Ashes to Aussies as Boland destroys England

By Kersi Meher-Homji

What a convincing innings victory by Australia in the Melbourne Test today! The 5-day Test ended in two days and one hour. As the Aussies had won by big margins at Brisbane and Adelaide they have retained the Ashes 3-0 with two Tests still to be played.

There were many heroes for Australia in the third Test at Melbourne but the Person of the Match was debutant Scott Boland from Victoria who captured six wickets for seven runs overs in the second innings.

Having won the first Test at Brisbane by 9 wickets and the second by 275 runs at Adelaide, Australia started the Melbourne Test, watched by almost 70,000 (despite COVID fears) with confidence.

Winning the toss Australia’s captain Pat Cummins sent England in to bat. He took the first three wickets and England was bowled out for 185 runs. Top scorer was their skipper Joe Root with 50 runs. The main wicket takers were fast bowler Cummins and off-spinner Nathan Lyon who both coincidentally took 3 for 36.

Australia replied with 267 to lead by 82 runs. Opening batsman Marcus Harris scored 76 while England’s experienced fast bowler Jimmy Anderson captured 4 for 33.

Now the real drama started as England was bowled out for a miserable total of 68 on a good batting pitch. After Mitchell Starc took 3 for 29, Boland of Aboriginal origin, weaved a magic wand capturing 6 wickets for only 7 runs in 4 lethal overs.

Australia won by an innings and 82 runs. Only one bowler had conceded fewer runs than Boland in a men’s Test while taking 6 or more wickets in an innings. It was Jermaine Lawson of West Indies who had taken 6 wickets for 3 runs against Bangladesh at Dhaka in 2002. It was Lawson’s third Test. However, Boland had achieved this feat in his first Test. Truly amazing!

Said an ecstatic Scott Boland at the presentation when he received the Mullagh Medal amidst a big roar from the Victorian fans. “Coming here today, thought we had a good chance. Found out on Christmas Eve, told some family and friends. Thought it was going to be really tough, a big step up. Hoping to make a little bit of an impact. Like to thank the crowd for all the support, really appreciate it. There were about 17 of us [aboriginals] who went away a few years [ago] to commemorate the 1868 tour, very proud to win this award.”

Australian skipper Cummins appeared just as delighted with the victory, “It’s pretty insane…an awesome few weeks, so proud of the group. Everything has clicked. So happy for Scotty [Boland] in front of his home crowd. I think we’ve been relentless. The bowlers have owned that good area. Some big partnerships, they have earned the right to bat long. They’ve been really brave and taken on the game. Michael Neser, really disappointed he didn’t get the chance, but a great sign of the strength of Australian cricket. We were really confident Scotty would do a great job. Maybe not 6 for 7! Any Ashes series is when you try and make a mark on your Test career. Last series was 4-0, one before that was 5-0, so a chance to start cementing our identity.”

Dear e-TIDU cricket fans, see you at the Sydney Cricket Ground next week. Meanwhile wishing you all A Happy COVID-free New Year.

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