Archive for October, 2010

T minus 8

Saturday, October 2nd, 2010

So Tim Paine missed out narrowly on his maiden Test ton.

It doesn’t matter.

Australia’s young backup keeper, filling in since May while Brad Haddin is injured, not only did himself proud, he did it in a way that ensured his team are in a comfortable position at the end of Day 2 against India at Mohali.

Watchful when he needed to be, content to let centurion Shane Watson do the bulk of the scoring and then to let Mitchell Johnson display his usual brand of unfettered hitting, he anchored Australia’s innings and helped them to a total of 428 after they started the day on 224 for 5.

By the end of Day 1 he had scored a single run off 14 balls. He made the most of a couple of moments of luck – dropped by Dhoni on 0; a thick edge that went between keeper and slip when he was on 86 – but by the time he went for 92, edging Zaheer Khan to VVS Laxman at second slip, he looked a different batsman from the nervous young man who took guard at Lord’s against Pakistan back in July in his first Test appearance with his family watching, so over-awed by the occasion that he himself admitted, “I couldn’t feel my feet”. Fluent and assured, he took a particular liking to the left arm spin of Pragyan Ojha, stroking him for two successive boundaries.

Brad Haddin’s rehab continues and he is set to appear for the New South Wales Second XI this coming Monday, with a view to achieving full fitness in time for the first Ashes clash at Brisbane on November 25th. Already though, there are those talking of the feasibility of a woefully out of form Marcus North being dropped; whether Australia would ever decide to play an additional keeper as specialist batsman, who knows. I have been singing the praises of Tim Paine for a while now, as I believe he is Haddin’s natural successor, with bat and gloves.

After an initial period furiously debating each man’s respective value to the Australian team, it seems we all have a collective hard-on for Tim Paine now. And this pleases me.