Glenn Maxwell hits career-reviving maiden ton, Australia cruise vs India.

17-03-2017
HT


Glenn Maxwell scored a career-reviving maiden Test century against India on the second day of the third Test in Ranchi on Friday. With Australia already well placed at 299/4 on the first day, thanks to captain Steve Smith’s second century of the series, Maxwell was under little pressure to reach his personal landmark.

Resuming on the overnight score of 82 with Smith at the other end, Maxwell was surprised from a stinger from Umesh Yadav that broke his bat of the first ball of the second day. Last ball of the same over though, Maxwell drove Yadav through point for a boundary with his new bat.

Maxwell looked a bit cagey in his defence on Thursday but appeared calmer on Friday as he tried to play every ball with the full face of the bat. He was tested with a few bouncers that stayed low but Maxwell showed good technique by watching the ball closely. He however didn’t let go off the loose deliveries.

Long wait

When Ishant Sharma bowled a wide length delivery, Maxwell just ran it down third man for a boundary to enter the 90s. Next over against Yadav, Maxwell opened the face of his bat to a short-pitched delivery over gully for a boundary to reach 98. The shot that took Maxwell to his maiden century wasn’t a safe shot --- slashing Yadav between two slips. But given his long wait for this moment, Maxwell was clearly eager to reach it anyhow.

He got out on 104 after edging to wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha off Ravindra Jadeja.

Considering the way he has been in and out of the Test team, this century will go a long way in establishing his credentials as a good Test player. Despite being an established cricketer in the shorter formats, Maxwell wasn’t taken too seriously in Tests, especially at home.

Stop-start career

That was reflected in Maxwell’s brief stop-start career that comprised of just three Tests --- two against India in Hyderabad and Delhi in 2013 and another against Pakistan in Abu Dhabi in 2014 --- before this. His scores before the Ranchi Test read 13, 8, 10, 8, 37 and 4.

Only in December had Australia coach Darren Lehmann said that Maxwell wasn’t being considered for the Test series against South Africa because he had not scored enough in recent seasons. After a decent Big Bash League, Maxwell was included in the squad for India primarily because he can bowl off-spin too.

With a set team performing as per expectations, Maxwell was not expected to play a part in the series till Mitchell Marsh’s injury opened the door slightly for him. But with a century that looked every bit a Test-class innings, Maxwell may well have sealed the No.6 spot for some matches to come.

 

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