Indian bowlers, led by Jasprit Bumrah (4 for 56 in 16 overs), did a commendable job by skittling out Australia for 195 in the first innings of the second Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Saturday.
The visitors wrapped up the splendid day by ending the Day 1 at 36 for 1. It was a much improved performance by the Indians considering the fact that in their previous innings they were rolled over for mere 36 to lose the opening Test at Adelaide.
However, Indians under the new skipper Ajinkya Rahane, got off to a brilliant start in the Boxing Day Test and if the batsmen compliment the efforts of the bowlers, then India can dictate the terms to the Aussies in the next four days.
The four changes did the trick as Indians looked quite a different team at the MCG on the first day. At stumps, debutant Shubman Gill was batting on 28 in the company off Cheteshwar Pujara (7). Regular opener Mayank Agarwal was the lone Indian to wicket to fall as he failed to open the account. India trail Australia by 159 runs.
The first session of the second day will be crucial. If Indian batsmen do well on Sunday morning, they can take a big lead and put the Aussies under pressure.
Earlier, an inspired Indian bowling attack, led by the menacing Jasprit Bumrah and the crafty Ravichandran Ashwin, grounded high-flying Australia for 195, who opted to bat first.
Rahane, who is leading the side for the third time in the absence of Virat Kohli, had a great day in office as he marshalled his resources impressively with debutant paceman Mohammed Siraj (2/40 in 15 overs) repaying the faith shown in him with wickets of Marnus Labuschagne (48) and Cameron Green (12).
Veteran offie Ashwin (3/35 in 24 overs) made opposition’s best batsman Steve Smith (0) look ordinary, exploiting the turn and bounce to send back dangerous Smith.
It was business as usual for Bumrah as he provided regular breakthroughs to return with dream figures.
Skipper Tim Paine (13) couldn’t script a rescue act like Adelaide as Ashwin saw him guide one straight into the hands of Hanuma Vihari at backward square leg. All-rounder Ravindra Jadeja, who also took an excellent catch, chipped in with a wicket to justify his selection.
Australia 195 all out (Marnus Labuschagne 48, Travis Head 38; Jaspirt Bumrah 4-56, Ravichandran Ashwin 3-35, Mohammed Siraj 2-40, Ravindra Jadeja 1-15) vs India 36-1 (Shubman Gill 28 batting, Cheteshwar Pujara 7 batting).