Bowler: Mitchell Johnson
Batsman: Glenn Maxwell
Venue: Kings XI Punjab training session, M Chinnaswamy Stadium
Short, fast outside off. Even before Johnson has raised his head in follow-through Maxwell has charged out two yards and slapped the ball in front of square. Bowler and batsman do not lock eyes and get back to their marks.
Johnson remains pacy. The length is fuller. The line is outside off. Maxwell is once again out of the crease, and, as if he has visualised what was going to happen, he leans into the stroke to punch the ball powerfully towards deep point.
Maxwell has made up his mind even before Johnson has released the delivery. He springs out of his crease and lofts Johnson high over deep midwicket for a six. You don't know whether Johnson is embarrassed or angry, but he turns back swiftly and walks away. You can sense his anger.
If you are Geoffrey Boycott, you would throw Maxwell out on the streets with his kit bag for his response to the next delivery. Once again Maxwell has a plan before Johnson. Moving wide of off, Maxwell has exposed all three stumps. But Johnson fails to adapt and pitches short of length on leg stump. Maxwell attempts the scoop but fails to connect, beaten by the pace.
Standing on off stump, Maxwell has a diagonal stance with his hips facing the cover fielder.He is trying to tell the bowler something. This time Johnson goes for the stumps, but Maxwell moves quickly in line with the delivery to loft it over the bowler's head for an easy two.
Johnson has not troubled Maxwell once. The most fearsome bowler in cricket is being used as a guinea pig by Maxwell. Either Johnson has no plans or he is being stubborn as he once again pitches short on the leg stump. Maxwell quickly moves outside the line of the ball to scoop a straight six behind the wicketkeeper. Rubbish. Rubbish, Boycott would scream - not at Maxwell, but at Johnson.
You know Johnson is angry now.He follows Maxwell who has backed out a yard down the leg side. Johnson has forgotten he has to hit the stumps and instead pitches short into Maxwell's body.You can see the rage in Johnson's eyes as he stares at Maxwell, sweat pouring from his face.
Maxwell remains still at his crease. But he has distracted the bowler so much that Johnson bowls a harmless delivery down leg side. Once again both men avoid exchanging glances.Postscript: No words were spoken during this 10-minute hand-to-hand combat between the two Australians. As a spectator you are left bewildered not just by Maxwell's batting pyrotechnics, but also by his courage and creativity. In the endyou don't know what to say.
Spontaneous? Deliberate? Outrageous?Mad? Maxwell does not care what you think - just like what ball the bowler bowls.