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Friday, January 1, 2021

Boxing Day Test ... Ashwin snares Smith for a duck !!

Today is 26.12 .. .. like the (forgotten) tradition of Pongal Test (once upon a time) at Chepauk, Melbourne hosts ‘Boxing Day’ test – Australians are batting first !

Despite Mike Tyson's son Miguel Leon not opting for a career in boxing, it appears that the Tyson fighting gene is rife as he displayed some quick hands on the pads.  In a recent Instagram post, Tyson uploaded a pad session of his son which has received an abundance of appreciation from boxing fans.  "He just started. Not trying to box just trying to stay fit. Morning workouts with the Baddest Dad on the Planet," Iron Mike captioned the video. The post received a wealth of support, with many fans claiming that he should definitely turn to professional fighting.

World heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua has made a substantial donation to help fund amateur boxing in Britain - saying he hopes "we have not lost the next generation" of fighters. Some clubs have closed and boxing was not included on a list of sports that received a £300m bailout in November. Briton Joshua, 31, gave a six-figure sum to the amateur boxing federations of England, Wales and Scotland. "Without grassroots boxing, there is no Anthony Joshua," he said. "The doors to these gyms are always open to any kid from any background," Joshua, who turned professional after winning Olympic gold at London 2012, told BBC.   

Boxing Day tests at Melbourne are a tradition – on this day in 1975, Lawrence Rowe was out for a duck .. .. ..and today Ashwin snared Steve Smith for a duck.

Could recall that on this day in 2003, Virender Sehwag set Australia ablaze with a brilliant knock of   195 on that first day.  He redefined the way you went about it at the top of the order.  He  hit 25 fours and five sixes and struck the ball so hard at times.

By change of events – now Ashwin is back to his prime place as ‘numero Uno’ spinner in Indian team.  As Gavaskar wrote, if he had not performed so well in the 1st, he would have been victimized !! – today he in the first session he took 2 wickets, with Smith (0) being one among that.   Shubman Gill and Mohammed Siraj made their debuts.

Less than two months ago Melbourne was yet to come out of its 112-day lockdown, although it was in its final stages. For that reason, even a month ago there seemed about as much chance of the Boxing Day Test being played at the MCG as there was of Field Marshal Mark McGowan of the Western Australia brigade softening a border. Cricket Australia had been making and re-making plans for alternate locations for the last Test match of the year. Could two Tests be played in Sydney as had happened several times before the WACA ground became a Test venue?   With Queensland’s politicians again making ad hoc exclusions to travellers, the most delicious solution came late last week when it was suggested that the Gabba would lose its Test as no travellers were allowed into the Sunshine State, including media and production staff. You can’t have your cake and eat it too, but apparently there are some state premiers with a sweet tooth.

The Melbourne Test starting on the 26th is a tradition of the modern kind. The original Boxing Day Test was in 1950 and followed up in 1952 but only held once in the 1960s, twice in the 1970s and then without a break since the New Zealand Test in 1980. Christmas cricket in Melbourne post-World War II was reserved mostly for the Victoria v NSW Sheffield Shield game, which ran either side of yule. Christmas Day was a rest day and, when possible, in the age of airlines some NSW players took a flight home at their own expense to spend the day with family.

When we played here last in 2018 – India won by 137 runs.  India 7 for 443 dec (Pujara 106, Kohli 82, Agarwal 76, Rohit 63*) and 8 for 106 dec (Cummins 6-27) beat Australia 151 (Bumrah 6-33) and 261 (Cummins 63)  

Boxing Day Test matches are cricket matches that are typically held on December 26, a day after Christmas, in Commonwealth nations Australia, South Africa, and New Zealand. But, the most popular one takes place at Australia’s iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG)… .. ‘Boxing Day’ does not connote ‘boxing’ sports! .. ..  the  date got the name because alms boxes were traditionally opened on the day, others state that servants were given presents on December 26 for working on Christmas Day.  It's also a public bank holiday in the UK. When 26 December is a Saturday, the Boxing Day bank holiday is moved to the next Monday. If 26 December falls on a Sunday, then the holiday is the following Tuesday.

Interesting !

With regards – S. Sampathkumar


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