After the first day of the Boxing Day Test in MCG, the Indian bowlers can pat themselves on the back for the effort they’ve put in. India would be especially proud of the way they dealt with the threat of Steve Smith. And with due reason. Smith has a terrific record in this particular fixture – 908 runs in seven MCG Boxing Day Tests at an average of 113.50.
Ravinchandran Ashwin, however took care of the threat of Steve Smith in spectacular fashion as the Aussie stalwart was dismissed for duck, for the first time since 2016. Australia had a mediocre batting performance and were cleaned up for 195 runs. Commenting on the performance, Marnus Labuschagne suggested that India bowled straight lines all day which made scoring on the off-side difficult.
“Something that we’re releasing very quickly is people are coming up with new ways, thinking about the game slightly differently,” Marnus Labuschagne said of the leg-slip ploy that got Smith. “Obviously today, they came out with a heavy leg-side field and bowled very straight and didn’t give us any scoring options to the off side.”
Labuschagne ended up becoming Mohammed Siraj’s first Test wicket and he felt that the batsmen had to dig deep in order to outsmart the opposition.
“You just know you’re going to have to lock in and bat for long periods of time. They’re bowling really straight lines, you’re not getting many runs through the off side, so this is the art of Test cricket, this is why we all love it. Because it’s a continual challenge for the bowlers to come up with new ideas to stop the batters scoring and build pressure and that’s what they did today.
“There was a little bit more in it, the ball seamed and you even saw the ball swing at the 50th over mark, which is something you probably don’t see usually here at the MCG at that time,” Marnus Labuschagne said.