Boxing Day Test: Australia 187 for 3 on Day 1 at MCG

Tue Dec 26 2023
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MELBOURNE: Australia put up a solid performance on a rain-affected opening day of the Boxing Day Test against Pakistan at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG).

The hosts were 187 for 3 at stumps on the first day of the test. Despite losing David Warner, Usman Khawaja, and Steven Smith, No.3 batsman Marnus Labuschagne stood firm against a spirited Pakistan pace attack on a challenging MCG surface.

The Boxing Day Test match is a cricket Test match held in Melbourne (Victoria), Australia, involving the Australian national cricket team and some other national team that is touring Australia during the southern summer. The test begins annually on Boxing Day (26 December) and is played at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

Play was disrupted for nearly three hours due to bad weather in the afternoon, resulting in only 66 overs being bowled. Labuschagne and Smith frustrated the Pakistani bowlers after the resumption, adding 46 runs before Smith was caught behind off Aamer Jamal. Labuschagne, facing 120 deliveries, battled through the tough conditions, closing in on a half-century.

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Pakistan’s pace attack, led by Hasan Ali and Shaheen Shah Afridi, fought back after a wayward opening session. Hasan dismissed opener Usman Khawaja for 42, caught at second slip, while Afridi challenged the Australian batsmen with his varied deliveries. However, Labuschagne and Smith managed to weather the storm, guiding Australia to a favorable position.

Travis Head finished the day on 9 not out, surviving a nervous moment in the last over. Despite the disruptions, Australia showed resilience and composure, reaching a score of 244/3 at stumps.

Pakistan made three changes, opting for an all-out pace attack, with Hasan Ali making a significant impact. The MCG’s notoriously fickle weather played a role, and rain eventually provided respite for Australia.

Labuschagne’s determination and Australia’s solid performance set the stage for an intriguing second day at the iconic MCG. With rain and potential thunderstorms forecasted, the match’s outcome remains uncertain.

A crowd of 62,000 attended the Boxing Day Test, showcasing the enthusiasm of Australian cricket fans, surpassing the total attendance of the rebranded Perth Test.

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