Australia v Pakistan 2023-24: Boxing Day Test – Day 1: Melbourne turns it on!

Boxing Day 2023


As usual Melbourne turned it on for Boxing Day. 60,000 in attendance by the fourth over. Why would they even contemplate playing the game elsewhere at this time of the year?


The expected wild and windy day that was forecast did not eventuate although they still say that it will be raining by this afternoon. Some of the early strokes slowed down in the outfield but that will dry out by this arvo, cricket  ground in fact looks superb.


The visitors won the toss as they did in Perth and sent Australia in. They should have had early success when new bowler Hanza got one to cut back to Warner but first slip put down a soda.


Must say the Bank Yello Deck looks far superior to the West Hill in Perth and there are no kids in attendance. Maybe you have to have a bank account with the diamond to gain admittance.


Absolutely fantastic day for cricket and Australia have no rouble in passing the 50 runs barrier without raising a gallop or a sweat.  Looks like a long hard day for the visitors as they strive to break the grip Australia has on the game after one session. The loss of seamer Shahzad before the game has left a gaping hole in the attack although newcomer Hanza’s opening spell was impressive.


The shot of the morning.  Khawaja, standing aloof, moved majestically towards the ball and his blade did the rest. Magnificent straight drive off Afridi.  Everythig Uzzie does on a cricket field is like cuddling a baby.


Warner is caught by Babar at slip in the last over before lunch but Australia take the session with the score 1/90. As usual Khawaja looks more than comfortable.





Jumpin’ Jehosophat! Would I love the takings in the members bar today. Looking down from level 3 to Level 2 it was just wall to wall people who weren’t the slighest bit interested iin what was going on out in the middle. It certainly is the day for catching up with old acquaintances. It is a joyous occasion for everybody.


Well there has been a change in the weather, sorry cricket. Khawaja tickles Hasan into the slips and Oz are 2/108. Uz out for 42.  A bit of life in the boys from Punjab and beyond.


Hasan is like a hare chasing his own bowling and is setting a great example for his team mates to follow.





As the bureau correctly predicted the rains came at 3.00pm and that loooks like the end of the ball game for today. A pity because, as they did in Perth , Pakistan have come back very hard and causing Smith and Weston a run for their money. (Put up the white cross!)


Tried Warnie’s Legacy Health Test during the break in play.  I must say it is a great idea and many people were lining up to see how healthy they are or should be. Those three Christmas puds I received yesterday might have to wait a while before they are totally consumed.


Half the crowd , those not in the members bar, have stayed on hoping for more play and they could get their wish.


The grounds people have just taken the main tarpaulin off and then told to put it down again.


Watching some of the players have a kick I was more than impressed with Mr Alycia Healy who had an excellent kicking style with his left boot. Maybe one day the ‘power couple’ of cricket will own an AFL team.


There has been no play for two and a hlf hours but the patient crowd who stayed on look like they may be rewarded. The wickets have been uncovered but they are having trouble putting in the stumps. Some how I don’t think it has anything to do with actual cricket.


Banana 1 & Banana 2 continue from where they left off letting anything go that was a millimetre off the stumps.


Hasan Ali delighted the crowd when he shooed the birds something that Marnus could not do a minute before.  I think they were bronze-winged pigeons.


Told to stop talking after putting up with constant noise in the box throughout the day. Felt like telling some of the mob to be quiet this morning but thought better of it and then I cop it. (Whinge for the day).


 Marnus seems to have broken the shackles with a couple of lovely shots.  It has not been one of his greatest years.


I wonder when the umpires are going to get stuck into the Australians for the number of times they change their gloves and have a drink. They stand next to the batters whilst they partake of their drinks and change goles but that is all. Meanwhile the fielding side wait.


I was about to write it is amazing that someone like Shaheen Afridi has only taken one wicket in the series when he hits Smith one the pads with a quick one that straightened up. The umpire gave him out but Smith appealed before he could say appeal.  His DRS is succesful. Afridi has been the workhorse in this series for  his team of young bowlers.


Et tu brute. Not long after he is given not out and the Pakistani DRS is succesful. Smith out for 24 caught behind from the bowling of Jamil. 3/154.


Pakistan’s tactics throughout the day have been to bowl outside the off stump to all batters and they have been able to keep the run rate down to under 2 per over. Not attractive cricket as such but if they can obtain a wicket regularly then they have done their job.


Not good for the spectators though.


For the first time since lunch Salman is brought back into the attack and immediately has Head snicking.


That is stumps with Australia 3/187  Labuschagne 44 and Head 9, wickets to Salman, Jamal and Hasan.


Honours about even in my book.




To return to the  home page click HERE


Our writers are independent contributors. The opinions expressed in their articles are their own. They are not the views, nor do they reflect the views, of Malarkey Publications.


Do you enjoy the Almanac concept?
And want to ensure it continues in its current form, and better? To help keep things ticking over please consider making your own contribution.


Become an Almanac (annual) member – CLICK HERE






About Bob Utber

At 84 years of age Citrus Bob is doing what he has always done since growing up on a small farm at Lang Lang. Talking, watching and writing sport and in recent years writing books. He lives in Mildura with his very considerate wife (Jenny) and a groodle named 'Chloe on Flinders' and can be found at Deakin 27 every day.


  1. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    I’ll be in M23 on Day 2 Citrus if you get sick of the press box

  2. Honours about even in my book also. The Pakistan bowlers were very erratic, wasting so many deliveries wide of the wicket and, in my opinion, not called enough for wides down the leg side. Once again Warner got himself out, slashing at a wide ball he should have left alone. Smith continues on his way, back to the pavilion that is, just when he seems set for a big score. Hope the weather is kind today and we can enjoy another enthralling day’s play. Love to see Head in full cry – time will tell.

  3. FISHO & SWISH – many thanks for your thoughts. Might take you up on that Swish but I have heard that the ‘runs will flow today’. Differ from you Fish! The Australian Heckle and Jeckle could have played a few more shots at many of those balls outside the off. The Ozzie tactics are to wear the bowling down.
    I predict today (Day 2) will be a run feast for Australia.

  4. Sorry Bob, Pakistan well on top. Only reason Australia reached the 300 mark was a stirling effort from SUNDRIES. The waywardness of Pakistan’s bowling came back to bite them on the bum.. Should be a most interesting day 2.

Leave a Comment