The Boxing Day Test match between India and Australia saw Tim Paine winning the toss and opting to bat against India in Melbourne. The hosts remained unchanged while India made four changes to their line-up. Shubman Gill was handed a debut and his cap was presented by head coach Ravi Shastri. Mohammed Siraj was also included to make his debut and his cap was given by Ravichandran Ashwin. Rishabh Pant replaced Wriddhiman Saha while Ravindra Jadeja was included in the team as India played two spinners in an overseas Test for the first time in a long time. Australia currently lead the four-Test series 1-0 after bundling India out for 36 in the Adelaide Pink Ball Test.
After winning the toss, Tim Paine said that although David Warner will be missed, Australia has depth. Ajinkya Rahane, who is leading India for the third time, said it was a honour to lead India on such a big occasion. “We dominated the first two days at Adelaide and it was just that one hour that took it away from us. We just need to focus on the moment. Really excited for Shubhman and Siraj; they have worked really hard and have great FC records. Jadeja is a quality all-rounder, is batting really well lately and adds that balance as well,” Rahane said.
A special Test
The India vs Australia Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground is a special Test for a reason. This is the 100th Test between both the sides, having started playing each other in 1947/48. Australia hold a superior head-to-head advantage, winning 43 while India have won 28. One Test was tied and that was in 1986 in Chennai while 27 matches have ended in a draw.
For Australia, this is the third nation against whom they have played 100 Tests or more. Australia and West Indies have clashed 116 times with Australia winning 58 of them. However, their 140-plus year rivalry against England has seen them play a whopping 351 Tests against them, with Australia securing wins in 146 matches.
India, on the other hand, are playing 100 Tests against a nation for the second time. They have played 122 Tests against England which is the most. England, on the other hand, have played 100+ Tests against the likes of Australia, India, West Indies, South Africa and New Zealand.
India: Mayank Agarwal, Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane(c), Hanuma Vihari, Rishabh Pant(w), Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Umesh Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj
Australia: Matthew Wade, Joe Burns, Marnus Labuschagne, Steven Smith, Travis Head, Cameron Green, Tim Paine(w/c), Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood