The first day’s play between India vs Australia in the 3rd Test match, which is also the traditional Boxing Day Test, at Melbourne saw both teams fight hard to gain the upper hand.
The Indian bowlers stepped up to the mark with a rare, daylong display of accurate bowling that checked the Australians and limited them to a score of 259/5. Umesh Yadav and Mohammad Shami were the pick of the Indian bowlers, bagging 2 wickets each, while Ravichandran Ashwin kept things tight from his end and accounted for the wicket of Watson.
The Australian were held at bay even after Shane Watson, Chris Rogers and Steve Smith struck fluent half centuries for the hosts and it will be interesting to see how Day 2 shapes up for the two teams
Australia dominate after Warner duck
The Indian bowlers made an early inroad at the start of the day. Umesh Yadav managed to send an in-form David Warner, back to the pavilion, for a duck! Pinpoint accuracy from all the three Indian pacers – Shami, Ishant and Umesh Yadav – kept the Australians under considerable pressure in the first hour of play, before Shane Watson and Chris Rogers got their act together and steadily pushed the Aussie innings forward. Without resorting to any risky game-plan, the duo carved out a brilliant partnership of 115 to give Australia a reliable foundation for the 1st innings.
India fight back with quick wickets
Things changed quickly for the Indians in the post lunch session, as Shami found the edge of Rogers’ bat and Ashwin caught Watson plumb in front of the stumps, within a space of 6 balls. It was up to the effervescent Steve Smith, yet again, to keep India from dominating the match. The captain responded with a confident half century himself – a knock punctuated with 4 crisp boundaries and a towering six.
Smith keeps India in check
Shaun Marsh lent some able support to his captain and looked set for a big score, having weathered the Indian bowling for the better part of the 2nd session. The southpaw, however, wasted his start yet again, and was dismissed for a score of 32 by Mohammad Shami.
Debutant Joe Burns had a short lived innings of 13, before being caught by Dhoni off a swinging Yadav delivery. Brad Haddin, short of confidence and desperately short of runs, somehow hung on to provide assistance to Smith late in the day.
Smith’s characteristic mix of caution and aggression in this innings kept the Indian bowlers from exposing the Australian tail and even though both Ishant Sharma and Umesh Yadav bowled with purpose and stuck to an unerring line and length in the last few overs, they could not bag any more wickets.
India vs Australia – Evenly poised matchup
As things stand the match is evenly poised with a few quick wickets or one big partnership holding the potential of tilting the scales. India’s chances shall rely strongly on how quickly and efficiently they can clean the Aussie tail tomorrow, Steve Smith on the other hand would like to be at the forefront of yet another rearguard action from the home team. It is upto India to take the extra step forward if they are to salvage some pride from this Test series!