Alex Carey makes Aussie Test history in never-before-seen feat at MCG

A debut Test hundred saw Alex Carey leave Australian fans, as well as his former coach, absolutely thrilled at the MCG.

Alex Carey hit hit his first Test century in a crucial juncture for Australia, as they defend their first innings total with a decimated bowling lineup. (Photo by WILLIAM WEST/AFP via Getty Images)
Alex Carey hit hit his first Test century in a crucial juncture for Australia, as they defend their first innings total with a decimated bowling lineup. (Photo by WILLIAM WEST/AFP via Getty Images)

Alex Carey has joined in Australia's first innings run-fest at the Boxing Day Test, becoming the first Australian wicketkeeper to reach a century in the iconic fixture. Australia needed as many first innings runs as possible thanks to a bowling attack beset by injuries, and Carey's debut Test century couldn't have come at a better time.

Playing just his 13th Test following the departure of Tim Paine, Carey and the injured Cameron Green (51 not out) held down the fort for the hosts after a brief collapse that saw the wickets of David Warner, Travis Head and Pat Cummins fall within the space of two overs. Carey's 111 helped Australia to a 386-run lead, with their defence off to a perfect start with Proteas skipper Dean Elgar dismissed before stumps.

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Not since Brad Haddin in 2013 has an Australian wicketkeeper scored a Test hundred, with Carey scoring his maiden ton in his 19th innings. The former AFL talent finally got his moment at the MCG, in scenes that left former coach Justin Langer in awe.

“I have got tingles all through my body” Langer said on Channel 7. “He is one of the really, really good people of Australian cricket and he should be immensely proud of that moment. The reason that you love seeing people like Alex Carey get rewarded, is because he works so hard as well.

“He works hard on his wicket keeping. He works hard on his batting and being the consummate team man. You’re just really happy for people like Alex Carey who achieve these milestones.”

After a previous highest score of 93 against Pakistan in Karachi earlier in 2022, the breakthrough century for Carey was also just the second time an Aussie wicketkeeper had hit a century at the MCG. The only other time it has happened came when Rod Marsh did so in 1977, however on that occasion it wasn't during the Boxing Day Test.

Alex Carey helps Aussies to commanding position in Boxing Day Test

After Cummins declared at 8-575, egged on by a vocal Melbourne crowd to see Australia's attack put the pressure in the visitors in the final session, fans got what they were after. Cummins snared the wicket of his opposite number amid a three-over spell of maidens.

However it was the unexpected return of Mitchell Starc to the bowling lineup that caught many off-guard, after he injured his finger on day one and was subsequently ruled out of the upcoming SCG Test. Bloodstains on his whites showed there was some determination involved in getting back out onto the field on day three, however it remains to be see what role Starc will play for the remainder of the match.

He and all-rounder Green, who scored 51 despite suffering a fractured finger himself, have pre-emptively been ruled out of the third Test. Runs became all the more important, leading to some questioning the wisdom of allowing Green to bat with a broken finger, however the gamble paid off for Australia.

Cameron Green will not bowl for the remainder of the Boxing Day Test after fracturing his finger on day two. (Photo by Daniel Pockett - CA/Cricket Australia via Getty Images)
Cameron Green will not bowl for the remainder of the Boxing Day Test after fracturing his finger on day two. (Photo by Daniel Pockett - CA/Cricket Australia via Getty Images)

Australia will also look at playing an extra spinner at the SCG, while former captain Ricky Ponting touted WA allrounder Aaron Hardie as a potential selection bolter. Tearaway paceman Lance Morris was also brought into the squad for the Adelaide Test against West Indies as injury cover and he could make his debut at the SCG.

"If we bring a spinner into the squad for Sydney it will be based on the conditions for Sydney," coach Andrew McDonald told SEN on Wednesday. "We've got a lot of work to do here, we've got a few in the casualty ward and that's going to limit our ability to press the whole time in the second innings.

"There's a bit of information to suggest it will be a drier surface in Sydney so you could see a spinner added."

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