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Five bizarre things you forgot happened in the 2016/17 Border-Gavaskar Trophy

Five Bizarre Things You Forgot Happened In The 2016/17 Border-Gavaskar Trophy
by Patrick Ardill 4 minute read

The 2016-17 Border-Gavaskar Trophy was not your normal Test match series. Far from it.

The cricket itself was excellent. India received a shock out of the gate when Australia, having not won a Test against India since 2012, won the first Test by 333 runs courtesy of 12 Steve O’Keefe wickets.

That game set up three more Test matches filled with drama and mayhem which could feasibly be likened to a cricketing soap opera. Here are five of the weirdest things that happened during that iconic series, in which India trumped Australia 2-1.


Nature calls for Matt Renshaw

“At that point, I was thinking I should start a petition where there’s a portaloo at the edge of every field”.

A 20-years-old, Matt Renshaw was given the nod to join David Warner at the top of the Australia order for the first Test in Pune. He made an assured start in the first innings, reaching 36* against the likes of Ishant Sharma and Umesh Yadav, when the unthinkable happened – the irreversible need for the bathroom. After Warner was dismissed, Renshaw’s 36* became 36 retired hurt as he zoomed past Warner on his way back to the dressing room and past incoming batter Steve Smith back to the dressing room. Recounted to Wisden Cricket Weekly podcast, things went from bad to worse for Renshaw as he slipped on the floor tiles. He eventually returned to the middle after Peter Handscomb was dismissed, going on to score 68 before he was dismissed by R Ashwin.

Aussie legend Allan Border didn’t see the funny side of the incident and hoped that Renshaw was “lying on the table half dead”, to justify his retirement.

An indecisive Chris Gaffaney scratches an itch

Such an eventful test series wasn’t just getting to the players. Long, gruelling innings have become synonymous with Cheteshwar Pujara, especially against Australia, and his 202 of 525 balls in Ranchi was a particularly long stay. The most deliveries faced by an Indian batter in a Test innings, in fact.

On day four, a Josh Hazlewood bouncer was fired towards Pujara’s cranium, and an unsuccessful hook shot flashed nowhere near the leather. Umpire Chris Gaffaney began to raise his finger to give Pujara out, but upon realising neither Matthew Wade nor any of his teammates were appealing, proceeded to scratch the crown of his ICC wide-brim. Oops.

Wriddhiman Saha wrestles Steve Smith

The more tedious affair in Ranchi was not completely devoid of life and threw up some flashes of genuine cricketing entertainment, and one of the more audacious methods of attaining an in-form Smith’s wicket. With Smith approaching his century towards the end of day one, a Ravindra Jadeja delivery lodged itself between his thigh guard and pad, prompting wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha to wrestle Smith to the ground. After snatching the ball from its position, Saha appealed out of sheer desperation. Having none of it, umpire Ian Gould roared with laughter at the optimistic appeal – the India fielders also cracking up.

Don’t quit the day job, Wriddhiman.

Ashwin and Jadeja mock Smith – Maxwell mocks Kohli – Kohli mocks Maxwell

Smith is one of the most ‘mockable’ players on a cricket field, for want of a better word – his quirks and quiddities are what define his playing style and very essence of being. Those idiosyncrasies were preyed upon by the India players. Smith’s batting mannerisms grew in eccentricity during his third-innings century in Pune, encouraging Jadeja to mock his jittery shoulder movements. On the second day of the Bangalore test, Ishant was pictured making ridiculous, Kubrick-esque facial contortions in the direction of Smith, drawing a wry chuckle from Virat Kohli in the slip cordon.

On the fourth day of the Ranchi Test, Glenn Maxwell clutched his shoulder after making a boundary stop, mocking Virat Kohli who appeared to have injured himself doing the same thing a couple of days earlier. Kohli would have the last laugh on day five, smacking that same shoulder in celebration upon the dismissal of Warner.

Smith’s ‘brain fade’

The India team were opposed to the Decision Review System at its inception in 2008, but – after trials against England and Bangladesh – DRS was finally ready to make its Border-Gavaskar Trophy bow in 2017. However, this only served to (counterintuitively) cause more controversy, as Smith found himself at the centre of DRS-related controversy.

Struck on the pad in the second Test in Bengaluru, Smith questioned whether he should take the review by way of a querying glance to the dressing room. He described the moment as a “brain fade”. A furious Virat Kohli wasn’t having it and said: “If something is going on for three days, that’s not a brain fade. There is a line you don’t cross on the cricket field.”

Ashwin jabs at Starc

Seemingly never too far away from an altercation, R Ashwin made sure to poke fun at Mitchell Starc after claiming his wicket in Bengaluru. In the previous innings, Starc had threateningly gesticulated to his forehead after bouncing out Abhinav Mukund. Naturally, Ashwin would defend his teammate by aggressively jabbing at his own forehead after bowling Starc on the final afternoon of the match.

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