India 36/1 after 11 overs: Gill and Pujara have survived to the end of the day and prevented the Aussies bowlers from making too many in-roads. A testing few overs to begin the innings and something similar awaits them tomorrow morning as well.
India 35/1 after 10 overs: Lyon into the attack and India take six runs off the over. A lovely drive through mid-off for four by Gill among those runs.
India 28/1 after 9 overs: Hazlewood into the attack and he starts off with a maiden over.
India 28/1 after 8 overs: Gill growing in confidence. The ball doing a little less now. But can’t take it easy.
India 23/1 after 7 overs: A couple of fours for Gill in the over. The first one was a half-pull, got the placement right and the other was down to fine leg. The right-hander has moved to 19.
India 15/1 after 6 overs: A four down the ground for Pujara. A bit too full from Cummins and Pujara waited for it before timing it down the ground. No risk there.
India 11/1 after 5 overs: There is a lot happening. The bowlers are still keeping it tight and bowling a brilliant line. Gill (11) is into double digits.
India 4/1 after 4 overs: DROPPED! Gill gets a life. Harsha Bhogle in the comms calls it, ‘Beginner’s luck’. Labuschagne at third slip fails to hold on. Cummins the bowler. Gill tried to play it to the on-side, caught the edge and flew towards the slips. Phew.
India 0/1 after 3 overs: Where will India’s first run come from? Australia’s bowlers have made a superb start, they have given nothing away.
India 0/1 after 2 overs: Ball zipping through, Agarwal gone. This is a baptism by fire for Gill. Good over from Cummins.
India 0/1 after 1 over: WICKET! Another wicket in the first over for India. Starc strikes to send back Agarwal. He got it to swing back into the right-hander and the bat was jammed behind the pads. Not the start India would have been looking for. Here we go! Agarwal lbw b Starc 0(6)
India openers Mayank Agarwal and Shubman Gill are out in the middle. Mitchell Starc to start the proceedings for Australia.
Australia 195 all out after 72.3 overs: Outstanding effort by India’s bowlers. Umesh wasn’t at his best but he still kept it together as much as he could. But one has to appreciate how India’s bowlers are setting up batsman. Ashwin, Bumrah, Siraj. Classy stuff!
Australia 195 all out after 72.3 overs: Australia all out for 195. Australia won the toss and chose to bat first but India’s bowlers were superb. A stunning effort! Great plans and even better execution.
Australia 191/9 after 71.5 overs: 6,4, WICKET!! Lyon was taking on Bumrah. but the Indian pacer has the last laugh. Review showed umpire’s call. Two short balls were taken on and then Bumrah pitched it up. That did the trick. Lyon lbw b Bumrah 20(17)
Australia 177/8 after 70 overs: India won’t want this Australian tail to wag today. Rahane has been brilliant, the bowlers have been brilliant but they need to wrap it up.
Australia 164/8 after 67.1 overs: WICKET! Bumrah’s bouncer does the trick. Starc walking back. Caught at fine leg. Nice and quick, forced the batsman to react. Starc c Siraj b Bumrah 7(8)
Australia 164/7 after 66 overs: Starc and Cummins in the middle now. Expect Starc to throw his bat around. This is usually when India struggle a bit – against the tail. Important to wrap up the tail quickly today.
Australia 155/7 after 63 overs: WICKET!!! Ashwin gets Paine. Leg-slip being called into play. This plan is working! Paine c Hanuma Vihari b Ashwin 13(38)
Australia 155/6 after 61.4 overs: WICKET!!! Siraj strikes to send back Green. Trapped LBW. The review didn’t help. India are into the tail now. Great bowling by the debutante. Green lbw b Siraj 12(60)
Australia 153/5 after 61 overs: Paine (32 balls) and Green (57) have spent some time in the middle now. But the ball is now 61 overs old... any reverse swing on offer? Nothing on view so far.
Australia 145/5 after 59 overs: Ashwin continues along his merry way. He has been immense for India. Lovely drift and an exhibition of high class spin bowling. 19-4-29-2 so far. He is allowing Rahane to control the flow of the game and giving the quicker bowlers some rest too.
Australia 143/5 after 55 overs: SOOO CLOSEEE!!! By the skin of his teeth, Paine survives. The bat was just over the line. It looked out from the other angle. They called for a quick single and it almost backfired. India will feel a little hard done by the decision. Could have easily gone either way.
