Australia was nearing parity at stumps on day one of the Boxing Day Test after bowling Sri Lanka out for 156 in under two sessions on Wednesday.
Look back at how the day panned out via our updates, scores, interviews, video highlights and images from Melbourne on the most famous day of the Australian cricketing calendar (all times AEDT).
7:00pm: What an eventful day of Test cricket. Thursday promises to be another engaging day as Australia tries to build an unassailable lead with a view to clinching the second Test and ultimately the series.
Until tomorrow, I'm Catch you bright and early for a 10:00am (AEDT) start on day two.
6:41pm: That's just about a wrap for day one. Jim Maxwell and Kerry O'Keeffe have kindly agreed to summarise things neatly for us, which you can listen to below.
Also, Dan Lonergan offered up his thoughts on Kumar Sangakkara's milestone innings in which he reached the 10,000-run club, becoming the 11th cricketer and just the second Sri Lankan to do so.
Read the story: Sri Lankan shambles takes shine off milestone
6:14pm: Dan's now speaking with Sri Lankan coach Graeme Ford, who cut a disappointed figure about his team's day one performance.
"Perhaps a few poor decisions made by some of our batters which got us into a bit of trouble.
"When you're playing against a quality attack, your decision-making has got to be pretty precise as do what you're going to attack and what you're going to defend and leave, and we didn't get that right.
"Unfortunately we find ourselves behind the game by a fair way and we're going to have to fight back hard.
6:06pm: On the ground Dan Lonergan has Mitchell Johnson, who took his 200th Test wicket earlier today in a haul of 4 for 63, at the boundary rope. The veteran quick called Australia's efforts today a "sensational effort".
"I think we bowled really well with the new ball, got those wickets up nice and early and got a roll on from there.
"To be able to get a wicket early on in a game like this on Boxing Day definitely inspired us to keep pushing hard and using that new ball.
"The bowling group did an exceptional job."
He said his personal milestone was rewarding but there is much more to accomplish yet.
"Those personal achievements are obviously great to have and it makes me very happy to be in that 200 club now, but I think the main result out here today is the way we performed and the way we went out there and did it.
"Obviously with guys rotating in and out it can make it a little tough at times but we stuck together as a bowling unit and [have] done an exceptional job.
"That's the first innings, now we've got to do it in the second innings, get the runs here tomorrow and hopefully build a big lead."
|First Test: Stumps, day one|| |
Sri Lanka 156 (43.4 overs)
K. Sangakkara 58
P. Jayawardene 24
A. Mathews 15
M. Johnson 4/63 (14 overs)
N. Lyon 2/23 (5.4 overs)
J. Bird 2/32 (13 overs)
P. Siddle 2/30 (8 overs)
Australia 3-150 (39 overs)
Trails by 6 with seven wickets in hand
M. Clarke 20*
S. Watson 13*
D. Warner 62
A. Mathews 1/9 (4 overs)
D. Prasad 1/39 (8 overs)
Irresponsible Sri Lankan batting and a quickfire David Warner cameo saw Australia stamp its authority over the visitors on the first day of the Boxing Day Test at the MCG on Wednesday.
Sri Lanka was skittled for 156 after some suicidal stroke play, with Mitchell Johnson (4 for 63) and debutant Jackson Bird (2 for 32) the destroyers-in-chief.
Warner then hit a blistering 62 off just 46 deliveries, including six boundaries and a six before spooning a catch to deep mid-wicket off a short Angelo Matthews delivery.
Ed Cowan (36) and Phil Hughes (10) looked confident before Hughes missed Cowan's call and was run out cheaply.
Cowan quickly followed, edging a catch to Mahela Jayawardene off Dhammika Prasad's bowling.
More batting nerves followed as Shane Watson (13 not out) and Michael Clarke (20 not out) survived drop catches while both on 5, but the pair managed to see out the day.
The hosts' innings followed a probing performance from Australia's paceman, who exploited some ill-thought shots by the Sri Lankans.
Johnson's four-wicket haul was made on the back on an excellent debut showing from Bird, whose two wickets were reward for excellent line and length.
The Boxing Day festivities began in earnest with the news captain Clarke was fit to play, but it was debutant Bird who stole the early limelight with a brilliant first spell in Test cricket, taking 1 for 7 in his first five overs.
Johnson then took control, taking two successive scalps on his way to his 200th Test wicket, before Nathan Lyon mopped up the tail with 2 for 23.
