The most celebrated Test match of the calendar year got underway at the colossal Melbourne Cricket Ground on Wednesday, 26 December. Courtesy their victory at Perth, Australia had neutralised India’s early initiative. With the series level at 1-1, both teams had everything to play for at the MCG.
India won the toss and chose to bat, hence giving their rookie pair of Vihari and Agarwal first use of the wicket. While the former looked circumspect and eventually perished with the score reading 40, the latter went on to notch a fifty on debut.
After Agarwal’s dismissal on the stroke of tea, Australia sniffed an opportunity as they hadn’t let the Indian batsmen run away with the game. However, they were unable to prize out the reliable duo of Pujara and Kohli
The Indians ended the day on 215-2. While the visitors didn’t really allow too many sniffs to the Aussie bowlers, they weren’t able to score freely as well. Thus, the game is tantalisingly poised heading into the second day.
Through this article, we would look at three things that we learnt from the action on Day 1 and what implications it might have moving forward.
#3 Cummins proves his worth again
India started off the day confidently with their openers keeping Starc and Hazlewood at bay for the first hour. The pitch looked unthreatening with only the odd ball causing the batsmen problems. Yet, when Cummins entered the fray, it was a different ball game altogether.
Cummins was introduced into the attack and he immediately extracted pace and bounce of a seemingly dull pitch. He hit Vihari with a bouncer and the batsman never looked comfortable after the blow.
The pressure exerted by Cummins eventually led to Vihari getting into an awkward mess in the 19th over. The right-hander seemingly lost sight of a back of a length delivery and nervously hanged his bat to protect himself. The ball took the glove and landed safely in Finch’s palm.
Later in the day, with the game under India’s grasp, he got the better of Agarwal to hand Australia a possible lifeline.
The pitch was unresponsive for the majority of the day. Yet, whenever Cummins came on to bowl, he got some purchase out if it. Australia had to toil long and hard and wickets were hard to come by. However, Cummins underlined his credentials by popping up with the only wickets of the day.
On a day when Starc and Hazlewood failed to make an impact, Cummins yet again proved his worth.