On the Paine run out call, the third umpire said: “There’s no conclusive evidence to show the bat is on the wrong side of the line, so the bat looks like it could have a bit over the line. My decision is not out.”
Australia 141/5 after 54 overs: India started with Ashwin from one end and Siraj from the other. Many might have expected Bumrah to take the ball at least for a few overs.
We are back for the final session on Day 1. Can India wrap up the tail in good time?
Australia 136/5 after 52 overs: And that is tea. Good session for India again. 25 overs, 71 runs, 2 wickets, RR 2.84. It looked like Australia would take the session after the first hour with Labuschagne and Head looking good but India came back well in the second half.
Australia 134/5 after 49.3 overs: WICKET! Siraj has his first Test wicket. Gill at leg gully takes a good catch to send back Labuschagne just 2 runs short of his 50. Big, big wicket! The trap was sprung and it worked. Labuschagne c Shubman Gill b Siraj 48(132)
Australia 127/4 after 45 overs: Umesh starting to find a slightly better rhythm. Maybe having two right-handers in the middle is helping him. He seemed to struggle with the right-left combination and frequent line changes it required.
Australia 127/4 after 44 overs: Another probing over from Bumrah as we get the loudest “NO RUNNN!!!” of the morning so far from Marnus Labuschagne. Indeed, there was no run there, as he rightly pointed out.
PARTNERSHIP BROKEN: WICKET! ! Jasprit Bumrah removes Travis Head as Ajinkya Rahane takes a sharp catch at gully. Not much of a celebration from Bumrah, just a smile as always. Two no balls in the over called and then Travis Head edges one off Bumrah to Rahane at gully. Pretty sure if those no balls were not called (as we have seen in Test cricket in the past), the wicket delivery would have been one. 124/4 after 42 overs.
Australia 122/3 after 41 overs: Umesh is struggling a bit here. 10-1-38-0 so far. A bit too loose and not able to put any pressure on the batsmen.
Australia 117/3 after 40 overs: Lovely four by Head off Bumrah, who has been brought back into the attack, to end the over. The first hour after lunch is through and it has been all Australia. Shane Warne, in the commentary box, recommends quick sharp bowling changes by Rahane.
Australia 107/3 after 39 overs: Steady stuff by India but they need to be careful here. Move back to line and length, keep things tight... don’t let Australia find a run-scoring rhythm.
Australia 104/3 after 38 overs: Fine recovery from 38/3. The first 50 runs took 136 balls, the second fifty runs took 88 balls. The pitch seems to be flattening out.
Australia 97/3 after 37 overs: Umesh also working up some good pace but India’s bowlers are not looking as threatening anymore. What will Rahane do now?
Australia 90/3 after 35.2 overs: Labuschagne gets hit on the helmet by a good bouncer from Siraj. The batsman looks okay, was just beaten for pace. Short break in play as the physio comes out, checks the batsman and the helmet.
Australia 90/3 after 35 overs: The Labuschagne-Head stand is now worth 52. Vital runs given how Australia were struggling at 38/3. Another wicket there would have really got India’s spirits up. Umesh Yadav back into the attack now, replacing Ashwin.
Australia 88/3 after 34 overs: 9 runs from the Siraj over including four runs that the batsmen ran through on the last ball. The pressure seems to be off a little after lunch or maybe just the pitch playing better.
Australia 79/3 after 33 overs: Four byes for Australia in the Ashwin over as the off-spinner got his line wrong and fired one down the leg-side. Head doesn’t seem to be reading Ashwin’s overspinner from the hand, trying to do it off the pitch.
Australia 74/3 after 32 overs: Siraj working up a good head of pace and Rahane is giving him a decent run to try and find his feet at the Test level.
Australia 72/3 after 31 overs: Australia will want to get through the early phase of the second session. The early moisture will be sucked out by the sun and the pitch with get better for batting.
Australia 69/3 after 30 overs: Siraj’s second over comes and goes – two runs off it. Australia not looking too worried about him. How much longer before Rahane goes back to Bumrah or Jadeja from this end?
Australia 67/3 after 29 overs: Ashwin starts off from the other end with a maiden over.
Australia 67/3 after 28 overs: Steady start by Siraj but Australia’s batsmen clearly look more comfortable against pace than spin.
We are back for the second session and Siraj has the ball in hand. Finally.
Australia 65/3 after 27 overs: And that is lunch. A session dominated by India. They have sent back three Australian batsmen in the first session and that will please Rahane no end.
28 overs, 65 runs, 3 wickets, RR 2.41
Australia 65/3 after 26.4 overs: Successful review! Labuschagne was given out but the review showed that the ball would have bounced over the wickets. Ashwin denied but he was so close to getting his third wicket of the morning session.
Australia 54/3 after 25 overs: A maiden over for Ashwin, whose bowling figures read 8-1-16-2. He is giving nothing away.
Australia 54/3 after 24 overs: Steady stuff by Jadeja. He hasn’t quite hit his straps yet though.
Australia 48/3 after 22 overs: Ashwin and Jadeja running through the overs and helping India maintain a very good over-rate too. Jadeja getting a few to fizz past the bat too.
Australia 43/3 after 20 overs: Spin from both ends on Day 1 of the Boxing Day Test. Who would’ve thought? But the ball is turning and bouncing. Ashwin’s success has seen Rahane now go to Jadeja too. Siraj yet to get a crack at the Aussie batsmen.
Australia 40/3 after 18 overs: Rahane’s move to get Ashwin into the attack early has paid off already. Smart, proactive captaincy by someone who is known to be a bowler’s captain. And backed up by superb bowling by Ashwin. He’s also got Bumrah operating from the other end. He wants another wicket here and he’s pushing for it.
REVIEW LOST: That looked close! Reiffel moved his hands but not to give out but India think Bumrah has Labuschagne trapped in front. Wickets missing though. Seriously good bowling though, not the worst of reviews either. Australia 39/3 after 16.
The moment many Indian fans might be waking up to!
WICKET!! WHAT A MOMENT! In Adelaide, Ashwin gets Smith for 1. In Melbourne, Ashwin gets Smith for 0. Sensational from the Indian spinner. After one turned and bounced sharply, Ashwin turns one to Pujara at leg slip. A Smith duck at MCG, folks. A ground where he averaged 113 before today.
Australia 35/2 after 14 overs: Solid over from Bumrah to Smith.
Bumrah back into the attack with Australia’s best batsmen in the middle.
WICKET! AUSTRALIA LOSE WADE! Tossed up and Wade went for a big shot, completely mistimed that. Bowled Ashwin, caught Ravindra Jadeja. Shubman Gill did not hear the call it seemed like but Jadeja managed to hold on. India’s spinners have combined nice and early at MCG. Aus 35/2 and drinks will be taken.
Australia 30/1 after 12 overs: Umesh continues from the other end but that might be his last of the spell. Another three for Australia.
Australia 26/1 after 11 overs; A lovely first over from Ashwin but more to the RHB than LHB.
Well, well. Ashwin on to bowl the 11th over as first-change.
Australia 25/1 after 10 overs: Another good over from Umesh. The over ends with a leave by Labuschagne that thuds into his pads. No review, too high perhaps.
Umesh has found his rhythm now, however the first couple of overs were wasted.
Australia 20/1 after 8 overs: Not for the first time today, Umesh has tempted Wade into playing a big drive and that team he has been beaten. Brings one back later in the over. That’s much better from Umesh.
Australia 20/1 after 7 overs: A close call for Wade as Bumrah goes around the wicket. The left-hander helps himself to another three in that over.
Correction: Australia 17/1 after 6 overs: Umesh is not getting radar right at all. A bit all over the place at the moment. A boundary for Wade, and then straying on to ML’s pads.
Australia 10/1 after 5 overs: Umesh is not getting radar right at all. A bit all over the place at the moment. A boundary for Wade, and then straying on to ML’s pads.
Australia 10/1 after 5 overs: And beats Labuschagne with almost the exact same delivery! It’s just the vagaries of Test cricket. Burns played forward and edged one, Labuschagne was at the crease and was beaten.
AUSTRALIA 10/1: WICKET!!! Jasprit Bumrah strikes! Joe Burns is gone. Bumrah deserved an early wicket for the rhythm he started off with. Slightly fuller, shaped away perhaps and takes the outside edge. The angle really did the trick there. Top stuff. His 10th wicket at MCG.
Australia 10/0 after 4 overs: CHANCE! Oh so close for India. An absolute peach by Umesh squares up Wade, but the outside edge falls short of a diving Gill at second slip. And in typical Umesh style, that peach is followed by a gift of a wide half volley for four.
Australia 4/0 after 3 overs: Bumrah with a much more probing over again, bringing one back to Wade to start with. A couple of awkward leaves too. Finishes with a good outswinger to Burns.