The one batting highlight for the visitors came with Kumar Sangakkara's 58, which saw him become the equal quickest batsman to surpass 10,000 Test runs.
6:00pm: Michael Clarke has prodded away the last ball of the day and that's stumps. The hosts are 3 for 150, six runs behind Sri Lanka's first innings total. Clarke is 20 not out and settling in, and a tentative-looking Shane Watson is unbeaten on 13.
All in all it was Australia's day, although Sri Lanka took control briefly at stages. The tourists are going to need a strong morning session tomorrow to have absolutely any chance of staying in touch with this game and, indeed, the series.
5:52pm: Jim says the official crowd figure is 67,138 for day one. With Clarke at the crease, one can only imagine it's going to be close to that tomorrow too.
5:48pm: Sri Lanka's voice of cricket isn't impressed with what he's seeing.
|@RoshanCricket There can always be if's in cricket but if Sanga had caught Watson at 130 it could have been lot tighter. Catch up cricket for SL again.|
5:45pm: Australia has reached the 150 mark, just six shy of Sri Lanka, and according to Jim Maxwell we'll get a few more overs in for the day.
The television broadcast is intermittently showing Mike Hussey in the sheds spinning a ball between his hands. Hopefully he's not expecting to have to bowl any time in the next two days.
5:33pm: In case you've been living under a rock, the Australian captain has been in extremely good touch this year. He's just brought up his 1,500th run of the calendar year. Have a listen.
Congratulations Michael Clarke.
5:31pm: Now the vice-captain has been grassed. Another extremely difficult chance put down as Sangakkara dives to his right for an edge off Shane Watson's bat on 5. Australia now 3 for 130.
5:21pm: CLARKE GETS A LIFE! The skipper swings at Herath and Tillakaratne Dilshan at short mid-on has lunged but only barely got a hand on the chance.
Tough opportunity, but one that could have changed the game to Sri Lanka's favour. Pup will need to make Sri Lanka pay for that mistake after being grassed on 5.
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c M Jayawardene b Prasad 36
3-117 (Watson 0*)
5:03pm: WICKET! Sri Lanka has righted the ship somewhat. Ed Cowan has been dismissed for 36 in the former style of Phil Hughes, flashing the bat outside off stump and sending an edge to Mahela Jayawardene in the slips off Prasad.
Australia is now 3 for 117, with captain Michael Clarke coming to the middle to join Shane Watson as the shadows grow longer at the MCG.
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run out 10
2-117 (Cowan 36*)
4:57pm: WICKET! And what a strange one. Ed Cowan took off for a quick single after a Dilshan misfield, but Phil Hughes didn't move.
He was frozen like the proverbial deer in the headlights, staring at the ball...until he looked up and saw Cowan practically on top of him. Hughes set off but it was too late and he was run out by a country mile for 10.
Silly dismissal for Australia. The hosts are now 2 for 117.
4:40pm: With a swat at a short ball, Phil Hughes is off the mark with a boundary over the slips cordon off Shaminda Eranga. Fruit for the sideboards, as Skull might say.
The Australian hundred came up on the previous delivery, but not off the bat - it was five wides.
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c sub (Randiv) b Mathews 62
1-95 (Cowan 30*)
4:30pm: WICKET! Warner went chasing a short Mathews ball and hit it flat, straight to substitute fielder Randiv at deep mid-wicket.
The burly left-hander is out for 62 off 46 balls, a Twenty20-speed half-century, and Australia is 1 for 95. Turns out Mathews was the gamechanger!
I owe Warner an apology - not two minutes ago I said in the office "who's going to stop this guy?" Commentator's curse in effect.
4:22pm: Well Mathews has had some impact - he bowled a maiden over which is as good as gold with Dave Warner at the crease.
Meanwhile it's drinks at the MCG with Australia sitting very pretty at 90 without loss. Warner is 57 not out, Cowan is unbeaten on 30.
And the latest news to hand is that Sri Lankan first-choice keeper Prasanna Jayawardene has a hairline fracture at the top of his right thumb.
Not a positive development for Sri Lanka, which is now likely to have to bat a man down in the second innings. Things could get ugly fast at the MCG.
4:18pm: Mahela Jayawardene has changed up the bowling attack to hopefully throw a spanner in Australia's well-oiled works.
Angelo Mathews, he of nine Test wickets at 78.22, has the ball in his hand. Will this be the tactic the Sri Lankans needed?
