Australia v Pakistan: Boxing Day Test, day one – live | Cricket

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Pakistan haven’t allowed Australia to score quickly or getaway from them int he first hour but after winning the toss and choosing to bowl they will be ruing that missed chance to get David Warner back into the sheds early.

14th over: Australia 34-0 (Warner 17, Khawaja 12) Shot! Hasan Ali drops short and Warner cracks a pull away powerfully for four, the ball skimming Michael Gough’s toes at square leg – the English umpire momentarily doing an impression of a man who has trodden on a dogs tail in a beer garden. Speaking of which, we’ve had an hour of play and it’s time for a drink.

13th over: Australia 30-0 (Warner 13, Khawaja 12) Jamal has Warner hopping about a little, working up a spicy pace and testing out the back half of the pitch. Warner paddles a short one fine for a couple and keeps the strike with a mistimed drive into the gap at cover.

12th over: Australia 26-0 (Warner 10, Khawaja 12) Hasan Ali is bowling well here, he sends down another maiden and the sizeable MCG crowd start to get a little restless. Good pressure being built up from the visitors. They need some scalps this morning session though.

11th over: Australia 26-0 (Warner 10, Khawaja 12)Aamir Jamal is given the nod by his captain, he pocketed a five-fer on debut last week and looked a handful. Still plenty of movement to be found, Warner is watchful, defending resolutely and leaving the balls outside his eyeline. A maiden.

I’ve just cracked into an OBO graveyard shift friendly 0.5 per cent Lucky Saint, so far the undisputed king of low percentage beer? I’m open to other suggestions of course.

10th over: Australia 26-0 (Warner 10, Khawaja 12) Hasan Ali comes into the attack and is on the button straight away. Warner managed to tick over with a drop and run into the off side.

Have only just seen this. Cats. Coca Cola. Conservatives. Cricket. Not for me. Any of it.

9th over: Australia 25-0 (Warner 9, Khawaja 12) Khawaja clips through midwicket to pick up two and then follows up with another nudge into the leg side, he attracts umpire Michael Gough’s ire with his second run, the umpire seemingly ticking Khawaja off for running straight down the wicket. The guy can’t cop a break.

8th over: Australia 21-0 (Warner 9, Khawaja 8) Big swing from Hamza as he scuds one into Khawaja’s pads… the appeal is stifled as the ball was clearly missing leg stump but there seems to be plenty to work with for Pakistan’s seamers. Khawaja leans on the final delivery to pick up three down the ground.

7th over: Australia 18-0 (Warner 9, Khawaja 5) Shaheen is working up a decent pace and getting some away movement, beating the edge of Warner as the moustachioed one gropes at a delivery wide of off stump. Cripes – four byes conceded as Shaheen’s radar goes awry off the final delivery, nothing Rizwan could do about that one behind the stumps.

6th over: Australia 14-0 (Warner 9, Khawaja 5) Warner glides behind point for a couple and pokes a cover drive for a single. Pakistan need to make the most of these early conditions with the new ball, especially as the Melbourne sun seems to be creeping out as I type.

“Following the OBO from my bed in Derry, Northern Ireland, beside five bottles of shower gel.” Trills Colum Farell. “Christmas gifts all. I’ll have to increase my washing frequency to use them all by next Christmas.” No comment, Colum. Not my place.

5th over: Australia 11-0 (Warner 6, Khawaja 5) Shaheen stitches a maiden together, including beating Khawaja with a ball that shaped away from a good length, the batter wandering down the wicket to try and get a feel for the ball. He was lucky he didn’t there.

“Merry Christmas and all that as we head into another nocturnal betwixtmas!”

Back at you Megan Purvis.

“I’m getting in early on the sandwich discussion with a vote for piccalilli—you want sharp flavours. I sometimes stay up for college football in the US with 2am kickoffs (Geaux Tigers!), and it’s the only time in my life I crave IPAs. Something to wake your tongue, and the rest of your head, up.”

What was that old Peter Kay line about picallilli? ‘Never eat anything that’s luminous’ but I know where you are coming from Megan. I’ll be dusting off the gherkins and pickled onions tomorrow.

4th over: Australia 11-0 (Warner 6, Khawaja 5) Eeeesht! Warner decides to throw the kitchen sink, kettle, fridge and bloomin’ toasted sandwich maker at a length ball outside off stump from Hamza. Connects only with fresh air. Next ball is a half volley and Warner doesn’t miss out this time – well and truly whalloping it through mid off for his first boundary. Penny for Shafique’s thoughts.

3rd over: Australia 6-0 (Warner 1, Khawaja 4) DROP! Huge moment early in this game as David Warner tickles a lovely ball from Shaheen to Abdullah Shafique at first slip and he spills it! It’s an absolute goober as far as slip catches go, the ball hit the palms and then fell forlornly to the turf. Warner allows himself a wry smile.

2nd over: Australia 6-0 (Warner 2, Khawaja 4) Mir Hamza shares the new orb. Close! Warner goes for a quick single and has to dive for his ground. Not sure he would have made it but the throw was whanged wide. Settle down Davey lad. Decent first over from Hamza, landing it on a handkerchief with a whiff of away movement. Just that dodgy single off it.

1st over: Australia 5-0 (Warner 1, Khawaja 4) Shaheen spears the first ball down the leg side but there’s definite movement to be glimpsed. Late movement too. Warner gets off the mark with a clip to leg and Khawaja picks up a boundary by playing a length ball with Andrex soft hands into the gap between the third slip and gully.

