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Cameron Rose: Patience a virtue

25 January 2012

So, my wife is 39 weeks pregnant.

Not wanting to disrupt my viewing of the series, I thought that the gap between the Perth and Adelaide tests might have been a perfect time for her to ease our baby son out with a minimum of fuss. 

Michael Clarke and his men knew what I wanted, ripping through the third test in seven sessions and leaving a nine day window of opportunity to take advantage of. 

But, like a mini-Ed Cowan, the baby has refused to get out early.

I sense it is not the last time that he will refuse to bend to his father’s will and, for this soon to be first-time dad, the education process has already begun.

There couldn’t be many better feelings than entering the magnificently grand Adelaide Oval this morning, especially after hearing Australia would bat. 

With the day off work already taken, a glorious 36 degree day to be enjoyed, and a shell-shocked Indian line-up to be belted around on the flattest of tracks, all thoughts were on the havoc that David Warner would wreak.

But while I am left (albeit facetiously) disappointed about the lack of an early new arrival, the Adelaide crowd was definitely left disappointed about an early departure. 

Even though he is only six tests into his career, when the explosive Warner is out early in proceedings, every person in attendance feels like they’ve found a dollar but lost two. 

Their hopes were raised early with a lofted blast over mid-off for an all-run four, but dashed a short time later when Zaheer Khan found a way through his defences.

Shaun Marsh strode to the wicket walking the walk every test batsman in the history of cricket has endured at some stage - bent double under the heavy weight of requiring runs to secure his place for the future. 

Quasimodo never had it so tough.

There is nothing quite as dispiriting as seeing a batsman bereft of confidence scratching around the crease, and Marsh was certainly this, looking sadder than a child confronted with a plate of spinach instead of the expected chocolate ice-cream. 

While the rest of us saw a belter of a batting pitch, Marsh saw a minefield. 

While we watched an innocuous medium pace delivery, he was facing a seaming, swinging ball of rare pace. 

And when India off-spinner R.Ashwin delivered a ball that pitched just outside off and went straight on with the arm, Marsh was frozen in a daze of fear and confusion. 

As is so often the case in this situation, the ball passed through bat and pad in slow motion, and the death rattle of bails being dislodged from stumps told the story that words could not.

The Aussie number three walked back to the pavilion looking not so much like the boy who had thrown all of his toys out of the cot, but one who may be denied the chance to play with them again for a long time.

So while 2/31 wasn’t quite the 3/2 against England a year earlier at this ground, it was worrying enough for spectators who had come to see runs, not wickets.

Of course, the reliable Ed Cowan was still there, as happy as a child in a womb, continuing to keep his profile so low that you wonder if his parents even know who he is. 

He isn’t the first, and certainly won’t be the last, to ply his trade in the Dave Warner shadow, and you get impression that he’s more than happy to do it. 

He sees his duty to grind the new ball bowlers down for the Hollywood types in the middle order to take advantage of later in the day.

Sadly for Cowan, he departed in the shadows of lunch to a loose shot after doing the hard graft, and the look of anger on his face suggested that his diary notes that night would be typed with his fists.

But, like waiting for a baby to be born has its positives (more sleep, more freedom, and let’s face it, more uninterrupted cricket), so too can a wicket bring about the greater good.

An innings that struggled through infancy flourished once Michael Clarke joined Ricky Ponting out in the middle, not for the first time this series.

Punter was in command from the outset, and his crisp straight drive to the boundary while still in single figures had the more experienced Indians rightly concerned. 

They had seen often enough when he plays that shot so well early in an innings, the only time he was going to walk to the sheds was for lunch and tea. 

It was going to take beating as the shot of the day, and nothing ever did.

The boundaries flowed from both bats, and it wasn’t long before memories of the Sydney test came to the fore. 

50 partnership in the blink of an eye. 

Runs, runs, 100 partnership. Runs, tea, runs. 150 partnership, boundaries, runs.

Clarke to the spinners was a pleasure to watch. 

Some feel the only reason an off-spinner exists is for batsmen to go from 80 to 100, and the Aussie skipper certainly fits the profile. 

Facing R.Ashwin and Sehwag for lengthy periods, this was taking candy from a couple of babies for a sweet tooth that was never sated.

More runs. More boundaries. Another 200 partnership.

Each raised their individual century with a nicely timed four, each raised their century with the appropriate fanfare, and each raised their century with the air of a job not done.

What a union these two have formed, Australian captains past and present. 

Each has become a stronger batsman since the change, and the team stronger still.

So the tale of this summer continues. 

Another day added to my wife’s pregnancy. 

Another day of domination for the Aussies.

And another day of the Indians who, much like toddlers who see something happening they don’t like but are powerless to stop it, will tonight curl up into balls, stick their fingers in their mouths, and cry themselves to sleeps.

The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Cricket Australia
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