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Live Report – Australia vs India, 3rd Test, Sydney, 1st day | Cricket

Live Report - Australia vs India, 3rd Test, Sydney, 1st

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

*Most recent entry will appear at the top, please refresh your page for the latest updates.

12pm local time/6.30am IST: Still drizzling

File photo: Claire Polosak officiates during the women’s T20 World Cup in 2018 © Getty Images

I’m not going to say, “I told you so” about the rain but it’s back and it’s a “reasonably steady drizzle again,” says Gnasher from the ground. I forgot to mention, the fourth/reserve umpire today is Claire Polosak, the first female match official in a men’s Test match. She was out on the field some time back with her umbrella and the other match officials.

11.40am local time/6.10am IST: Play resuming soon

Play is set to resume at 11.45 local time (6.15am IST), unless rain arrives again by the time you read this. Fans appear to be having a good time at the SCG though.

A glimpse of different kinds of attire fans took to at the SCG © Getty Images

11.15am local time/6.10am IST: Rain arrives at SCG

Rain was forecast and here it is! It’s largely the pitch that is covered with the umpires out under the umbrellas after the players jogged off the field. Andrew McGlashan from the ground: “There is a line of showers coming up from the south. Today was the day with the highest chance of interruptions. The forecast for the next four days is good.” Twelve minutes after the players went off, the rain has stopped and the covers are coming off.

Will be interesting to see if this will add any swing once play resumes. Meanwhile, there’s been a lot of debate on social media on Mayank Agarwal’s exclusion. Was it fair to leave him out? Vote in the poll below:

11am local time/5.30am IST: Siraj removes Warner for 5

Mohammed Siraj has silenced Australia’s opening stand with the wicket of David Warner © Getty Images

A very intriguing 18-minute stay for Warner. He was running those quick singles with visible discomfort in his groin, eager to rotate the strike, and falls after flashing well outside off twice in a row off Siraj. On the second ball of the fourth over he went after one that seamed away from outside off, and when Siraj pitched it away further and a tad fuller next ball, Warner didn’t move his feet enough to get close to the ball while chasing it, and edged to first slip. Pucovski, meanwhile, is leaving well outside off while walking across the stumps a bit, and got a bouncer in the very first over from Bumrah. No swing at all in this pitch even though there was some rain in the lead up to the Test, and some more is expected today and tomorrow. Australia 18 for 1 after the first half hour. “Looks like a very good batting track,” Glenn McGrath says on TV commentary.

10.35am local time/5.05am IST: Warner and Pucovski walk out

Boy, will Australia be excited by Warner’s return. He’s still not 100% fit after his groin injury but given the nature of this series and what all is at stake, Australia have decided to play him, partnered by a debut. Tim Paine said at the toss Warner’s “high energy” will bolster their “confidence”. Not to forget, Australia have endured their slowest scoring home series of the century so far, just ahead of the 2018-19 series which also didn’t feature Warner. Pucovski, on the other hand, has been around the Test set-up for close to a year now, has a history of concussion injuries, and has bossed his way into the Test XI with plenty of runs in domestic cricket. Here’s more on Pucovski’s journey so far.

10.10am local time/4.40am IST: Two more debuts in the series

After Cameron 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 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

Australia will be banking on David Warner’s return for the third Test © Getty Images

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

ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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