Indian seamer Jasprit Bumrah took the mantle of the master of the MCG after delivering a straight-arm jab to Australia on Boxing Day.
The fast bowler bounced back from an indifferent start to the tour in the opening Test in Adelaide to rout the home team with four wickets after taking nine in Melbourne the last time he was there.
Bumrah took his MCG haul to 13 wickets in just three innings, at the unbelievable average of 10.9 to put his team, according to former Australian captain Allan Border, “way in front” after day one.
It was enough for Bumrah to snatch, if only for now, the title of MCG maestro after a first innings duck to Aussie Steve Smith dropped his batting average in Melbourne to only 100.
In the absence of experienced quick Mohammed Shami, Bumrah returned to being the force who netted 21 wickets in Indian’s 2-1 series win the last time they were in Australia.
“That’s the best I have seen Bumrah bowl, he was relentless,” Australian Test legend Shane Warne told Fox Cricket.
Despite taking the upper hand, Bumrah said the Indians, who dismissed Australia for 191 in the first innings in Adelaide before going on to lose, wouldn’t get lost thinking about what could happen
“We are trying to focus on the things we have at hand,” he said.
“Our team’s focus is on the first session. We are not looking too far ahead, or what has happened before, we are trying to be in the present.”
India made four changes to the team rolled for a record-low 36 in Adelaide, two of them forced after captain Virat Kohli returned homed and Mohammed Shami was out with a fractured arm.
Opener Shuban Gill and fast bowler Mohammed Siraj were handed test debuts, with Gill replacing Prithvi Shaw who was dropped.
Siraj, who only bowled with a leather cricket ball for the first time five years ago, removed Marnus Labuschagne then Cameron Green in a debut to remember.
The 26-year-old, who chose to stay on tour when his father passed away in Hyderabad last month, also took two catches.