Sport Cricket Bad light farce angers cricket fans
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Bad light farce angers cricket fans

Pat Cummins
Pat Cummins is knocked over at the SCG. Photo: Getty
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Day four, fourth Test at the SCG – play suspended due to bad light.

India 7-622 dec, Australia 300 & 0-6
Khawaja 4*, Harris 2*

Australia has been forced to follow on and bat again after India’s bowlers made short work of the home side’s batsmen once more.

It was the first time Australia has been forced to follow on since 2005, a sight not seen for 150 Test matches.

The last time Australia was made to follow on was at Trent Bridge against England in the epic 2005 Ashes series.

Usman Khawaja and Marcus Harris will return to the crease, weather permitting, at the start of day five as Australia attempts to bat out the final day in search of a draw.

A combination of bad light and poor weather forced the early close of play on Sunday, creating a frustrating and demoralising day for cricket fans.

Test cricket doesn’t do itself any favours with its archaic approach to dealing with playing conditions.

In an era of high-tech sport and amid a cut-throat, competitive marketplace, that a Test match is halted because it cannot be illuminated sufficiently for the show to go on is either the height of arrogance, 18-carat stupidity, or both.

Fans are short changed, players are frustrated and the game is left looking like sport’s grey nomad, trundling the backblocks on the road to nowhere.

Former Australian fast bowler Stuart Clark was scathing in his assessment of the shutdown.

“This is an embarrassment to the game. This is embarrassing. It’s not dark,” he told ABC Grandstand.

“Are you trying to tell me if we had a pink ball we’d keep playing? Seriously.

“I’m all for when it’s dark and dangerous to come off, but this is not acceptable.”

Play resumed on day four after Sydney’s wild summer weather washed away the first session at the SCG.

India raced through Australia’s tail to dismiss the home team for 300 as the last four wickets fell for 64 runs.

The Indians were on the hunt for early wickets as they searched for victory. The journey got off to a brilliant start with Mohammed Shami bowling Pat Cummins (25) with a delivery that kept low.

Cummins’ departure was soon followed by that of Peter Handscomb for 37, who was caught on the crease playing an unconvincing defensive prod at a Jasprit Bumrah rocket, and clipped it into his stumps.

Nathan Lyon (0) was the next to go, failing to sweep a Kuldeep Yadav delivery that struck him on the toe and trapped him LBW.

Mitchell Starc (29) and Josh Hazlewood (21) provided some entertaining tail-end batting before Hazlewood became Yadav’s fifth victim, the leg-spinner finishing the innings with 5-99.

Given the possibility of further weather disruptions, captain Virat Kohli decided to enforce the follow on in order to bowl Australia out again in the remaining five sessions of the match.

With conditions making it impossible for play to continue, it may allow Australia to eke out a draw late on day five if the interruptions continue.

India has made all the running in this match and for most of the series.

A victory in Sydney would be a fitting way to end the team’s momentous campaign.

Sydney’s summer weather gods will determine if that will be the case.

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