4:15pm: Nothing is going Sri Lanka's way this afternoon - a throw at the pegs has deflected off the stumps and Cowan and Warner have taken a pair of quick runs.
It's 0 for 85 in the 15th over - they're more than halfway to Sri Lanka's total in a third of the overs. Cowan has 29, Warner 53.
4:13pm: But I guess the crowd number at the MCG is dependent on where you're sitting...
|@RoshanCricket Warner making batting and the pitch look so easy in front of a crowd of near 70,000.|
4:10pm: Jim Maxwell makes a very good point - given the way Warner and Cowan are punishing the bowling with impunity, it's obvious there's no dearth of runs in this deck.
|@jimmaxcricket Over 65,000 fans watching measured maturing Warner showing us how good the pitch is &how badly Slanka missed the chance to produce more runs|
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50 for Warner
6 x 4s, 1 x 6
4:02pm: 50 FOR DAVID WARNER. He's brought up the half-century off 34 balls - why waste time? - and he's earned the round of applause that he's received from a 65,188-strong MCG crowd.
4:0pm: Speaking of that tough time, Warner has just picked up Welegedara and relocated him a dozen rows back. Unbelievable six.
3:58pm: While Messrs Cowan and Warner are giving the Sri Lankans a tough time in the middle, here's a statistical breakdown of Mitchell Johnson's 200 Test wickets by opponent.
3:50pm: Cowan's boundary has brought up the half-century partnership for this pair in the 10th over. It's going to be a long afternoon for the Sri Lankan fielders by the look of things.
3:41pm: That's the David Warner we know. His eyes lit up when he saw Eranga's delivery come down and he's popped it effortlessly to the long-off boundary for four. Geez he makes that look easy. Australia is 0 for 41 at the end of eight overs.
3:27pm: Sri Lanka is going to need to take wickets this afternoon if it's going to have any chance here. But Ed Cowan is getting the majority of the bowling at this very minute and he's no stranger to putting a wall up.
3:12pm: After that milestone-making innings with the bat, Kumar Sangakkara has pulled the gloves on to replace Prasanna Jayawardene behind the stumps after the latter injured his thumb batting.
3:10pm: We're back underway in what will be a slightly elongated evening session due to the early tea break. Chanaka Welegedara is bowling to Ed Cowan, and one would assume the paceman won't be too fatigued from his batting innings, given he was only out there for 37 seconds.
|Second Test: Tea, day one||Session highlights|| |
Sri Lanka 156 (43.4 overs)
M. Johnson 4/63 (14 overs)
N. Lyon 2/23 (5.4 overs)
J. Bird 2/32 (13 overs)
P. Siddle 2/30 (8 overs)
K. Sangakkara 58
P. Jayawardene 24
A. Mathews 15
2:50pm: That's tea and Sri Lanka has lost seven wickets in less than a session to fall for 156, a batting performance has called "pathetic". He's not far off the truth.
That was an equally impressive session for the Aussies, with Jackson Bird taking his second scalp and Mitchell Johnson dominating like the days of old, on his way to bagging his 200th Test wicket.
Australia can now bat at its leisure, and the MCG crowd is certain to see some power hitting this afternoon as David Warner takes the bat out.
|@RoshanCricket Lets take nothing away from the Aussie bowling but I am sorry it was more to do with very poor batting Sri Lanka! You could hv done better.|
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c Hussey b Lyon 0
10-156 (Eranga 4*)
2:48pm: WICKET! The offie has cleaned up the tail, with Chanaka Welegedara getting a second-ball duck to give Lyon his second. Again it was Mr Cricket who took the catch, albeit not in the slips where he was two balls ago.
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c Hussey b Lyon 14
9-156 (Eranga 4*)
2:46pm: WICKET! Lyon has broken up this big-swinging partnership, with Herath getting enough bat on one to send it skyward above Michael Hussey, who as we know doesn't drop those ones.
Herath is gone for 14, Lyon has his first and Sri Lanka is 9 for 156.
2:40pm: The ball is back in Nathan Lyon's hand with two wickets to get.
2:38pm: The way Herath has been throwing the bat at it has Kerry O'Keeffe wondering when Test cricket introduced the powerplay.
"I think Eranga gave it away when he went up to Herath and asked him what the required run rate was!"
