After the Mitchell Marsh injury blow to Australia, few would have placed their money on Glenn Maxwell to fill the void, let alone make a mark against India in the third Test at the JSCA International Stadium Complex, in Ranchi.
Having played his last Test match in November 2014, Maxwell (82*) didn't just perform well, but also sidelined a brilliant hundred by his captain Steven Smith (117*).
When Maxwell joined Smith, the game was still in the balance. Umesh Yadav was breathing fire with his reverse-swing and the 28-year-old Victorian's propensity for batting brainstorms was recalled by many watching.
Another Smith century. Obviously that's awesome but I may completely lose it if Maxwell gets there. Fingers, toes and eyes crossed. #INDvAUS— Melinda Farrell (@melindafarrell) March 16, 2017
Yet with Smith's counsel and a bit of self-belief, Maxwell surprised everyone by avoiding his usual rush. To the utter dismay of the Indian fans, Maxwell waited until his 56th delivery to reach the boundary - this from a man whose most significant moment for Australia had been a World Cup hundred off just 51 balls in 2015.
What followed was a certain acceleration, but nothing too outlandish from the generally explosive right-hander. Maxwell showed great resilience by supporting his skipper in the all-important 159-run partnership for the fifth wicket that propelled the visitors to 299/4 at the end of first day's play.
Great Joy watch Smith bat, 5k runs in 52 m, started as a leggie at 8, now spinning records at will, Maxwell too has played a gem #IndvsAus— Praneet Mendon (@praneetmendon) March 16, 2017
While Smith's 19th Test hundred - nine of them coming overseas - was a measure of the quality Australian captain has brought to Ranchi in a bid to unsettle India at home, Maxwell's gritty knock showcased the resolve he brought to his first Test innings in nearly three years.
Maxwell's 73no is the highest score by an Australian No.6 since Steve Smith's 100 against South Africa in Centurion in Feb, 2014 #INDvAUS— Samuel Ferris (@samuelfez) March 16, 2017
Maxwell scored 23 off his first 56 balls with no boundaries; since he has scored 50 off 64 with four fours & two sixes. #IndvAus— Freddie Wilde (@fwildecricket) March 16, 2017
Ground announcer has just said we play until Maxwell makes his hundred, is struck by lightning, or becomes a piece of Yoko Ono art.— Jarrod Kimber (@ajarrodkimber) March 16, 2017
Indian fans should blame KXIP. As soon as they appointed Maxwell captain, he is batting a lot more responsibly #IndvAus— Gaurav Kalra (@gauravkalra75) March 16, 2017
Glenn Maxwell is playing his 106th international innings today
And today is the 1st time he faced over 100 deliveries!#INDvAUS
Say whatever you like about Maxwell... he's already been more value than Marsh. Actually both Marsh bros combined. #AUSvIND— Luke Schuyler (@Luke_Schuyler82) March 16, 2017
Dont tell me, i missed Maxwell's brilliant knock??????????? @CricketAus— . (@ChubbytotheKaur) March 16, 2017
Maxwell din't play a test since 2014,his highest test score was 37and he never played 100 balls...... hats off to him.. played brillantly??— Arunodoy De (@ArunodoyDe2000) March 16, 2017
Maxwell surprisingly played a calm and responsible innings. Hope Kohli is ok to bat. Need him. #indvaus— Ánkit Damania (@punterankit) March 16, 2017
And even under pressure it was never felt like that Glenn Maxwell isn't a regular test player. Might get a hundred tomorrow. #IndvAus— WIN!! IPHONE 7 PLUS! (@giveawayxexa) March 16, 2017
cant believe we might gonna see Maxwell scoring a century....#INDvAUS— Kaptaan Kohli (@siedry_) March 16, 2017
Glenn Maxwell putting his haters back to rest ?,test career loading.....— Rohan Gaonkar (@rohan_cricket27) March 16, 2017