When Sean Abbott bowled his first spell at the Manuka Oval on Wednesday afternoon, he broke India’s opening stand after five balls. Three overs, 14 runs 1.
When Abbott cast his last spell in India’s innings, Hardik Pandya and Ravindra Jadeja went to town. Three overs, 49 not out.
The two ends of that innings seemed to be separated by a very long distance.
When Abbott played his first ODI for Australia, it was in October 2014 in the city of Emeritus in Sharjah.
When he played his second ODI, it was in Canberra on Wednesday this week in the last month of the long 2020.
Those two parts of that career seem a long way off.
In the middle six years, he made some white ball teams, watched from the bench, got injured in bad times and played three Twenty20 matches for Australia.
He made consistent starts in domestic cricket in both the Sheffield Shield and the Big Bash.
This season, with 14 wickets and a crucial century in the three-match Shield series, Abbott made his Test debut and scored another run in the white ball team.
Coincidentally, when Australia’s ODI series against India began last Friday, it was the sixth anniversary of the day when Phillip Hughes was injured while batting in a shield game at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
Abbott was a bowler for South Wales that day and this time of year was always difficult for him.
Getting ready for an Australian series this year could be an equally welcome break or a strong reminder.
He could never play in the first ODI, Australia’s top three fast bowlers were available, but if they were not, the team management would have thought twice about selecting him.
Coming out playing at 4:08 pm on the same SCG, the time of day when the crowd honored him with his 408 Test cap number, was a big question.
Instead, Abbott got his chance a few days later.
Flexibility is what he had to find in himself.
He returned to play shortly after the accident, and described the moments where his enthusiasm had waned, focusing mainly on his work of playing and improving.
Last season he helped the South Wales win the Shield and the Sydney Sixers win the Big Bash.
This season, his performance helped his state to a draw with a strong team from Western Australia, before he was an unbeaten batsman in the race for a one-wicket win over Queensland. , Before that he made a great comeback in defeating Tasmania. On the first day, he was bowled out for 64 runs.
After many years and being there, described as a player or potential player for the future, Abbott was stating that the future was now, and the national selectors bowed to listen.
So he came back here in the 50 overs format in Australian green and gold, ending that long wait.
India’s Shikhar Dhawan is a vastly experienced opener, a fast-paced attacker who has scored 17 hundreds in ODIs.
He likes to walk on bowlers and slap the ball offside. When he tried, Abbott focused on the bounce so he could separate the catch to catch it.
Abbott erupted. But he must understand the ups and downs of the game
After his success, Abbott came back for three small hits in the middle of an innings of one or two overs, and returned clear figures. It was right at the end of the innings when the wheels started coming.
Pandya is going to show tremendous strength, doing things like retreating to play a cut shot on a six-part cover.
Jadeja’s strength is the speed of his feet, and he used it to move around his crease and build his line.
Assessing that Abbott’s boundaries were insecure behind scores on both sides of the wicket, and thus the line would be very wide, Jadeja found ways to divert those deliveries to the ropes.
Abbott blossomed in the heat of the moment.
He slipped in some full toss, and he often went to his little ball, which was punished by Jadeja.
What was seven overs, he became 1 for 84 in 10 overs at a score of 37.
Late in the night, Abbott came in with the bat as Australia’s 303-run target slipped. They needed 35 runs in five overs with three wickets in hand.
He had a chance to steal the match back for Australia, but hooked a shot and was dismissed for four. There was no romantic ending.
And over the years, he has come to understand better than most of the ups and downs of the game.
Abbott has worked even harder. To go back here, to be in a position to come back here. The long summer of state cricket, Big Bash cricket late at night, wicket after wicket, match after match.
He worked harder than many bad overs on a December afternoon. The next moment will come soon, and the next moment. This is how it works.