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c Wade b Johnson 58
8-147 (Herath 9*)
2:34pm: WICKET! Mitchell Johnson has his man and his 200th Test wicket. Matthew Wade has run half-way to the boundary chasing down a towering mistimed shot from Kumar Sangakkara who finally departs for 58. He didn't take his eye off it for a second, textbook fielding that.
Sri Lanka is in a world of hurt at 8 for 147, leaving Herath at the crease with Shaminda Eranga on his way in.
2:29pm: Cheeky stuff. Herath has just swatted Bird to the boundary for a savage four. That could easily have gone pear-shaped and had Herath bowled, but instead it was sent to the sideboard.
2:26pm: And now Jackson Bird is back in the attack. Can the new kid on the block clean up the tail and earn himself a seat in the shade while his team-mates bat this afternoon?
2:23pm: No hat-trick. Herath is presumably fairly happy about this result.
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c Wade b Johnson 0
7-134 (Sangakkara 56*)
2:20pm: WICKET! Mitchell Johnson is on a hat-trick! Sri Lanka's day is going from bad to worse as Dhammika Prasad goes for a first-ball duck in his first appearance in the Test series. A short ball rockets off Prasad's top glove and offers Matthew Wade a simple catch. Rangana Herath is on strike and Johnson has 199 Test wickets.
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c Hughes b Johnson 24
6-134 (Sangakkara 56*)
2:18pm: WICKET! I bet Sri Lanka wishes drinks were longer (or stronger). Prasanna Jayawardene has succumbed to a brilliant delivery and handed Mitchell Johnson his second with an edge to Phil Hughes in the slips, leaving the tourists at 6 for 134.
What was that I posted a couple of minutes ago about Sangakkara running out of partners?
2:13pm: Drinks are on the field with Sri Lanka at 5 for 134 after resuming after lunch at 3 for 79. The runs are coming a little more freely but those two wickets really hurt the tourists. Kumar Sangakkara is unbeaten on 56 and Prasanna Jayawardene has 24 off 29.
2:10pm: Our own Drew Morphett just pointed out an interesting statistic. In Sangakkara's last seven Tests, his first innings totals were 199*, 192, 0, 5, 0, 4. So the way Drew looks at it, when Sangakkara makes more than 5 he's going to carry on and score 190.
Frankly he looks like he might today too, if he doesn't run out of partners.
2:08pm: WICKET? The Aussies have gone up for the lbw appeal and Jayawardene has been given, but the Sri Lankans wisely took the referral and the decision has been changed.
Jayawardene had feathered the ball onto his pad so he'll carry on with 19 to his name.
2:05pm: He might have nearly half his side's runs, and reached 10,000 for his career today, but Sangakkara isn't just a great batsman. He's a brilliant sledger too...
Thanks to former colleague for reminding me about that gem.
2:03pm: Michael Clarke has pulled bat-pad for Nathan Lyon in favour of another man in the deep. Seemingly there's not a lot of turn, if Pup expects Jayawardene and Sangakkara to chase after the spinner a bit.
Speaking of Prasanna Jayawardene, he's motored to 19 off as many balls. When did that happen?!
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50 for Sangakkara
7 x 4s, 0 x 6s
1:58pm: 50 FOR KUMAR SANGAKKARA. It's come off 85 deliveries, seven of which went for four off Johnson.
Wait, make it eight. Next ball he's played a gorgeous drive to the rope to move to 55.
1:57pm: Sangakkara just crushed one with a cut shot in front of point and Ed Cowan did a brilliant job of getting in front of it to stop the single.
1:54pm: The spinning styling of Nathan Lyon is back in the attack now. The pitch is drying up quickly in the Melbourne sun and it's noticeably whiter than it was earlier this morning.
Mitchell Johnson is back on for Siddle at the other end.
1:46pm: That's the hundred up for Sri Lanka, via a three from Sangakkara. He's the only anchor in this innings, and he's got almost half of his side's runs.
It's great news for Australian fans, although probably not the ones who bought tickets to day five.
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c Hussey b Siddle 15
5-99 (Sangakkara 46*)
1:40pm: WICKET! Sri Lanka took a look at this one after Peter Siddle's front heel is a line-ball call (sorry). He's behind the crease, but it's by a millimetre. Luckily a millimetre is enough for the Victorian crowd favourite.
Mike Hussey took a brilliant catch off a chunky edge by Angelo Mathews who departs after making a quickfire 15 off 13 balls. Siddle's got two-fer and Sri Lanka is 5 for 99. Is this a 50-over game?
