Bumrah puts India on top
A four wicket haul for speedster Jasprit Bumrah has put India ahead after the opening day of the second Test against Australia at the MCG.
Australia was bowled out for 195 after winning the toss and choosing to bat first on Boxing Day with India 1-36 in reply, fans welcomed back to the MCG for the first time since March when Australia defeated India in the Women's World T20 Final.
India made four changes to their side that was humiliated in Adelaide, having been skittled for their lowest Test total of 36.
Wicketkeeper Risbah Pant replacing Wriddhiman Saha with the gloves while Ravindra Jadeja added another spin bowling option to the attack, taking Virat Kohli's spot with the Indian skipper returning home for the birth of his first child.
The Ajinkya Rahane led side had two debutants with Shubman Gill and Mohammed Siraj also coming in to the side, Prithvi Shaw dropped and Mohammed Shami ruled out of the series after suffering a fractured forearm while batting in Adelaide.
Australia went in unchanged after their eight wicket win in the first Test, losing under fire opener Joe Burns for a duck as he feathered an edge behind playing away from his body to Bumrah.
Matthew Wade was looking to be positive as he struck three boundaries (and four threes) on his way to 30 before miscuing the off-spin of Ravichandran Ashwin to mid-on, Jadeja holding on to the catch despite colliding with Gill who was running back from midwicket.
The early introduction of spin was working wonders for India when Ashwin claimed Steve Smith's scalp for the second time in the series, Smith caught at leg slip for a duck as Australia was in trouble at 3-38.
Marnus Labuschagne and Travis Head rebuilt the innings but not without some controversy, Labuschagne adjudged LBW attempting to sweep Ashwin moments before lunch having made 27 before being saved by the Decision Review System, with virtual ball tracking having the ball bouncing over the stumps.
The right-left hand combination appeared to be blunting the attack in the hour after lunch, the stand realising 86 runs before Head steered Bumrah to gully to be out for 38.
The boundaries dried up from there as Labuschagne (48) picked out leg gully to give debutant Siraj his maiden Test wicket, part of an impressive spell from the 26 year old who had been overlooked for a bowl until after the lunch break.
There was further controversy after Tea when Tim Paine was given the benefit of the doubt on a tight run-out decision from third umpire Paul Wilson, despite evidence to suggest Paine's bat was on the line as opposed to inside the popping crease when the bails were broken by keeper Pant.
It didn't cost the tourists too much as Siraj removed Cameron Green (12) LBW shortly afterwards, Paine departing in the following over as he became the third Australian batsman to be caught on the legside with Hanuma Vihari snaffling a smart catch at leg slip from the bowling of Ashwin.
Bumrah cleaned up the tail despite a late cameo of 20 from Nathan Lyon, Australia all out for 195 in 72.3 overs.
The spearhead of the Indian attack Bumrah claimed 4-56 from 16 overs on a wicket that offered far more life for the quicks than in recent seasons, Ashwin finding some turn too in snaring 3-35 while Siraj impressed with 2-40 on his first day of Test cricket.
With India needing to bat for 45 minutes before stumps Australia sensed an opportunity to make early inroads, Mitchell Starc striking in the first over as he trapped Mayank Agarwal in front for a duck.
Opener Gill should have joined him in the pavilion before the close but was dropped by Labuschagne at third slip from the bowling of Cummins having made four, making the most of his life as struck five boundaries before stumps in finishing unbeaten on 28, Cheteshwar Pujara looking assured on seven with India 1-36.
It was the day the visitors needed after succumbing meekly in Adelaide, trailing Australia by 169 runs with nine wickets in hand heading in to day two.
IMAGE: ESPN Cricinfo.