Well begun is half done, they say. And from the looks of it, the Indian team has done quite a bit of good in the first day of the Boxing Day Test at Melbourne. Put in to bat after losing the toss, the Ajinkya Rahane-led team performed well to get some major advantage on the opening day itself.
The Indian bowling, led from the front by Jasprit Bumrah (4/56), skittled out Australia for 195. Boom-Boom opened the floodgates early on in the day by sending Joe Burns back to the hut at naught. Following him, the likes of Ravichandran Ashwin (3/35) and debutant Mohammed Siraj (2/40) also stepped up. Marnus Labuschagne (48) and Travis Head (38) offered some resistance, but it wasn’t enough for the Aussies to register a par first-innings score.
Aside from Marnus and Head, opener Matthew Wade also looked in good touch as he accumulated 30-runs from 39-balls. The southpaw opener looked in good touch and was taking on the attack against Ravi Ashwin. But in the end, it was Ash who had the last laugh; thanks to some excellent tag-team work from himself and Rishabh Pant behind the stumps.
Ashwin and Pant’s tag-team effort to dismiss Wade
Ashwin, bowling the 13th over of the innings, was giving too much flight to the ball. The approach seemed somewhat counter-productive, as Wade had found a way to collect boundaries by sweeping him down the leg-side.
That’s when Pant, the newly reinstated gloveman, chose to quip some of his own insights on the situation. During the time of the boundary break, Pant insisted the senior India offie to keep his line targetted around Wade’s stumps, as it would get him to play a false swipe. “Andar hi rakhna, ye maarega,” the on-field stump mics caught Pant opining.
Sure enough; the next ball, Ashwin bowled a flighted delivery right around Wade’s body. An on-song Wade tried to smoke the ball for a six but couldn’t get much timing on the ball. The ball flew off in the mid-wicket region, where Shubman Gill and Ravindra Jadeja both attempted to collect the catch. It was a close call, and the duo nearly ended up colliding and missing the chance. But ultimately, Sir Jaddu held on to the ball and took a stunning running-catch to dismiss Wade.
— Cricket fan (@Cricketfan093) December 26, 2020
Australia’s short-lasting batting innings allowed the Indian openers to get to their business on the opening day itself. Mayank Agarwal gifted his wicket early for a duck, but debutant Shubman Gill looked in fine touch. He is currently batting on 28, alongside vice-captain Cheteshwar Pujara.
Brief scores: India 36/1 (S Gill 28, M Starc 1/14) trail Australia 195/10 (M Labuschagne 48, J Bumrah 4/56) by 159-runs.