SCG Test on high alert over COVID scare
Australian cricket is holding its breath that Sydney's Northern Beaches COVID cluster does not spiral out of control.
The third Test of the summer against India is set for Sydney from January 7 and it would be a logistic nightmare to have it rescheduled.
The cluster tripled in size to 17 on Thursday and an immediate testing blitz was launched.
While there are no immediate concerns for the Test the last thing Australia needs after months of planning for the current series is a debate over the schedule for the last month of the series.
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It was slow progress during the first half of day one of the first Test in Adelaide as robust, bare-knuckled India, who had batted solidly in every game on tour, showed a square-jawed defiance that was reminiscent of their play here two years ago when they won the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.
The debut of young all-rounder Cameron Green was a captivating moment for the crowd and the youngster's very first ball was a sign of why he is so different and potentially special.
Delivered from sky-scraping height from his 200cm frame, it rose from an awkward length to prompt the well-set Cheteshwar Pujara to take one hand off the bat.
There was no sense in his brief spell this was a young man out of his depth or feeling any sort of nerves as he pushed the speedometer to a pacy 143kph.
And bowling is his short suit.
Genuine Test all-rounders are like gold. He has the skills and the temperament.
Injury - particularly back injuries - are likely to be a far more threatening foe that any one-on-one showdown he encounters on the cricket field.
Pujara, the old-fashioned, magnificently serene batting barnacle at one stage went for 45 minutes without scoring but it was as if each minute was a mini badge of honour for he waited for his runs like a commuter waiting for the next train.
He has no airs or graces or tattoos or flashy jewellery. He just bats and bats.
This has been a challenging year for him because given that he has given white ball cricket away he has struggled for match practice after India's domestic competition was shut down.
Before an innings against Australia A his last innings was in New Zealand in March.
Recently he spoke to Indian journalists about not even having the chance to bat in the nets during the COVID crisis.
It hasn't hurt him.
Originally published as SCG Test on high alert over COVID scare