AUS vs IND Report, Day 1, Test 2: The Indian bowlers were on the mark yet again as they captured a huge advantage at the end of the Boxing Day Test against Australia at the MCG. After being sent in to field first, the Indians would have been pleased at the end of the first session, when the hosts had been reduced to 65 for 3. The masterstroke by stand-in skipper Ajinkya Rahane was the introduction of Ravi Ashwin after just ten overs of play even though the wicket had plenty of purchase on offer for the faster bowlers. The spinner changed the complexion of the game in no time, as his first three overs got India the wickets of Matthew Wade and dangerous Steven Smith, who was out for a duck. By the end of the day, the Australians had been all out for 195, with India batting on 36 for 1.
The last session belonged to the Indian team on Day 1 as they picked up 6 wickets to ensure that the tail – the team’s nemesis over the years – did not come to haunt them this time around. Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammad Siraj, who made his debut, were the wreckers in chief as they troubled the rival batters with their line and lengths to dismiss Australia for less than 200 for the second time in two Tests.
The home team were only in control for an hour after lunch, when Travis Head along with Marnus Labuschagne piled on 86 runs. The duo of Siraj and Umesh leaked runs aplenty as the batting duo tried to steady the ship together. The home team crossed the 100-run mark at a good pace with the Indian bowlers failing to extract movement and turn from the wicket. But once Siraj, who had started off ordinarily but corrected his lines perfectly after lunch, got the wicket of Labuschagne for 48 as he tried to nudge the ball down leg only to be caught, the Australians just wilted under pressure. Nathan Lyon and Mitchell Starc tried to score quick runs, but they hardly had a chance against Bumrah, who took over as the leader of the attack with ease in the absence of injured Mohammad Shami.they would have been disappointed by the showing by Umesh Yadav, though, who gave away plenty of boundary balls and did not focus on bowling the wicket-taking lengths.
Though Wade, Head and Labuschagne got starts, no player in the team could get to 50, as the Indians set aside their disappointment from the game at Adelaide aside, where they had been shot out for 36, with a clinical bowling display.
Team India had 11 overs to bat before the end of the day, and they had to make do with some fiery bowling from the three pacers Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood. The only casualty for India was Mayank Agarwal, who was trapped in front by a beauty from Starc. Debutant Shubman Gill survived some scary moments, including a drop by Labuschagne off the bowling of Pat Cummins, but there was no stopping the youngster once he got his first runs off a boundary. He was unbeaten on 28 at the end of the day, with the help of five boundaries, with Cheteshwar Pujara for company.
AUS vs IND Report and brief scores: Australia 195 (Matthew Wade 30, Travis Head 38, Marnus Labuschagne 48; Jasprit Bumrah 4-56, R Ashwin 3-35) lead India 36/1 (Shubman Gill 28*; Mitchell Starc 1-14) by 159 runs.