Australia post 277/6 on Day 1 at Melbourne
Royal Challengers Bangalore and India spearhead Zaheer Khan took 2/49 on his return to international cricket after a six month long injury layoff as stubborn batting from Australia’s batsmen saw them end Day 1 of the Boxing Day Test at Melbourne on 277/6.
Winning the toss and choosing to bat first, Australia’s brand new opening combination of David Warner and Ed Cowan negated heavy swing in the opening hour of the day’s play. Cowan was brilliant in his selection, leaving many balls disconcertingly late while Warner looked to punish everything that was loose. The duo took Australia to 46 before rain halted play. David Warner was dismissed immediately by Umesh Yadav when play resumed. He returned to dismiss Shaun Marsh in his next over, RCB’s Virat Kohli taking a neat catch at point to reduce Aus to 46/2.
Ricky Ponting made 62, putting on 113 runs for the third wicket with Cowan before he became Yadav’s third victim.
Australian skipper Michael Clarke and Cowan then added 46 runs for the fourth wicket before Zaheer got the old ball going for him in the 65th over of the day. Zaheer set up Clarke with an inswinger that straightened before a wider one that Clarke chased only to inside edge on to his stumps. His very next delivery rose sharply at Michael Hussey sharply from a good length, forcing the southpaw to fend at it on its way to the keeper. Two wickets in two balls and the dismissal of Ed Cowan by R Ashwin two overs later saw Australia slide from 205/3 to 214/6.
Wicketkeeper Brad Haddin and Peter Siddle batted sensibly after the mini collapse, shutting out the bowlers but gathering runs to take Australia to 277/6 at Stumps.
Zaheer Khan will fancy another go at Haddin and Siddle early in the morning tomorrow, looking to provide India the option they sorely lacked in England.