Australia 3/0 after 2 overs: After a few comfortable leaves with the angle, Wade gets Australia going with possibly the first of many threes. Driven confidently. Umesh did not get his line right in that over.
Umesh Yadav from the other end...
Australia 0/0 after 1 over: Bumrah starts off with a wide one but gets progressively fuller (and closer to the channel outside off) as the over went on. Burns threw his bat at the last one and missed it.
Jasprit Bumrah with the ball in hand... here. we. go!
05.01 am: National anthems done (a bit longer than 52 seconds, that Indian rendition). We are all set.
India’s Test record at MCG
|Australia||233 runs||1 Jan 1948|
|Australia||inns & 177 runs||6 Feb 1948|
|Australia||inns & 4 runs||30 Dec 1967|
|India||222 runs||30 Dec 1977|
|India||59 runs||7 Feb 1981|
|Draw||-||26 Dec 1985|
|Australia||8 wickets||26 Dec 1991|
|Australia||180 runs||26 Dec 1999|
|Australia||9 wickets||26 Dec 2003|
|Australia||337 runs||26 Dec 2007|
|Australia||122 runs||26 Dec 2011|
|Draw||-||26 Dec 2014|
|India||137 runs||26 Dec 2018|
Test cap No 297: Shubman Gill
Test cap No 298: Mohammed Siraj
Ashish Magotra: 4:30 in the morning. Toss done. The anticipation of the first hour. The magnificent sight that is the G. This is the true cricket in Australia feeling that we all grew up with. Day/night Tests don’t cut it yet.
Team news: Of course, Australia are unchanged. And for India, changes aplenty.
Australia’s XI: Tim Paine (captain and wk), Joe Burns, Matthew Wade, Marnus Labuschagne, Steve Smith, Travis Head, Cameron Green, Pat Cummins, Josh Jazlewood, Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon.
India’s XI: Ajinkya Rahane (captain), Mayank Agarwal, Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara (vice captain), Hanuma Vihari, Rishabh Pant (wicketkeeper), Ravindra Jadeja, Ashwin Ravichandran, Umesh Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj.
TOSS UPDATE: A good toss to win for Australia, one thinks. Tim Paine opts to bat first.
4.25 am: Remember, there has not been any cricket played so far this summer at MCG, so there could be freshness on this pitch. But usually, this is a bat-first venue. An interesting toss coming up.
4.20 am: Among all Test venues in Australia, India have won the most matches at MCG.
India's record at Australian venues
|Melbourne Cricket Ground||13||3||8||0||2||0.375|
|Sydney Cricket Ground||12||1||5||0||6||0.200|
|W.A.C.A. Ground, Perth||4||1||3||0||0||0.333|
|Brisbane Cricket Ground||6||0||5||0||1||0.000|
04.10 am: Hello and good morning to all Indian fans waking up nice and early on this Saturday. The Boxing Day Test is one of those occasions no cricket fan wants to miss.
India face a daunting task, make no mistake, as they prepare to bounce back from the Adelaide debacle: a task made tougher by the absence of Ishant Sharma, Virat Kohli and Mohammed Shami.
Ajinkya Rahane, who has assumed the captaincy, said he didn’t plan to disturb Kohli as he prepares for his wife to give birth, but said they spoke at length before he left.
“Virat spoke to all of us before leaving Adelaide, about being positive, just playing to our strengths and just to play as a team, as a unit, which is what we have been doing for so many years,” he said.
“The last Test match, we had, comparatively, two good days and just one bad one where we lost it completely.
“This week was all about backing ourselves as individuals and as a team, playing to our strengths,” he added.
Australia captain Tim Paine Friday called India a proud nation that won’t roll over in the Boxing Day Test, and the hosts must be “bang on the mark” to inflict more misery after their Adelaide collapse.
Australia head into the second Test in Melbourne full of confidence after thumping the visitors by eight wickets inside three days last week, skittling them for an embarrassing 36 in the second innings.
But Paine said it would be a mistake to underestimate India despite the tourists missing superstar captain Virat Kohli, who has returned home for the birth of his first child.
They are also without pace spearhead Mohammed Shami, who has reportedly fractured his wrist.
“We can’t pay any attention to mental scares or whatever anyone is talking about,” Paine said of India, who were savaged at home for their Adelaide capitulation.
“I mean, India is a proud cricket country, they are an extremely talented Test match side with lots of dangerous players.”
(With AFP inputs)