Time Paine and his men might have endured a frustrating day on the field in the Boxing Day Test against India on Thursday but the Australia skipper did manage to have some fun in the middle with some cheeky banter.
The hosts were put through the grind by India’s batsmen on day two of the third Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground as the visitors declared their first innings at 443-7.
The Aussies were made to toil in the field for almost 170 overs over the course of two day with Cheteshwar Pujara’s second century of the series the highlight of the second day.
With wickets hard to come by for the hosts’ bowlers under the high heat and humidity of the Australian summer, Paine did his utmost best to induce a lapse in concentration in the Indian batsmen.
When Rohit Sharma was batting in the middle against Nathan Lyon, the Australian wicketkeeper made a cheeky reference to the batsman’s IPL franchise Mumbai Indians in a bid to make him shed his restraint approach at the crease.
“It’s been a toss up for me between (Rajasthan) Royals and (Mumbai) Indians, and if Rohit hits a six here, I am changing to Mumbai,” Paine said from behind the stumps much to Usman Khawaja’s bemusement in the slip cordon.
The Indian batsman did not succumb to the temptation ultimately but full marks to Paine for the effort. The Aussie captain could not resist getting in a dig at arch-rivals England too as he continued the on-field banter.
“Too many Poms at the Royals,” Paine said in reference to Rajasthan Royals’ huge English contingent comprising of Jos Buttler, Ben Stokes and Jofra Archer.
On a day where attritional cricket from India once again ruled the roost, Paine’s witty banter might just have been the high point for Australia.
Trent Boult put New Zealand firmly on the front foot in the second Test against Sri Lanka – taking six wickets in 15 balls as the tourists collapsed.
Angelo Mathews and Roshen Silva started day two at the crease, chasing a 90-run deficit on 88 for four after bowling New Zealand out for 178.
Five overs into the day and Boult had his first victim, Silva holing out for 21.
Three more wickets fell in the 39th over of the innings, Niroshan Dickwella caught by Tim Southee for four before Dilruwan Perera and Suranga Lakmal fell lbw on consecutive balls.
The hat-trick ball was negotiated but Dushmantha Chameera’s dismissal sealed a five-wicket haul and Lahiru Kumara was caught lbw as the tourists only put on ten runs for six wickets – four of which came off the bowling of Boult.
Jeet Raval and Tom Latham (74 no) then helped the Black Caps stretch their lead out, combining for a partnership of 121 before Sri Lanka struck just after tea dismissing Raval for 74.
Kane Williamson (48) fell just short of a half-century and the home side will resume on 231 for two.
Cheteshwar Pujara scored his 17th Test century as India’s batsmen continued to make Australia toil before declaring on 443 for seven on day two of the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne.
Pujara made 106 and there were also half-centuries from captain Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma – his first fifty outside Asia since 2015 – as the tourists built on their good base from day one at the MCG.
Kohli’s attacking declaration gave India’s bowlers six overs at Australia before the close but openers Marcus Harris (five) and Aaron Finch (three) survived as the hosts reached stumps on eight without loss, trailing by 435 runs.
India started the second day of the third Test on 215 for two and looking to hammer home their fine start with Pujara and Kohli well-set on 68 and 47 respectively.
Pujara brought up three figures in the morning session and the pair extended their third-wicket partnership to 170 before Kohli, 18 runs short of his 26th Test ton, picked out Finch at third man off the bowling of Mitchell Starc.
The in-form Pujara was bowled by Pat Cummins (three for 72) shortly afterwards – having taken his series tally to 328 from five innings – but Australia were unable to capitalise on the double breakthrough as India continued to make the hosts suffer in the field.
Sharma (63 not out), Rishabh Pant (39) and Ajinkya Rahane (34) all made contributions before Kohli opted to give his bowlers a chance at the Australian top order.
Harris and Finch had a few scares, with the former being struck on the helmet by a Jasprit Bumrah delivery, but managed to see out the session with their wickets intact.
The four-match series is 1-1 after the opening two Tests.