Steven Smith won the toss and opted to bat first on the Boxing Day test at Melbourne Cricket Ground against England who has miserably lost Ashes 2017. They, on the other hand, are playing for only pride and their fans.The pitch was beautiful for batting with bright and a sunny day, Australian openers came to bat.
As usual James Anderson started the proceedings for England with three slips and a gully to Bancroft, hoping to clinch early wickets with Stuart Broad on the other end, they had to produce something pleasing and surprising.
Bancroft with David Warner was on strike, rotating strike, getting comfortable on the crease, both the batsmen were easily scoring runs on England bowling unit, David Warner reached his half-century at the end of the first session.
What a session Australia and Warner have had. Not quite so Bancroft. But he will be happy that he was still there. Such contrasting innings from the duo. Warner right from ball one was timing them off the middle of the bat. While Bancroft - apart from when on a good length and straight - struggled with the short ones. Five times we can recollect he got into trouble but got away as Root and England played the waiting game instead of attacking the rookie. Root was under tremendous pressure as they had built a great partnership and no wicket in England's kitty.
Chris Woakes drew the first blood of Australia with taking Bancroft's wicket, the partnership of 122 was hence broken and a sigh of relief for Captain Joe Root. Khawaja then had joined Warner in the middle but was out by James Anderson just after scoring his 21st test century.
The second session totally belonged to England as they had 2 wickets in it after just conceding 43 runs, they would be very happy with that but Warner had his 21st test century and his wicket proved to be Anderson's 100th wicket in Ashes history. Credits must be given to the visitors as it could have been another of those huge knocks from Warner that dismantles the opposition but England's bowlers responded well, Woakes and Anderson in particular.
Smith with Khawaja continued to bat for the 3rd wicket partnership and took their team's score to 160 where Khawaja fell short of Stuart Broad and getting back to pavilion on 17 runs. Smith had to play his role as a captain with Shaun Marsh the most experienced player coming in to bat for Australia. Both the players enjoy each others company and also know each other strategies, they went on to score runs for the team and build a partnership to rescue team from three quick losses.
At the end of the day, Smith( 65*) and Marsh ( 31*) were comfortable at the crease with scoring a partnership of 84 runs. Australia is standing strongly at 244 runs with 3 wickets down. A well spent day at the office for Australia, they were accurate in their areas with day 2 yet to come and aiming for 500+.
England bowlers had a rough day in the field with only 3 wickets in the kitty and moreover, England fought back finally after a lifeless opening session but need the early wicket of Smith to feel like they are back in the contest.
Australia 3 for 244 (Warner 103, Smith 65*) v England