Ravindra Jadeja has marked his return to India's Test XI with an extraordinary moment in the field during the first session of the Boxing Day Test at the MCG on Saturday.
The Indians got off to a flying start after fast bowler Jasprit Bumrah removed Aussie opener Joe Burns for a duck.
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Burns went into the series under immense pressure, before an unbeaten half century in the first Test afforded him a stay of execution.
— News Cricket (@NewsCorpCricket) December 25, 2020
However, the Queensland opener's spot will no doubt be under the microscope once more after his first innings failure in Melbourne.
Burns' opening partner Matthew Wade started strongly in contrast, racing to 30 runs before a brain explosion proved his undoing.
Wade charged down the pitch to try and smash spinner Ravi Ashwin through the on-side, but the left-handed batsman badly misjudged the flight of the delivery.
The 33-year-old's shot went way into the sky, with Jadeja and Shubman Gill both looking to catch the same ball in the Indian outfield.
The pair weren’t part of the first Test in Adelaide and a communication breakdown in the outfield left them on a collision course as they both tried to snaffle the catch.
Neither man conceded ground as they both came into contact with one another - Jadeja somehow managing to take the catch and avoid injury after running into his teammate.
Wtf was Gill even trying to do there when Jadeja had already called it 🤣🤣 https://t.co/B039f1Vzd4
— ` (@FourOverthrows) December 26, 2020
— Players' Lounge (@PlayersLounge__) December 26, 2020
The catch by Jadeja was Lit Af 🤩🤩🤩🤩🔥🔥
— Surya Akella (@SuryaAkella7) December 26, 2020
This was close. If the clash was big gill would have injured himself. It was clearly in jadeja's hands.
— RM Babariya (@BabariyaRm) December 26, 2020
Howwwwww has Jadeja held onto that 😳😳😳
— Jimmy Neesham (@JimmyNeesh) December 26, 2020
Anyone but Jadeja and he drops it. Like some sort of rugby training session ffs
— Jamie (@j_bwp) December 26, 2020
No wonder why he is called Sir Jadeja!😎🔥
— Saumitra Agashe (@AgasheSaumitra) December 26, 2020
The Aussies soon found themselves three wickets down when Steve Smith became Ashwin's second scalp after being caught trying to flick the spinner down the leg side.
Marnus Labuschagne survived becoming the fourth Australian to fall a short time later after successfully challenging an LBW decision moments before lunch.
The Aussies finished the first session at 3/65.
MCG serving as COVID-19 crowd test
The Boxing Day Test is serving as a test case for Victoria's COVID-19 protocols, with the state government considering further lifting the crowd capacity at sporting events from next month.
Up to 30,000 cricket fans were expected through the MCG gates for day one of the second Test as crowds return to the famous venue for the first time since March.
The limit had originally been set at 25,000, but was raised earlier this month as Victoria's run of days without a locally-acquired coronavirus case continued.
That streak has now reached 57 days and Victoria's Minister for Sport Martin Pakula on Saturday raised hopes the attendance limit could soon be lifted beyond the current 30 per cent of a venue's capacity.
The news comes with Melbourne still a chance to be given the third Test of the Border-Gavaskar series - scheduled to start on January 7 - if Cricket Australia decides to move it from Sydney amid the latest coronavirus outbreak.
Melbourne will also host Big Bash League matches later in January with the prospect of larger crowds.
"If we continue to maintain that COVID-free run and we continue to maintain those very low numbers and good testing numbers, then the opportunity exists for there to be higher crowds at future events," Pakula said.
"This (Boxing Day Test) was always going to be the event where we were more on the conservative side when it comes to crowd numbers.
"We want to test the processes and it's not just about the systems here at the 'G; it's about how people get in and out of the ground, public transport and all of that."
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