26 Dec 2016

Boxing Day Test rained off in Melbourne

7:25 pm on 26 December 2016

Rain forced day one of the Boxing Day Test to be called off early, with no play possible after tea.

Jackson Bird (R) shouts a successful caught behind appeal against Mohammad Amir.

Jackson Bird (R) shouts a successful caught behind appeal against Mohammad Amir. Photo: AFP

Paceman Jackson Bird struck twice after lunch to give Australia the upper hand.

Light rain meant tea was taken seven minutes early, with Pakistan 4-142 after winning the toss.

But the rain persisted and play was called off for the day at 4.45pm (AEDT).

Day two is scheduled to start half an hour early at 10am (AEDT)

Rain is forecast on every day of the Test and the main MCG lights were on at noon.

Opener Azhar Ali had anchored the innings with 66 in the gloomy conditions, while first-Test hero Asad Shafiq was four not out.

Bird (2-53) produced a superb delivery to bowl Younis Khan between bat and pad for 21.

Nic Maddinson then took an outstanding reflex catch at short leg off Bird's bowling to send captain Misbah-ul-Haq on his way for 11.

The umpires reviewed Maddinson's catch before confirming the dismissal, with the fielder just getting his fingers under the ball.

Earlier, opening bowler Josh Hazlewood struck with the last ball before lunch to give Australia a slight early advantage.

Pakistan went into the first break at 2-60, with Australian captain Steve Smith ending the session by also taking a low, finger-tip catch at second slip to dismiss No.3 Babar Azam for 23.

The introduction of spinner Nathan Lyon into the attack after less than an hour of play paid immediate dividends when he dismissed Sami Aslam for nine.

Thanks to one of the locals, it was already an eventful last over of the morning session before Babar's dismissal.

Just as Hazlewood was bowling his third delivery, Azhar pulled away from the crease because a fly was buzzing inside his helmet.

The Australian quick was not impressed and the umpires spoke to Azhar, who protested his case.

The ball was re-bowled and Azhar drove it into the covers for three.

But Hazlewood was rewarded for some tight bowling when Smith just managed to snare Babar's edged shot.

Lyon had been the shining light in the humid conditions as Pakistan made a watchful start.

It proved a tactical masterstroke from Smith.

Lyon's third delivery was a beauty and Aslam edged it to Smith at first slip for a regulation catch.

Pakistan made one change, with Sohail Khan coming into the side at Rahat Ali's expense, with Australian side unchanged.

Smith said at the toss he also would have batted.