Gill unbeaten on 28 and Pujara on 7, trailing Australia by 159 runs, India completed Day 1 at 36/1.

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Gill unbeaten on 28 and Pujara on 7, trailing Australia by 159 runs, India completed Day 1 at 36/1.

The Indian team bounced back and dominated the opening day of the Boxing Day Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) on Saturday after being driven against the wall after a humbling loss in the series opener. Stand-in skipper Ajinkya Rahane lost the toss, but during the day, the Indian bowlers were on song and limited the hosts to 195 all out on one of Australia’s most batting-friendly tracks.

The Indian skipper, who marshaled his troops with great authority, deserves equal praise, while the bowlers deserve all the praise for their hard work. Rahane targeted close-in fielders during the day and made some wise bowling adjustments that worked well for the team.

Among many who lauded Rahane’s bowing improvements and “smart fielding placements” was former Indian opener Virender Sehwag. Sehwag also praised the bowlers on Twitter for working well on Day 1 and giving India a solid start.

“Outstanding bowling changes and really smart fielding placements from Rahane. And the bowlers delivered. Ashwin, Bumrah, Siraj were absolutely brilliant. Great effort to get Australia all out for 195 on the first day. Now for the batters to get good first-innings lead #AUSvIND,” Sehwag.

VVS Laxman praised the Indian “sensational” bowlers and the captaincy of Rahane. The Indian players played optimistic cricket during the day, shrugging off all the wounds from their defeat in the first test, and Laxman was glad to see players bearing no baggage from the Adelaide fiasco.

“Excellent days play for India. Bowlers were once again sensational, both the debutants looked confident, Rahane captained the side really well but most importantly they didn’t carry the baggage of the loss from Adelaide. #INDvAUS,” Laxman Twitted.

In Virat Kohli’s absence, spin-bowling great Shane Warne also praised Rahane for leading his team well. The former leg-spinner also congratulated the ground staff of the MCG on preparing one of the best wickets for a long time at the venue.

“What a terrific day of cricket at the MCG today. Congrats to the ground staff on preparing the best wicket at the MCG for a long time. More of these types of pitches, please! The Indian bowlers were outstanding too & very well lead by

@ajinkyarahane88 ! Can India bat all day?” Warne tweeted.

The best of the bowlers for the visitors was Jasprit Bumrah and Ravichandran Ashwin as they returned with four and three wickets respectively. On his Test debut, Mohammed Siraj also impressed and returned with two wickets for all his hard work.

With Shubman Gill unbeaten on 28 and Cheteshwar Pujara batting on seven, trailing Australia by 159 runs, India completed Day 1 at 36/1.

 

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