As Australia prepare to face West Indies in this year’s Boxing Day Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), we look back at the last five Boxing Day Test matches.
India vs Australia (2014): In a drawn game, batsmen from both sides dominated. Australia batted first and posted 530 on the board. Steven Smith was in his elements again. He smashed 192 from 305 balls as Australia demoralised the Indian bowlers. Coming in at number 9, Ryan Harris added salt to India’s wounds with a fiery 74. Chris Rogers, Shane Watson and Brad Haddin all chipped in with half-centuries. India responded with bravado. Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane took on the Aussie bowlers in a wonderful stand. Kohli made 169 and Rahane 147 as India responded with 465. Shaun Marsh was run out for 99 in Australia’s second innings, as the match expectedly finished in a stalemate.
England vs Australia (2013): Australia took on England as part of the Ashes in 2013. Bowling first after losing the toss, the Aussies held England to 255. Kevin Pietersen’s 71 was the only score of note as a number of other English batsmen fell after getting starts. Mitchell Johnson rocked the England batting with 5 for 63 while Harris played the good support act with two scalps. England’s bowlers fought back hard led by James Anderson and Stuart Broad, who finished with seven scalps between them. Haddin and Rogers made 60s, but most other Aussies fell cheaply. Nathan Lyon however claimed five second-innings wickets as England crumbled to 179 in their second essay. Johnson again starred with three scalps. Chasing 231, Australia got home easily, with Rogers making 116 and Shane Watson remaining unbeaten on 83.
Sri Lanka vs Australia (2012): The Aussies got the better of Lanka without breaking much sweat here. Bowling first, Johnson claimed four scalps to rock the Lankans, who folded up for 156. Kumar Sangakkara was the only Sri Lankan batsman to cross 50. Australia replied with an impressive 460, led by a century from skipper Clarke, an unbeaten 92 from Johnson and 83 from Watson. Under pressure, Sri Lanka folded up for 103, with two of their batters absent hurt.
India vs Australia (2011): Australia batted first in this game, and posted a competitive 333. Ed Cowan made 68 on debut, Ricky Ponting contributed 62 and Peter Siddle 41. Despite half centuries from Virender Sehwag, Rahul Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar, India managed only 282, as they collapsed after being 214 for 2 at one stage. Ponting and Mike Hussey made fifties in Australia’s second innings as the hosts set India 292 to win. India collapsed to 169 all out as Pattinson and Siddle shared seven wickets between themselves.
England vs Australia (2010): Bowling first, England were all over Australia in this Test. James Anderson and Chris Tremlett snared eight wickets between them as the Aussies were felled for 98. England then replied with a mammoth 513 – Jonathan Trott, at his peak, made an unbeaten 168, with Alastair Cook and Matt Prior contributing 80s. With too much to do, Australia folded up for 258 in their second innings. This time, Tim Bresnan starred with four-for as England won by an emphatic margin of an innings and 157 runs.
--By A Cricket Correspondent