Boxing Day Tests are regarded as one of the most iconic events in World Cricket. It is hosted by the commonwealth nations such as Australia, New Zealand and South Africa on 26th December, a day after Christmas. However, it would be fair to say that the one hosted by Australia in Melbourne Cricket Ground is the most talked-about out of all others.
For those of you who don’t know, the first-ever Boxing Day Test was played between England and Australia during the 1950-51 Ashes series. The Indian Cricket Team have also played some Boxing Day Tests against Australia. So far, both the teams have played 9 games against each other.
The Men in Blue played their first Boxing Day Test against Australia in 1985. They have a pretty decent record against Australia when it comes to Boxing Day Tests. So far, India have played 9 Boxing Day Tests against Australia. India lost the game on 5 occasions, while they have won and drawn two matches apiece.
In this article, we look at three Indian players who won the Man of the Match award in the history of Boxing Day Test against Australia:
- Sachin Tendulkar: 1999 India tour of Australia
The 1999 India tour of Australia saw the Aussies whitewash Indians 3-0 in the Test series. India lost all three games of the series. However, what’s interesting to note that despite losing the second Test, Sachin Tendulkar was awarded the Man of the Match for his fighting knock.
After Australia put on a formidable 405-run total in the first innings, Sachin Tendulkar fought a lone battle in the second innings. He played an outstanding knock of 116 runs off 191 balls to take India to a decent 238-run total. He then again top-scored for India in their second innings, making 52 runs off 122 balls. India, however, were bundled out for just 195 as Australia won the Test by a big margin of 180 runs.
2. Jasprit Bumrah: 2018 India tour of Australia
Under the leadership of Virat Kohli, India created history in 2018 after registering their first-ever Test series win against Australia in Australia. Indian speedster, Jasprit Bumrah played an invaluable role in helping India dominate the series.
He ended as the leading wicket-taker in the series, picking 21 wickets in 4 matches at an average of 17.00. Jasprit Bumrah bagged the Man of the Match award in the Boxing Day Test played at Melbourne Cricket Ground. Bumrah took as many as 9 wickets in that Test, helping his team win the game by 137 runs.
3. Ajinkya Rahane: 2020 India tour of Australia
Many pundits rate Ajinkya Rahane’s century in the recently concluded second Test against Australia at the Melbourne Cricket Ground as the best knock of his Test Cricket career. Leading the side in the absence of Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane showed his importance in the side.
He played a fighting knock of 112 runs off 223 balls, including 12 fours. His knock helped India win the Test by 8 wickets and thereby level the series 1-1. Rahane was awarded Man of the Match for his spirited performance. Rahane’s knock has indeed brought India back into the series. Ahead of the third Test, Indians would hit the ground running full of confidence.