Second Test Match – Australia v India
26th December @ MCG Melbourne
Australia leads four match series 1-0
As with tradition the Boxing Day Test Match takes place in Melbourne between Australia and India with the Australians leading the series 1-0 after a dramatic day night opening test in Adelaide where India capitulated from a strong position at the start of day three to being bowled out for 36 in their second innings to set up the Australian victory.
In 2019 the Melbourne Cricket Ground broke the record for a single day’s attendance for a non – Ashes test match when over 80k people watched the on Boxing Day for the opening day between Australia and New Zealand.
COVID permitting, England’s Ashes tour of 2021/22 next year the ground should be again near capacity although the Second Test starting next week within these restricting times 25k will be the protocol for the opening day.
Although India started this tour to Australia being successful in both the limited over formats the Test Series started with a crushing demise.
After losing both openers cheaply on the first day India put themselves into a very strong position with partnerships between Pujara and Kohli and then the skipper continued to flourish as he and Rahane got India to 188 for 3 and a score of 400 looked a strong possibility.
Disaster then struck as Rahane miscommunicated with Kohli and the skipper was run out for 74 which sparked an inevitable collapse under the Adelaide lights with the pink ball and the visitors where dismissed for 244 early the next day.
Given the fact the Nathan Lyon had got early purchase on the first day and there was definite variance in bounce for the seamers many good judges thought that such a total could be more than competitive especially as Shami and Bumrah were both more than capable of causing the home side havoc with those conditions.
This proved more than accurate as the Australian top order minus David Warner and without a significant contribution from their Champion batsman Steve Smith capitulated to 111 for 7 with spinner Ravi Ashwin being the main tormentor.
Not until Aussie skipper Tim Paine shepherded the home sides tail end with a superb man of the match score of 73 not out did the Australian side still feel they had a chance when finally posting 191 which was a 53-run deficit.
The Indian second innings had a tricky final session to contend with under lights at the end of two but even though Pat Cummins bowled the desperately out of form Prithvi Shaw and India closed at 9 for 1 overnight no one could predict the following day’s events.
On day three India were bowled out for 36 with no batsman recording double figures and seamers Cummins and Hazlewood taking all the wickets between them with the former reaching 150 career test matches in record time of only 31 tests. Australia then completed the victory by knocking off the required 90 runs for the loss of two wickets.
India now must lick their wounds quickly after the record test low score without captain Virat Kohli who is returning home to be with his wife for the birth of their first child. Frontline bowler Mohammed Shami has fractured his arm and will also not be available for selection for the remainder of the series.
Ajinkya Rahane will skipper the visiting side in Kohli’s absence who make two additional changes on top of the two enforced as opener Prithvi Shaw and wicketkeeper Saha are dropped for Shubman Gill and Rishabh Pant.
The revised Indian batting also looks more attacking in style with KL Rahul also lining up to bat either three or four and debutant Siraj replacing Shami in the seam bowling department.
Without Kohli Indian test match specialist Cheteshwar Pujara will be expected to anchor the innings and hopefully avoid any resemblance of the Adelaide collapse.
Australia might have David Warner back for selection so presumably either Matthew Wade or Joe Burns will be omitted in a team which will otherwise see minimal change.
South Africa start a two match test series against perennial poor travelers Sri Lanka also on Boxing Day at SuperSport Park Centurion.
Australia to beat India 2-5 Second Test Match
South Africa to beat Sri Lanka 4-11 First Test Match
Double pays 9/10 – 2 pts bet
Top Indian 1st Innings Batsman
Cheteshwar Pujara 9/4 2 pts bet