1:34pm: Another maiden for debutant Bird, that's five in 11 overs. He has 2 for 16 at a stingy 1.45 runs per over. I reckon he's thinking he could get used to this Test cricket caper.
1:22pm: That last over from Peter Siddle wasn't necessarily a loose one but it's gone for 10, nine of which are attributed to Mathews. Sri Lanka is creeping towards the 100 mark at 4 for 90.
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c Warner b Bird 10
4-79 (Sangakkara 43*)
1:15pm: WICKET! Jackson Bird has drawn first Sri Lankan blood after the break, with a shorter one prompting Thilan Samaraweera to pull.
But the ball took the top edge, shot up and fell straight to the safe hands of David Warner.
The tourists are now 4 for 79 and staring down the barrel. Captain-in-waiting Angelo Mathews to the crease.
1:11pm: This blogger has just sat down to have lunch and the second session is almost ready to go. Who's going to strike first after lunch?
12:57pm: Resting paceman Mitchell Starc is the most talked-about man in Australian cricket today, surely. Grandstand's Geoff Lawson doesn't want the young quick to stagnate though:
|@henrylawson180 is Mitchell Stac on the afternoon flight to SCG for the 6ers tonight? He needs to bowl rather than sit on his backside in Melbourne|
|Second Test: Lunch, day one||Session highlights|| |
Sri Lanka 3-79 (25 overs)
M. Johnson 1/44 (9 overs)
J. Bird 1/16 (8 overs)
P. Siddle 1/6 (4 overs)
K. Sangakkara 43*
T. Samaraweera 10*
12:35pm: That's lunch at the MCG and while Australia still has the upper hand, Kumar Sangakkara has put up a gallant fight to make 43 not out in no time flat as Sri Lanka clawed back from 3 for 37 to reach 3 for 79 at the break. Thilan Samaraweera is unbeaten on 10.
Jackson Bird has bowled especially well in his first ever Test while Shane Watson and Peter Siddle all saw some lateral movement with the ball. Mitchell Johnson has been the most expensive but you can blame that on Sangakkara, who's got seven fours off the big Western Australian.
It'll be crucial for Australia to crack this partnership early in the middle session, otherwise you can see Sangakkara digging in and really causing some problems.
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10,000 Test runs
12:30pm: Congratulations Kumar Sangakkara on reaching 10,000 Test runs with his seventh boundary off Mitchell Johnson through the covers.
He did it in 195 innings - incredibly, the same amount of knocks as it took Brian Lara and Sachin Tendulkar.
The MCG crowd - Aussie and Sri Lankan fans alike - got to its collective feet for a richly deserved standing ovation.
12:28pm: With that three off Lyon, Kumar Sangakkara moves to 9,999 Test runs. He might have to think about that over salad sandwiches at lunch if he can't get a single in the last over before lunch.
Sri Lanka is 3 for 75 with Sangakkara in 39* and Thilan Samaraweera 10*.
12:26pm: There's still cricket on at the MCG, as Kerry discusses Christmas Day festivities, and Nathan Lyon is into the attack in the shadows of the lunch break.
12:20pm: Skull is pondering the "Jungle XI". Tiger O'Reilly, Greg "Fat Cat" Richie, even some of the participants of today's proceedings...
"There's a Bird, a Lyon...they're running between wickets like panthers. It's a jungle out there!"
12:12pm: Kumar Sangakkara has hit three boundaries in a row off Mitchell Johnson to bring up the 50 for Sri Lanka. He moves to 24, needing 16 more to reach the magical 10,000-run club.
With a no-ball he could do it this over.
12:02pm: Speaking of fresh legs, is into position in the commentary box alongside Roshan Abeysinghe for his first spell.
They're really getting into the key issues - whether Roshan would dive under or go over a big wave at the beach.
"I'd run for cover."
You and me both mate.
11:57am: Australian Test cricketer number 431 Jackson Bird is back into the attack. He's got 1 for 7 so far today.
11:50am: Half a shout! Watson and the Aussies behind the stumps went up with an appeal that lost momentum the higher they jumped.
There was a slight noise from Samaraweera (3*) but it was likely to have been bat-on-pad. Sri Lanka rolls on at 3 for 40.
11:43am: Oh Ric Finlay, you've done it again. Love the hashtag too.
