Welcome to our live report of the first day of the Australia-India Test from Melbourne. Join us for updates, analysis and colour. You can find our traditional ball-by-ball commentary here
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10.10am local time/4.40am IST: Two more debuts in the series
— ESPNcricinfo (@ESPNcricinfo) January 6, 2021
After Chris Green in Adelaide, Shubman Gill and Mohammed Siraj at the MCG, we have two more debutants as expected: Will Pucovski and Navdeep Saini. Pucovski given the cap by Andrew McDonald and Saini by Jasprit Bumrah. Australia have opted to bat, with David Warner coming in place of Travis Head, and Matthew Wade moving down to the middle order. For India, we already knew yesterday that Rohit Sharma will open with Mayank Agarwal given the axe, and Saini making his debut because Umesh Yadav has flown back home.
Speaking of fast bowlers, India’s pace battery has Jasprit Bumrah, Siraj and Saini with a combined Test experience of 17 Tests compared to Australia’s tally of 144, thanks to Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins. That’s one thing Australia will be excited about that they haven’t had to change their attack since the first Test.
10am local time/4.30am IST: More reports about doubts over fourth Test in Brisbane
And we have news coming in already, even before the coin has been flipped. Here’s Andrew McGlashan with what’s brewing in Australia for the Brisbane Test:
Cricket Australia will seek clarification from the BCCI after more suggestions emerged that India would not travel to Brisbane for the final Test but continue to insist they have not been made aware of concerns. And a report on Thursday morning said that the BCCI had officially written to CA to say they did not want to head to Brisbane. However, ESPNcricinfo understands that the updated plans for the Gabba Test, in the wake of the Covid-19 outbreak in Sydney which led to border restrictions to Queensland, were approved by the BCCI office bearers on December 29 and no objections have been received since.
CA have largely been dealing with BCCI secretary Jay Shah and it’s understood will seek further conversations on Thursday.
The players are not confined to their rooms when at the team hotels in Sydney and Brisbane – which have been entirely booked out by Cricket Australia – and are able to mingle in communal areas. The one difference is that the restrictions in Sydney are CA protocols while those in Brisbane are imposed by the Queensland government as the terms to allow exemptions to be granted.
9.55am local time/4.25am IST: Warming up for toss
Hello everyone and a very warm welcome to the third Test of this exciting series that’s level 1-1. Another Test, possible another set of debuts (there’s at least one confirmed from India), another tight race for the WTC points and the ICC rankings (New Zealand are on top now), another debate on selection, another discussion on who is going to open, and much much more. I’ll steal Tim Paine’s words and just say there is “tension starting to boil under the surface“.
Vishal Dikshit is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo
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