Australia v India – MCG, Day 1: It’s Christmas


A magnificent morning wakes us from a disturbed after-feasting sleep from yesterday. Why is it we stuff ourselves every Christmas Day?  It is not as if we don’t get food for the rest of the year and besides it probably is the same food.  Anyway, it gets me out of bed early.


Thought I would top up my Myki card this morning.  Thought I did but I hadn’t. A kind young man, who must have been behind me in the queue walked the length of the station to hand me my money and yes, he was of African descent.


A beautiful day at the `G and we are looking for crowd of at least 70,000.  The much-maligned pitch looks fine from a distance before the action starts. Next to a football coach, national party member being a modern-day MCG curator would have to be the worst job in the world.  Damned if you do damned if you don’t.


The fact that hammering of the pitch was going on before play commenced did not help things. Kohli won the toss and chose to bat with his two new openers. The bowling was accurate but Agarwal and Vihari, despite a few rising balls, did not look uncomfortable.


“Get Lyon on the line,” happened after just seven overs and that is when Vihari scored his first run with the score at 0/21.


Vihari gets one on the helmet from Cummins, a nasty blow, but he continues his innings.  Cummins, who is such a fine bowler nowadays gets one to rise sharply and Vihari (8) dollies a catch to Finch at second slip.  India 1/40.


Cannot see anything in the pitch that is showing anything strange but I do hope the prediction of The Footy Almanac’s P. Flynn of “don’t go Bobby” is not vindicated.  A few balls are flying and so they should this is the best fast attack in world cricket.


Agarwal, looking very sound, and Pujara (always sound) take the score to 1/53 at lunch.


The scoring rate drops to a trickle after lunch and the Flynn Doomsday Message is looming. There is nothing spectacular happening at the moment. There is absolutely nothing happening for the bowlers at all.


On 44 Mayank Agarwal breaks the shackles and splendidly drives Lyon straight twice for four to reach his 50 with 6 fours of 95 balls. He used his feet dexterously in getting to Lyon’s length.


At drinks break the score is 1/86 so in the hour after lunch India has added 33 runs. A very slow rate indeed when you consider that Agarwal hit those 2 fours in one Lyon over.  Agarwal 53 and Pujara 19.


Play continued on the same solemn path until the last over before tea when Agarwal on 76 casually flicked at one from the consistent Pat Cummins and Paine took a catch that only he can make look simple. At Tea India 2/123 with Pujara on 28. Pat Cummins had both wickets.


The Master Kohli received a mixed ovation on coming to the wicket after Tea which, if he wasn’t determined beforehand, he certainly was now.


As was their want in Perth the Australian bowlers were on line and length, giving absolutely nothing away with Paine’s field placings also playing their part.


Pujara and Kohli have both made centuries during this series and they are looking in run-scoring moods. Distinctive in style Pujara gives nothing away while Kohli if he gets one short will put it away for four.


Cheteshwar Pujara has been the most consistent batsman of the series so far and he reaches his 50 from 152 balls with 4 fours.  It has not been his best innings but he is still there and that is the consistency of the man.


Cricket Australia expected close to 80,000 today but the crowd whilst not that many was still very reasonable at 73,516.


At the finals drink break India had moved the score to 2/174 and probably have had the better of the day with only losing 2 wickets. If they can bat through to stumps, bearing in mind that the new ball is due in 4 overs.


I think they will take it as Starc has had a comfortable day compared with the other trundlers and he has the habit of getting a wicket late in the day.


Cummins is still charging in and delivering some very good bouncers.  He is giving everything on this unresponsive wicket.


The Indians take the score to 199 before the second new ball is taken by Mitchell Starc.  Paine delayed taking the ball when it was due.  He will now expect Starc and Hazlewood to go flat out for the remainder of the day with four overs apiece.


Oh, oh Hazlewood bowls one that bounces twice before it reaches Paine. Is this a sign of things to come?


The batsmen are steadfast in their approach and are leaving every ball alone that is wide of their desired line.  No sooner said that Starc bows a great over to Kohli.  Hazlewood bends his back also and beats Pujara on two occasions.


This is fiery bowling from the Australian openers and they are giving the batsmen no respite. It has been a great half hour and the crowd has stayed to enjoy it.


India hold on and at stumps thy are 2/215 Pujara (68) and Kohli (47). Kohli showed great restraint in the final overs and did not score in the last three overs. Cummins was the best bowler with 2/40.


Not an absorbing day’s cricket but one that has set up the second day for the King to strut his stuff and his wonderful lieutenant to assist as he can. A sort of Don Quixote – Sancho Panza double.


Will be interesting to see just how many Indian supporters arrive tomorrow.





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About Bob Utber

At 80 years of age Citrus Bob is doing what he wanted to do as a 14 year-old living on the farm at Lang Lang. Talking, writing, watching sport. Now into his third book on sports history he lives in Mildura with his very considerate wife (Jenny ) and a groodle named "Chloe On Flinders". How good is that.


  1. Boring ! Terrible pitch surely with the lack of rain we have in Australia that the odd game of footy can have a bit of mud drop in garbage ( vice cersa it can be watered to make sure it’s not to hard ) no logical reason why we have to have them effectively if you don’t win the toss no chance to win

  2. Rulebook’s nailed it. Absolutely boring- so much so I fell asleep two or three times .During my siesta a wicket didn’t fall (as one often does). That pitch was more of a twenty / twenty wicket. Anyway, for day 2 I’ll remember to set the snooze alarm on my clock.Incidentally this test is a good advertisement for watching the Australian Baseball League.Wonder what Ian Chappell thinks.

  3. Peter Crossing says

    Citrus Bob, I hope Peter Dutton gets to hear about your Myki card experience.

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