If that's what the history books tell us, Sri Lanka could be in the field by the final session today.
|@RicFinlay 19 occasions at MCG where team is 3-37 or worse in match inns #1. Top final score was only 323, and only 4 others > 200. #SLcactus?|
11:42am: Jim Maxwell and Damien Fleming reckon Shane Watson is a one-in-every-10-years cricketer, given his ability to move the ball around and take wickets as well as bat at the top of the order.
Can the burly boy from Ipswich be the next man to take a scalp?
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c Wade b Siddle 3
3-37 (Sangakkara 12*)
11:34am: WICKET! This time it's Peter Siddle to strike, sending a poking Mahela Jayawardene back to the pavilion for a disappointing 3.
Not much of an edge there to Matthew Wade but enough to convince everyone without the need for a referral. Sri Lanka really hasn't been able to bed anything down thus far.
11:30am: Drinks are out in the first session with Sri Lanka at 2 for 36 after an hour. Kumar Sangakkara is unbeaten on 11 and Mahela Jayawardene is 3 not out.
11:28am: There's no shortage of colour in the crowd today either - the television cameras just caught a bloke in a wedding dress walking down the aisle with a cold one.
There was a group of lads in tuxedo T-shirts cheering on the blushing bride too.
11:25am: Bird has been relieved after his first spell in Test cricket, and a very good one it was. Five overs, two maidens, 1 for 7.
Vice-captain Shane Watson is into the attack, and Sangakkara immediately takes three off him. Too early to bring back Bird?
11:21am: Hometown hero and everyone's favourite vegan Peter Siddle has been tossed the ball.
Good spell for Mitchell Johnson - 1 for 20 from his first five overs. That's just what Australia needed. Sri Lanka is 2 for 31.
11:16am: Drew Morphett just mentioned that Johnson and Bird are the seventh and eighth different opening bowlers this summer. In five Tests.
On that note, here are some of the responses from you folks on the subject of the "rotation policy".
@NickyVMitch with all the injuries to bowlers so far the public should trust the Dr/physio/scientist's opinions.
@TheGenMcCarthy odd but hard to judge based on the 7 bowler injuries since the management system started. Well done Bird though!
@RoryBurnside I don't agree with resting players who don't need to be rested. Starc should have challenged the decision to rest him.
@RandomHammer we don't do it with batsmen do we so why bowlers?
@dionwing Starc has been given the Bird
@hammersaint They have taken away a player's dream.Very sad. The argument that he plays each form of the game is odd. Rest him from ODI's.
11:07am: In the commentary box alongside Roshan Abeysinghe is Victorian veteran Andrew McDonald.
"Ronnie" points out, quite rightfully, that this would be one intimidating venue for visitors to be in the middle of, especially on Boxing Day in front of 50,000 fans.
It's easy to forget too that this is only Sri Lanka's second Test at the 'G in 17 years. To put it in perspective, the first time Sri Lanka ran out in Melbourne was RT Ponting's second ever Test.
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b Johnson 11
2-19 (Sangakkara 0*)
11:01am: WICKET! Mitchell Johnson has dislodged the bails of key man Tillakaratne Dilshan for 11. Fantastic delivery with just a hint of movement coming back in, and it wasn't the smartest of strokes by Dilshan.
The tourists are on shaky ground already at 2 for 19. That's 197 Test wickets for the big left-armer.
10:56am: The subject on almost everybody's lips coming into - and no doubt throughout - this Test is the absence of Mitchell Starc.
Starc took a crucial 5 for 63 in Australia's thrilling first Test win at Bellerive Oval before Christmas but he's been "rested" for Melbourne.
What do you think of the move? and we'll put the best in the blog.
10:53am: A chance! Australia went up very confidently for a leg-side caught behind from Johnson to Dilshan, but it's ruled not out.
Replays show there was nothing in it, Hot Spot-wise.
10:51am: Everyone's favourite stats guru Ric Finlay has a goodie to get us started.
|@RicFinlay Fantastic dream start for JBird. Currently has the lowest bowling av of any Aus Test bowler: 2.00, heading off JBenaud, 6.00 #AusvSL|
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c Wade b Bird 5
1-13 (Dilshan 7*)
10:47am: WICKET! Jackson Bird has taken his first Test scalp after three brilliant deliveries. He's had the left-handed opener caught behind for 5 and Sri Lanka is 1 for 13.
I'm excited for him. My colleagues can attest to that. I think people well outside this office heard the shout too.
