But former players on both sides have again been stirring things up ahead of Ranchi, a match in which India must avoid defeat if they want to win back the Border-Gavaskar trophy.
Despite losing his wicket early in Indian innings, KL Rahul’s swift 67 runs were causative and gave India a sturdy start.
Cummins dismissed fears about his conditioning by delivering a six-over spell late in the final session. “If you look at the way the Indians bowled to us yesterday I don’t think he hit the right length for reverse swing”. That was when Glenn Maxwell joined Smith in the middle and the duo have put on 159 unbeaten runs for the fifth wicket so far.
From an overnight 299-4, it was literally a bat-breaking start to the day.
Indian bowler Umesh Yadav bowled a fast 137km/h ball which Maxwell went to block, and it caused his bat to break into two. “There were 300-400 scenarios in my head, and majority weren’t good”. I have cut that off in a big way and slowly I got back to my rhythm. This forced him to watch the rest of the day’s play from the dressing room with an ice pack strapped to his shoulder. I know how bad it felt when I played that last game in Dubai and didn’t play again, I just wanted to make it count. “I’ve just been pumped up watching it at home and to be over and potentially being part of the series is really cool”, he said.
The 28-year-old batsman became the second Australian to score a century in all-three formats after Shane Watson, who did the same in 2016.
It has been a turbulent 12 months for the World Cup victor, who missed two one-day global tours, was dumped from Victoria’s Shield team and fell foul of Smith and Australia’s leadership group for his controversial comments about his state captain and national wicketkeeper Matthew Wade.
Considering how much Ravindra Jadeja and R Ashwin toiled on this wicket, it was always going to be hard for Nathan Lyon and Steve O’Keefe to be effective, and so it proved, with the India batsmen untroubled by the off-spinner and left-arm orthodox. Umesh Yadav returned figures of 3-106.
“It frustrates me when everyone says “he just does it in India, wait until he gets to England”, Flintoff said. True bounce on offer and great value for shots on a quick outfield. “I tried changes in technique and numerous discussions with lot of people and tried staying aloof as much I could, kept on asking questions and change people’s perception about what Maxwell was doing”, said Maxwell after the close of second day’s play.
The series is level at 1-1 and there will nearly certainly be a result in Ranchi, where Australia are hunting a victory that will ensure they retain the Border-Gavaskar trophy.