, McDonald offered an unvarnished view of the conditions and how they had been prepared. “England cheated: if by cheating you include the practice of preparing wickets to suit your own purpose,” he said in The Summer Game.
“I mean, we wouldn’t have minded so much if the pitches had played true to character. But we’d played Lancashire at the start of the tour and it seamed like a normal Manchester wicket. Then the Test pitch was like Bondi Beach when it was dry and a mud-heap when it was wet. In truth, though, Australians were poor at playing off-spin on slow turning wickets. They tended to thrust at it with firm hands, where the way to do it was play side-on, close to your body, bat inside pad. They bowled well. We batted very badly.”
McDonald’s traditional, “take the shine off the new ball” approach to opening served his country well as Benaud fashioned them into the world’s pre-eminent team, culminating in the memorable 1960-61 series against West Indies at home and then the retention of the Ashes in England in 1961.
“Colin will forever be remembered as a legend of Victorian and Australian cricket,” Cricket Australia chair Earl Eddings said. “He was fearless against the fast bowlers and skilful when playing the spinners both in Australia and across tours of England, the Caribbean, South Africa, India and Pakistan.
“Australian cricket is a better place for Colin’s many years of outstanding service at international and state level, as well as his club career with Melbourne University, Melbourne Cricket Club and Brighton. Our sincere condolences and best wishes go out to Colin’s family.”
Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @danbrettig
Aus vs Ind 4th Test 2020-21
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.”
Aus vs Ind, 4th Test, 2020-21 – Rishabh Pant
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.”
Australia vs India, 4th Test, Brisbane, 5th day
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
4.07pm: The countdown begins
Exactly a 100 to win off 20 overs, and the new ball has been taken as a light drizzle comes down on the Gabba. This is it, for Australia – they need to make something happen here, and they need to do it quick if they want to win this game. The final bit of advantage they can get as a bowling unit today.
3.31pm: Rain check
India now showing definite signs of aggression. That should only increase the deeper this game goes and, you’d think they’d be quite comfortable doing it as long as Pujara is at the other end; he has been a rock today, been struck thrice on the helmet, oe on the knuckles, and a handful of times on the body. But, as ever, he remains the assured figure in that batting line-up.
Shubman Gill fell short of a maiden hundred but he set the template at the other end, one that Ajinkya Rahane was looking to follow as well. But Pat Cummins keeps pulling things back for Australia, and he’s done exactly that again towards the end of the session. Runs against him seem a distant dream at the moment – but the others have been vulnerable, particularly Mitchell Starc so far. Onto the final session now of a superb series. India need 145 off 37 overs, Australia need 7 wickets.
1.56pm: No shot offered?
Here is Sidharth Monga on the two lbw appeals against Pujara where it was deemed he wasn’t offering a shot:
“Two really interesting reviews against Pujara today when he has been adjudicated to not be playing a shot. Neither of the replays showed enough of the ball hitting the stumps or there would be a huge controversy because, quite simply, Pujara was playing both the balls. According to the lbw law, you are or not playing a shot if you have “made no genuine attempt to play the ball with the bat”.
Now there are times when batsmen do jump out of the crease and pretend to play a shot, hiding the bat behind the pad, but on both these occasions Pujara’s bat was next to the pad and not behind the pad the moment the ball hit the pad. These were two really harsh calls, and seem to have set a precedent, which will cast doubts in Pujara’s mind every time he steps out of the crease.
At the time of writing this, Pujara has faced 853 balls in this series. Another 25 balls, and he will have a second entry in top 10 balls faced by a visiting batsman in a series in Australia in which he has played only four Tests.”
1.30pm: Chase, on?
There is life in this contest now! Australia have gone shorter over the last half an hour, and as was the case in the last few innings, the pitch has responded to being slammed down. It has coincided with the sun coming out and drying up the overnight moisture a little more as well, so Australia will feel a little better going into lunch.
And that is because India have batted superbly in the first session. They lost Rohit early but it’s been run-scoring from one end and trademark defiance at the other from Gill and Pujara. With little assistance for the bowlers early on, Gill drove gloriously through the line for his runs, and in the face of nasty short bowling, Pujara has worn a few on his body and been hit on the helmet twice without showing any signs of losing his shape. The pair has made sure India go into the break with nine wickets in hand and 62 overs to play.
11.43am: Lyon goes around the wicket
11.20am: Coming of age
It’s been a series of superb debuts on either side. Cameron Green and Mohammed Siraj ended pretty well yesterday doing their primary skills. Today, Gill has reminded us one last time this series that he is here and ready for Test cricket. All series he has been organised, had an appetite to attack when possible, and on this last day in a steep chase, he has provided just the start you need from an opener. A solid fifty.
Are non-existent so far. Maybe one from Starc has kicked up as goes around the wicket to aim for those cracks. But in general, it’s been consistent bounce today. Perhaps that has a little to do with Australia being fuller, and maybe the moisture underneath has helped too. To a smaller extent, the roller must have had an effect. But nothing scary so far for India.
These are all the dismissals in this game filtered for bowled, lbw and caught. A little caveat that it also includes wickets off spinners. But even accounting for that, the story is clear – it’s the fuller balls that are doing most damage. We’re likely to see more purchase for the relatively shorter lengths today, given the cracks and all, but Cummins capitalising perfectly this morning already. Pin the batsmen back, have them see a few kick up at them, and you can find the nicks off a good length.
9.37am: On this day
Thirteen years ago, Irfan Pathan was named Man of the Match as India beat Australia in Perth. Things weren’t quite on par the way they are now, but this is the kind of thing that’d satisfy the optimistic Indian fan. H/T to Gaurav Sundararaman for spotting this.
We head into the last day of this sensational series with the opportunity for plenty of drama. India need 324 to win the series, Australia need 10 wickets. In both their paths is a glum forecast, but only one team really NEEDS to win. And that is Australia. A draw doesn’t do too much harm to India in terms of WTC prospects – considering they have a big home series coming – and they would get to retain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy. For Australia, it’s not that simple on either of those fronts. But perhaps the one thing they have going for them is that it is a lot easier to force a result with the ball rather than with the bat on this pitch and in these conditions. This is the piece with all the WTC scenarios for the two teams.
And here is some info about the weather forecast for today. We are scheduled for 98 overs on paper.
Varun Shetty is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo
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