10:45am: TWO GREAT BALLS. Bird has just beaten Dimuth Karunaratne's bat with a pearler of a delivery. Next ball he's rapped him on the pad!
Too high, it hit him above the knee roll, but geez that's a good start to his second over of Test cricket.
10:44am: The first boundary of the Test is on the board thanks to Tillakaratne Dilshan off Johnson. Carved that beautifully, and boy does the outfield look incredible.
10:40am: It's been proven that he bowls well at the MCG - he took 10 for 96 for Tasmania in a Sheffield Shield clash with Victoria in November last year - and Bird's opening over was pretty solid.
Three runs off it, and aside from the second ball he wasn't too wayward. Onwards and upwards.
10:36am: The 431st Australian cricketer, Jackson Bird, is about to bowl his first ever ball for his nation.
10:34am: First over's done and Sri Lanka is 0 for 3.
And may we chime in to wish Australian gloveman Matthew Wade a happy 25th birthday. Do you reckon he only gets one lot of presents?
10:30am: We're about to get underway with Mitchell Johnson taking the rock for the first delivery in his 49th Test.
Johnson needs four wickets to reach 200 Test scalps. Can he do it in this match?
10:28am: Former Sri Lankan cricketer Russel Arnold reckons it's important for the tourists to take it step by step today.
|@RusselArnold69 The way to go... Batting first.. Look to bat 4 sessions.... Getting through to lunch is initial goal... Max 2 wickets|
10:18am: There's been just one change in the Sri Lankan line-up, with Dhammika Prasad replacing the injured Nuwan Kulasekara.
We're about to hear the national anthems and then it's go-time. Until then, you can hear what Jim Maxwell had to say ahead of day one.
10:11am: Michael Clarke just spoke to Jim Maxwell mid-pitch after the toss and it sounds like he's confident.
"I'm ready and I'm 100 per cent able to perform."
He also defended the rotation policy that has seen Mitchell Starc left out of the side, saying the paceman isn't 100 per cent fit anyway.
Clarke also didn't rule out the option that Peter Siddle may rest for the SCG Test next week.
"Very good player, has been successful for Tasmania ... over the last 12 months. I'm excited to see what he can do."
10:02am: Sri Lanka has won the toss and will bat first on what looks like a glorious day in Melbourne. We know how fickle Mother Nature can be in the Victorian capital though.
Sri Lankan skipper Mahela Jayawardene told Jim Maxwell he's confident in his aging batting line-up ahead of the second Test. Have a listen below.
9:54am: And he's not keeping us waiting for the second. How about this?
|@RoshanCricket Only 3 players Bradman, Sobers and Ponting have averaged 100 plus for a year. Clarke has a chance to be the 4th!|
Roshan also reminds us that debutant Jackson Bird is the first man to make his debut at the MCG since Brett Lee received his baggy green here in 1999.
Who could forget the day we first saw Binga unleashed on the world against India?
9:52am: Our Sri Lankan expert commentator Roshan Abeysinghe has chimed in with the first interesting stat of the day.
|@RoshanCricket This will b d last match for the calender year for both teams. Australia has won 6 out of 10 and SL 3 out of 9.|
9:49am: Depending on how the coin toss shakes out, it could be an historic day for veteran Sri Lankan Kumar Sangakkara.
He's just 40 runs shy of joining the 10,000-run club but could unwrap the milestone on Boxing Day at the 'G.
9:32am: In huge news for Australia, skipper Michael Clarke has passed a fitness test and will captain the side. That leaves Usman Khawaja as 12th man and takes some of the pressure of vice-captain Shane Watson.
9:30am: Word from the MCG is that Australian debutant Jackson Bird has been presented with his baggy green by former Test skipper Bill Lawry. He's the 431st player to be capped by Australia.
9:25am: , Drew Morphett, and Kerry O'Keeffe will lead off our commentary team at the MCG, with expert comments from Damien Fleming, Bryce McGain and Andrew McDonald. They will hit the airwaves at 10:05am and you can contact them via email (email@example.com), SMS (0467 920 222) or on Twitter (@abcgrandstand, using the hashtag ).
9:20am: Welcome to day one of the second Test in Melbourne between Australia and Sri Lanka. Play will begin at 10:30am. I'm and I'll be keeping you updated throughout the next five days.
|Australia ||Sri Lanka|
Mahela Jayawardene (c)
Michael Clarke (c)