Jasprit Bumrah and Ravi Ashwin cleaned up Australia for 195 as India started strongly in the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne.
The feat was made even more notable by the fact that Australia won the toss and decided to bat. The hosts’ batters showed very little application, succumbing to a clutch of dismissals that can only be attributed to brain fades.
It would, however, be remiss not to note the excellent effort of India’s bowlers, lead by Bumrah and Ashwin. The former ensured Joe Burns, who scored a half century in the second innings in Adelaide, returned to the more familiar feeling of despair, knicking him off for a duck.
Burns’ opening partner Matthew Wade then tried to run down the track to Ashwin but was beaten in the flight and caught for 30. The spinner took the biggest of them all in Test cricket soon thereafter, Steve Smith failing to deal with a ripping delivery that caught the splice of his bat and shot to leg gully.
That left Australia in trouble at 38/3, but Marnus Labuschagne and Travis Head steadied the innings with an 86-run partnership. But the duo fell within 10 runs of each other, Bumrah dismissing Head before Labuschagne was caught at leg gully.
That set in motion a dramatic collapse, during which time no Australia batsman scored more than 20. And while Bumrah (4/56) and Ashwin (3/35) will claim the headlines, mention must be made of an excellent debut by Mohammed Siraj (2/40), who bowled with appreciable pace, control and skill.
Australia started brilliantly with the ball, Mitchell Starc swinging it at high speed to trap Mayank Agarwal before a run had been scored. Pat Cummins then found Shubman Gill’s outside edge only to see Labuschagne grass the catch at gully.
The Australia bowlers came hard at Gill and Cheteshwa Pujara and Gill, but the pair stood firm, giving India the edge going into day two. India were 36/1 at stumps, trailing by 159.