Melbourne: Indian bowlers, led by ace pacer Jasprit Bumrah, came out with a brilliant bowling performance on Saturday to help the team take Day One honours against Australia in the Boxing Day Test being played at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG).
Losing the toss, the Indian team, led by stand-in skipper Ajinkya Rahane, first bowled out the hosts for a paltry 195 and then ended the day at 36/1, trailing by 159 runs.
For Australia, Marnus Labuschagne was the highest scorer as he amassed 48 runs off 132 balls before becoming the first Test scalp of debutant pacer Mohammad Siraj.
Earlier the hosts, after electing to bat, lost the wicket of opener Joe Burns early with Bumrah having him caught behind for duck.
Left-handed opener Matthew Wade, who played aggressively for his 39-ball 30, helped Australia move to 35 before off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin removed him. Wade tried to take the attack to the bowler by trying a slog-sweep but instead top-edged it for Ravindra Jadeja to take a catch at mid-wicket.
Soon Ashwin had Steve Smith for 0. Smith tried to turn a delivery on the middle and leg towards square leg only to find Cheteshwar Pujara take the catch at leg slip. At that point, India had Australia on the mat at 38/3
However, Labuschagne and Travis Head made sure Australia didn’t lose any further wicket going into Lunch.
Resuming the second session at 65/3, Labuschagne and Head shared a 86-run partnership before Bumrah got Head caught at slips by Rahane at his individual score of 38.
Labuschagne, who had survived a couple of lbw calls and a blow on the helmet as well, looked all set for a well-deserved half century until got out against Siraj, just two runs short of the milestone.
Skipper Tim Paine and Cameron Green then took Australia into Tea at 136/5.
In the final session, the visitors didn’t let go off the pressure and Siraj was the first one to get rewarded as he had Green out lbw at his individual score of 12. Paine, who had earlier survived a close run out call, couldn’t stay long at the crease and went back to the dressing room after scoring with 13.
Towards the end, Nathan Lyon contributed with valuable 20 as Australia got bundled out for 195 inside 73 overs.
Bumrah was the pick of the bowlers as he returned with figures of 4/56 in the 16 overs he bowled. Ashwin was next in line as he picked three wickets, conceding just 35 runs in the 24 overs he bowled.
Siraj picked two wickets giving away 40 runs in the 15 overs he bowled while Jajeja picked the remaining one wicket of the Australian innings.
Like Australia, India too didn’t start off well as opener Mayank Agarwal (0) got out lbw in the very first over bowled by Mitchell Starc.
Debutant Shubman Gill too was lucky as he was dropped early in his innings. However, following that, he played some good shots and along with Pujara, helped the team go unscathed at the end of the day’s play. At Stumps, Gill and Pujara remained not out at 28 and seven respectively.
Brief scores: Australia 195 all out (Marnus Labuschagne 48, Travis Head 38; Jaspirt Bumrah 4/56), India 36/1 at Stumps on Day 1 (Shubman Gill 38, Cheteshwar Pujara 7; Mitchell Starc 1/14)