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India send Australia crashing on Day 1 of 2nd Test

December 26, 2020 13:27 IST
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Day 1: Australia 195 all out; India 36 for 1.

India's Ravichandran Ashwin celebrates getting the wicket of Australia's Steve Smith during Day 1 of the second Test, at Melbourne Cricket Ground on Saturday.

IMAGE: India's Ravichandran Ashwin celebrates dismissing Australia's Steve Smith during Day 1 of the second Test, at Melbourne Cricket Ground, on Saturday. Photograph: Quinn Rooney/Getty Images

India proved there is life without captain Virat Kohli as they bowled Australia out for 195 and then weathered a fierce pace assault in the late afternoon to dominate the opening day of the second Test in Melbourne.

 

India were 36 for one at stumps, with debutant Shubman Gill 28 not out and Cheteshwar Pujara on seven after the loss of opener Mayank Argarwal for a duck.

With soon-to-be-dad Kohli having returned home after the calamitous defeat in Adelaide, stand-in skipper Ajinkya Rahane called on his bowlers to respond and they duly delivered on a glorious day at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

After Australia won the toss and elected to bat, pace spearhead Jasprit Bumrah grabbed four wickets and seamer Mohammed Siraj took two on an emotional test debut little more than a month after the death of his father.

With the wounds still raw from India's humiliating dismissal for 36 at Adelaide Oval, their lowest innings total in tests, the focus shifted quickly to their batsmen and how they would fare against Australia's fired-up pace attack.

The pressure proved too much for Argarwal, who was out lbw on the sixth ball of the innings after a withering opening salvo from paceman Mitchell Starc.

Gill, replacing the dropped Prithvi Shaw, was lucky not to follow him, getting a reprieve on four when Marnus Labuschagne grassed a regulation catch in the slips off the bowling of Pat Cummins.

Marnus Labuschagne

IMAGE: Marnus Labuschagne had 4 fours in his 48 off 132 balls. Photograph: Robert Cianflone/Getty Images

The crowd was under a "COVID-safe" cap of 30,000 but the collective groan triggered by the drop might have been heard in Melbourne's outer suburbs.

Gill rallied superbly from the scare to complete a rousing day for India, who flew out of the blocks in the morning.

Spinner Ravichandran Ashwin took 3-35 and did the early damage with two wickets in the morning, including the prized wicket of Steve Smith for a duck.

Having dismissed Smith for one in Adelaide, Ashwin condemned Australia's star batsman to his first duck since 2016 when he was out lbw by Keshav Maharaj in defeat to South Africa in Perth.

Reeling at 65 for three at lunch, Australia rallied with an 86-run partnership between Labuschagne and Travis Head, but neither could go on with it.

Bumrah had Head caught in the gully by Rahane for 38 before Siraj savoured his first test wicket when Labuschagne was pouched for 48 by Gill at backward square leg.

Australia were unchanged from Adelaide, but India made four changes, with Pant replacing wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha, and Jadeja recalled as another slow bowling option.

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