India came into the Boxing Day Test after suffering unprecedented annihilation at the hands of Aussies being bundled out for their lowest ever Test score of 36. Additionally they lacked the services of their regular captain Virat Kohli and the premier fast bowler Mohammad Shami. The stand in captain Ajinkya Rahane lost the toss on a supposedly batting track and was asked to bowl first by Paine. However all these factors did not deter the Indian bowling attack from getting the best of Australian batsmen on the first day of the Test. Australia lost their openers early and their best batsman Smith for a duck. An 86-run partnership between Head and Labuschange provided some respite but after their wickets, there were no major contributions. Lead by Bumrah and Ashwin, India got the Aussies all out for just 195 on board in the first innings.
Early wickets for India
Australian captain Tim Paine won the toss and elected to bat first as his team remained unchanged from last test win. India had four substitutions. Shubman Gill and Mohammad Siraj were handed their first Test cap while Pant and Jadeja came back into the team. Apart from the forced change of Kohli and Shami, Saha and Shaw were the other two to miss the spot.
India began well as the pitch had some moisture that assisted the pacers with seam and swing while the spinners got the bounce and occasional spin. Bumrah was right away amongst the wickets as he got Joe Burns caught behind for a duck. Bumrah and Umesh had the Australian batsmen in a spot of bother a few times with their seam. However it was the early introduction of Ashwin into the attack that brought the next two wickets. First Wade miscued a loft after coming down the track to be caught by Jadeja at mid on who did well to latch on to the catch avoiding the collision with Gill. Next was the big wicket of Steve Smith who was caught at leg gully by Pujara. The fall of three wickets gave India a massive advantage going into the lunch break.
Head and Labuschagne came together to arrest the fall of wickets and built a good parnership. They utilized every opportunity to score runs however being watchful at the same time. Their 86-runs stand was broken by Bumrah when he got Head caught at gully by Rahane. Head scored 38 off 92 with four boundaries. Labuschagne followed him soon. He fell two runs short of his half century as the debutants Siraj and Gill combined to dismiss him. Siraj was flicked straight to Gill at short fine.
Australia all out for 195
Siraj struck again as he got Green(12) plumb in front of the wickets. Captain Paine’s stay was cut short by Ashwin as he got him caught at backward short leg for 13. Bumrah took the next two as he bounced out Starc and trapped Lyon lbw. Cummins hoick off Jadeja was caught at long on by Siraj to end the Australian first innings at 195. Bumrah finished with 4/56 while Ashwin’s figures read 3/35.
India lose Mayank early
India got off to another poor start as Mayank was trapped in front of the wickets by the Starc in swinger to reduce to one for none. The next two overs were maiden to as Gill and Pujara played and missed a few gems from Starc and Cummins. The first runs for India came from Gill’s bat as he drove Cummins past mid off for four. That must be the toughest run he wold have scored in his first class career. Gill got a reprieve too as Labuschagne dropped him at third slip off Cummins. A few shots, however, settled his nerves as he drove, cut and pulled the bowlers for boundaries. India ended the day at 36/1 with Gill(28*) and Pujara(7*) at either ends. India will look on to play sensibly and aim for first innings lead while the Aussies will hope for some assistance from pitch early morning and restrict India to a low total.