Boxing Day Test: Australia Loses Three Wickets on Day One

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Boxing Day Test: Australia Loses Three Wickets on Day One
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In the Boxing Day Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, Australia wrapped up the first day at 187-3 against Pakistan.

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Rain threw a spanner in the works, allowing only 66 overs throughout the day. Marnus Labuschagne (44) and Travis Head (9) will resume their batting on day two. Steve Smith’s 26 runs were halted by Aamer Jamal post the rain delay, while Agha Salman and Hasan Ali secured a wicket each.

The match encountered a nearly three-hour rain delay, interrupting the second session. Early tea was called with Australia at 114-2, Labuschagne (14) and Smith (2) at the crease. The lone wicket of the second session was Usman Khawaja, scoring 42 runs before Hasan Ali dismissed him.

At lunch during the first session, Australia reached 90-1, but Agha Salman’s delivery sent David Warner (38) back to the pavilion. Pakistan chose to bowl after winning the toss, aiming to rebound after their hefty 360-run loss in Perth.

The team remained unchanged, opting for Mohammad Rizwan over Sarfaraz Ahmed for wicketkeeping duties, while Mir Hamza and Hasan Ali replaced Khurram Shahzad and Faheem Ashraf.

This decision forged an all-pace attack, led by Shaheen Shah Afridi and Aamer Jamal, foregoing a specialist spinner. Captain Shan Masood justified this choice, considering the MCG pitch history and prevailing weather conditions.

Despite heavy rain on Christmas Day, the weather cleared on Tuesday, albeit with predictions of afternoon showers. Australian skipper Pat Cummins, content with the team’s performance in Perth, expressed his agreement with Masood’s choice to bowl.

Pakistan’s struggle in Australia, with a losing streak of 15 Tests and their last win back in 1995, sets the stage for a crucial battle in the ongoing series.

Boxing Day Test

Australia Playing XI:

David Warner, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Steve Smith, Travis Head, Mitchell Marsh, Alex Carey, Pat Cummins (capt), Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood

Pakistan Playing XI:

Imam-ul-Haq, Abdullah Shafique, Shan Masood (capt), Babar Azam, Saud Shakeel, Mohammad Rizwan, Agha Salman, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Hasan Ali, Mir Hamza, Aamer Jamal

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