Carey’s major moment in Indore triumph

Carey’s major moment in Indore triumph
Carey’s major moment in Indore triumph
Carey appeals to Aussie greats for advice on India

Alex Carey would surely have assumed his days of heavy knocks and upper-body bruises were over when he gave up his first Australian rules football pursuit.

But Australia’s beaten wicketkeeper didn’t just put his body on the line in India, he was also credited with turning his side’s third Test with a sloppy piece of glove.

Two momentum-changing holds for Steve Smith and Usman Khawaja were widely credited as major factors in their victory in Indore this week.

Yet it was another less flashy but equally vital piece of pitch that Australia pinpointed as the moment that set the tone for India collapsing to a rare defeat on their home ground.

Fly-half Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill had hit 27 runs – which turned out to be almost a quarter of their first innings total – in record time before Matthew Kuhnemann prodigiously passed the advancing Rohit.

It spun so much that Steve Smith first raised his hands in anticipation of catching the ball himself.

But Carey kept her composure to perform the stumping.

“Instinct kicks in when you see a ball bounce like that,” Carey said. “I don’t think many of us were expecting an eight degree ball this early in the game.

“But it was good to hang on to that and for us to have some momentum and also Kuhny (got) a lot of confidence from that particular wicket.

India’s implosion before lunch puts Australia ahead

Coach Andrew McDonald identified the stump – just Carey’s second in 18 Tests after securing his first in Delhi – as a major game moment.

“The one part that hasn’t been talked about enough is Alex Carey’s outfit,” McDonald said.

“I think on day one, that ball to Sharma, that high jack, that stumping – if he doesn’t execute that, Sharma looks at the wicket, he plays differently and the game rolls in a different direction .

“I think sometimes we are quick to criticize wicket keepers. In this case, I thought day one was an absolute clinic and gave us control of the game.

“We saw (Indian goalkeeper KS) Bharat miss a few half chances, or put his leg in the way of balls that could have gone on the first slip. So I thought that was a key moment in the game.”

He had come in an opening hour in which Australia failed to consider two appeals against Rohit (one taken late, one lbw) who were both found absent.

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“It was good after missing a few reviews to get that one – thought once the big screen showed the nick I thought it might have settled for a nice 150 or something like that,” Carey said.

“It was tough conditions throughout the game, but it was good to have that one and for us to ride a bit after that.”

Carey was also hit in the helmet by a Kuhnemann delivery which exploded off the field, bringing back memories of being smashed into the grid on the first ball Nathan Lyon played in their Test series against Sri Lanka last year in Galle.

The lack of byes conceded by the South Australian was also significant. Since 2006, only two wicket-keepers visiting India have conceded fewer byes in a series of at least three Tests than Carey’s 17 in this campaign.

He didn’t miss any in India’s (admittedly short) opening rounds. By contrast, Bharat conceded nine, more runs than the last five Australian batters have scored between them on their first dig.

“Galle, I had a ball hit me in the head and (again) in Indore as well – so those two are pretty good in terms of turning and rebounding,” Carey said when we asked him if the Holkar Stadium surface had been the most difficult. He continued.

“I think more than anything (not missing the byes) just helps with the scorecard. If we lose 10, 15, 20 points, it’s a lot on this wicket.

“That can sometimes turn out to be an extra hitter. You don’t really think about it at the time, you probably look back and say ‘that was pretty good’.

“But a few nice little bruises too…on the shoulders, I have big shoulders.”

Carey’s outfit had come under the microscope in its first round of testing after taking over from ex-skipper Tim Paine at the start of the 2021-22 Ashes.

The work he has done even since returning to test work was shown in this series, with a leg side grip on the first ball after the second day’s tea break in Nagpur off Virat Kohli, another remarkable moment.

Murphy catches Kohli with a side leg choke

Carey said Tim Nielsen, Ian Healy, Brad Haddin and Adam Gilchrist were major influences on his glove work.

“I regularly speak to guys who have played for Australia…then when you land here you have a little idea,” he said.

“I think our practice wickets were also very difficult, so it was nice to actually stand in a practice wicket and stick with our bowlers.

“You don’t always do that in Australia, the nets are a bit shorter and you probably do your stuff further back.

“I think all you have to do is land here, get stuck in, get dirty and realize it’s going to be a tough tour behind the stumps.”

Main image credit: BCCI/Sportzpics

Border-Gavaskar Qantas Tour of India 2023

February 9-13: India won by one end and 132 runs

February 17-21: India won by six wickets

March 1-5: Australia won by nine wickets

March 9-13: Fourth Test, Ahmedabad, 3:00 p.m. AEDT

All matches broadcast live and exclusive on Fox Cricket and Kayo Sports

Australia team: Pat Cummins (c), Scott Boland, Alex Carey, Cameron Green, Peter Handscomb, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Usman Khawaja, Matt Kuhnemann, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Lance Morris, Todd Murphy, Matthew Renshaw, Steve Smith (c) , Mitchell Starc, Mitchell Swepson

India team: Rohit Sharma (c), KL Rahul (vc), Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, KS Bharat, Ishan Kishan, Ravichandran Ashwin, Axar Patel, Kuldeep Yadav, Ravindra Jadeja, Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj, Umesh Yadav , Suryakumar Yadav, Jaydev Unadkat


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