“Where am I OBOing?” asks a suitably pleased Justin Howden. “Lounging poolside in Sydney’s Cherrybrook with double espresso!”

I see you Justin, and I erm raise you a mug of instant Kenco on a dining room chair. No contest.

Righto, brass tacks time. Here come the players. Shaheen Shah Afridi has the shiny new ball in his hand, it looks to be a deeper rouge than Santa’s hooter. David Warner and Usman Khawaja are out in the middle under cloudy skies and a green-ish pitch. The MCG crackles with anticipation, as does my in-laws’ lounge. Boxing Day Test first session, let’s play!

Come one, come all, Brendan.

Australia name an unchanged XI from Perth. Pakistan have gone all in on pace and Rizwan comes in to take the gloves.

Do Drop us a line if you are tuning in. Let us know how and where you are settling into this Boxing Day Test match.

I’ll post the teams in a second, there are a couple of changes for the visitors.

Pakistan win the toss and choose to bowl

Shan Masood calls correctly and decides to insert Australia. It’s a bold move but Pat Cummins confesses he would have had a bowl first too.

The Pakistan skipper says:

Just having looked at the MCG Tests for the past three years the bowling side has done well. There’s been a bit of weather around so we’d just like to avail every opportunity with the ball.”

Early wickets the order of the day for the visitors. For the hosts, David Warner will get the chance to impose himself on the game from the off.

The Aussie skipper says:

We were going to have a bowl as well. This year’s pitch feels a little bit harder than previous years. There’s a bit of grass and a bit of cloud cover… but we’re not too upset to have a bat.”

Pat Cummins and Shan Masood at the coin toss.
Pat Cummins and Shan Masood at the coin toss. Photograph: Morgan Hancock/CA/Cricket Australia/Getty Images

A tinge of green maybe, enough to make the Grinch a pair of socks. Looks decent for a bat first though doesn’t it?

General view of the stadium
Australia and Pakistan players warm up at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. Photograph: James Ross/AAP

The buildup to the match has been dominated by Usman Khawaja’s tussles with the ICC. The people that run the game at a global level covering themselves in glory once more…

Khawaja had hoped to use images of a dove holding an olive branch, as well as a reference to article one of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, on one of his boots and bat in the second Test against Pakistan at the MCG.

Cummins described the dove symbol as “pretty vanilla” and said it was “not really” any different to observant Christian Labuschagne’s eagle, which represents a Bible verse.

“We really support Uzzy. He’s standing up for what he believes and I think he’s done it really respectfully,” Cummins said.

“[His initial message was] ‘all lives are equal’ and I don’t think that’s very offensive, and I’d say the same about the dove. That’s Uzzy. I think he can really hold his head high with the way he’s gone about it.

“But obviously there’s rules in place and I believe the ICC have said they’re not going to approve that. They make up the rules and you’ve got to accept it.”

Beady eyes on the warm ups:

Good news from the MCG – after a day and a bit of rain lingering over Melbourne during Christmas Eve and Day it is currently DRY and relatively bright on Boxing Day morning. There might be a threat of storms later in the afternoon though.

What to do? The pitch has been sat sweating under covers for the last few days, the toss might be a decent one to lose.

Not that is is relevant, or interesting, but it is inky black where I am in deepest Sussex, Christmas Day coming to a soporific close for another year.


James Wallace

James Wallace

Hello and greetings of the season, welcome to the OBO of the first day of the Boxing Day Test between Australia and Pakistan from the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

I hope you had a merry/bright/perfectly adequate day whether you were celebrating or not, and if you were then what better way to cope with the post Christmas Day comedown than by sticking your paw back into the trusty tin of Quality Street Test Match Cricket.

The Boxing Day Test match is now firmly established as an iconic fixture in the sporting calendar, with nigh on 90,000 revelling supporters due at the MCG to see whether Pat Cummins’ Australia can cap off a humdinger of a year in all formats.

For three days in Perth last week Shan Masood’s Pakistan side were well in the contest only to be rolled for 89 in the third innings to go 1-0 down in the three match Test series. It was a purring performance from Australia who fired in all departments, David Warner notching up a pugnacious and critic cornea jabbing 164 at the start and Nathan Lyon taking his 500th Test match wicket at the end. One of that pair is hanging up his boots at the end of this series, the other could go on and on … and on, longer than a Christmas lunch squabble or game of Monopoly*.

Can Pakistan get back in the series and blot Australia’s 2023 copybook at the last (the odds are stacking against after illness and injury have blighted their camp in the last few days) – or will the home side take the series at the earliest opportunity to cap off an Annus Bonzribilis**?

We’ll soon find out. I’ll be back about half an hour before play begins with news of the teams and the toss … and, crucially, which accompaniments I’ve chosen for my midnight turkey sandwich. Do join me for the first half of the action, drop us an email or tweet into the OBO mailbag and we can get stuck into Boxing Day together. Geoff Lemon will be grasping the tools for the second portion of the day and if I know The Lem*** he’ll be at the ground keeping a hawkish eye on proceedings.

Play gets under way at 10.30am AEDT, 11.30pm UK time.

*Anyone else attempted to watch Maestro with the in-laws and a toddler jacked up on chocolate yet? Thoughts and prayers.

**Apologies, have been at the ginger wine. It’s still Christmas afternoon in England.

***No one calls him this.

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