In a way, this Australia v India series has had many parallels with my wife’s pregnancy, and it is fitting that they are drawing to a close together, both to a possible denouement on Saturday 28th of January.
For instance, Danielle has understandably been quite immobile around the house, disinterested in cleaning, and apathetic towards exercise.
India on the other hand have been ashamedly immobile in the field, disinterested in saving runs, and apathetic in chasing balls to the boundary.
While we have been waiting for her to give birth, cricket-lovers around the country have been waiting for the visitors to provide a contest.
While the former is going to happen today, the latter has never come to pass.
Great sport thrives on fierce competition (witness Nadal v Federer on Friday night at the Australian Open), and sadly for fans of hard-fought test cricket, India hasn’t shown the necessary skill, purpose or dedication to provide the contest that we have all so desperately craved.
Day Four of this Test went the same way as every other in this series, each over and session ticking by as we all waited for the result that has been inevitable since tea on the first day.
I started the morning watching the first session with my (soon to be a ‘great’) grandfather.
There were the ever-strident opinions on various cricketers (believes Warner has a good technique, but hasn’t been using it, getting carried away with trying to bully the Indian attack), and the usual ridicule at my lack of geographical and political awareness (he almost fell over in shock when I knew what year Bob Hawke was elected Prime Minister).
Most would have been expecting some fireworks from the blades of Ponting and Clarke from the beginning of play, but the pitch was starting to show signs of inconsistent bounce, and neither batsman could get their timing quite right.
There were still some beautiful strokes that found the fence, (one of Clarke’s customized short-arm pull shots between mid-wicket and mid-on sticks in the mind – a Swiss watch couldn’t have timed it any better), but the skipper fell before he could really up the ante.
Hussey came and went, and when lunch was called the first session had delivered 2/104, but the match didn’t feel as if it had really progressed.
The declaration was foremost in people’s minds, and since the Indian batting line-up has shown as much resistance as a house of cards on a windy day, most felt it was time to unleash the Aussie paceman.
So the main interval saw me pick up my wife and we were off to a doctor’s appointment.
It was to be my first meeting with the obstetrician, as all others had coincided with work, cricket and an aversion to responsibility.
The news when we got into see the doc was slightly worrying, but not alarming – Australia had not yet declared, and were batting on!
Also, Danielle’s blood pressure was a bit high, and they were worried about pre-eclampsia.
While I was not sure which problem I was to concentrate on, Michael Clarke took the first one out of the equation by calling his batsmen in.
The relief in the room was palpable…as was the anger from my wife at my lack of focus on her.
So while the Indian opening batsmen were coming out, a plan was being hatched to ensure our son would do the same.
She would be admitted to our private hospital that night and the following morning would be induced.
I wasn’t really sure what that was to involve – the only previous inducing I was familiar with was of Indian false shots from our disciplined quicks (Harris to Gambhir a case in point – Ind 1/14).
So the great champion Rahul Dravid came out to take guard for the final time in a test match in Australia.
By this stage I was learning inducing a pregnant woman was effectively a way to open the cervix, or the wall, that was preventing the baby from coming out.
I hypothesised that if this was the case, perhaps I needed to give our fast bowling brigade a call, as they had opened up The Wall several times already this series.
This comment was not taken well.
I’m sure I felt the sun give a shudder at the icy glare that came from my none-too-pleased wife.
At the other end, Sehwag had decided that prepping for the upcoming IPL series was more important than saving a test match, and with Nathan Lyon into the attack, had continued swinging wildly at everything in sight.
Danielle had drawn inspiration from his play, because she also starting swinging wildly, but with only me in sight.
My cricket/pregnancy puns were clearly taking their toll.
Although slightly battered, both the Australian off-spinner and I stuck gamely to our guns – my quest to get us to the hospital, and Lyon’s to claim the sizzling opener.
Both were achieved at roughly the same time, and had the crystalizing effect of all parties knowing the end was in sight.
Harris then claimed Dravid, tempting me into another ‘Wall’ joke, but for once I decided that discretion was the better part of valour, and I was able to resist.
Tendulkar tried again to get ‘that’ hundred, and once more it was in vain, Lyon able to deceive the greatest batsman of our time with a nice piece of flight and dip.
Sachin was filthy as he left the ground, and Danielle was filthy too – she had just been delivered her first tray of hospital food.
A small partnership was built between Laxman and Kohli, but Lyon struck again and India were 5/162, soon to be 6/166 and stumps after Kohli was run out in ludicrous circumstances, leaving only the formalities to be completed upon resumption tomorrow.
So the match and series is all but over, with the celebrations from Australia sure to be loud and sustained (hopefully the same won’t be true of my poor wife’s labour).
And while the lack of contest in these four matches has been bitterly disappointing, I sense the story of our son will be anything but.
The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Cricket Australia