Australian paceman Mitchell Starc departed the MCG on Sunday evening with steam pouring out of his ears, and understandably so.
After toiling away with the ball for six hours, the left-armer finally unearthed some extra bounce from the deck and caught the glove of Indian captain Ajinkya Rahane in the final over of day two.
But in a cruel twist of fate, the red Kookaburra spilt onto the turf after Travis Head’s elbow made contact with the ground while completing the regulation catch.
Australia’s fielders have now dropped five chances during the first innings in Melbourne, each with varying degrees of difficulty.
Steve Smith uncharacteristically missed a catch in the slips, young gun Cameron Green couldn’t hold onto a tough chance at gully, and even Australian skipper Tim Paine gifted debutant Shubman Gill an extra life in the morning session.
But Head’s missed opportunity was the final nail in the coffin for the depleted Aussies, who will need nothing less than a batting masterclass in the second innings to avoid a crushing defeat.
Mitchell Starc of Australia celebrates his 250th Test wicket.Source:Getty Images
“That last ball pretty much summed up our day,” Starc bitterly muttered after the match.
“Not our best day, but not our worst. We created a fair few chances, and unfortunately couldn’t hang on.
“There was some really good stuff from us … we just didn’t capitalise on some of the chances we created to finish in a better position.”
Rahane brought up his 12th Test century on Sunday, weathering the storm to put his nation in a commanding position in the second Test.
The 32-year-old became the first Indian captain to score a century at the MCG since Sachin Tendulkar achieved the feat in 1999.
“We probably could have got him out three or four, maybe five times before he got to 100,” Starc conceded.
“But he ran his luck and scored a good hundred, so well done to him.”
India’s Ajinkya Rahane celebrates scoring his century.Source:AFP
Starc joined an illustrious group of Australian cricketers on Sunday afternoon, becoming just the ninth bowler to take 250 Test wickets.
However, the 30-year-old was unfazed by the milestone, focused instead on the task at hand.
“I haven’t really thought about it to be honest,” Starc admitted. “I don’t think I’ve really been one for personal milestones.
“It’s a nice to have there to reflect on probably once I’m done with cricket, but we’ve got 15 wickets to take in this Test match to get us in a position to win.”
India are 5/277 at stumps on day two with a lead of 82 runs.
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