'It's a dream come true' - Pattinson
James Pattinson, the Australia fast bowler, has described his first Boxing Day Test as "a dream come true" after he won the Man-of-the-Match award in the 122-run victory over India. Pattinson, 21, was born and raised in Melbourne and regularly attended MCG Tests with his family, and he had plenty of support from his hometown crowd as he collected match figures of 6 for 108.
In doing so, he compiled an impressive list of victims, including Virender Sehwag, Rahul Dravid, VVS Laxman and MS Dhoni, although he did not manage to claim the prize wicket of Sachin Tendulkar. Asked if his first Boxing Day Test was everything he expected it to be, Pattinson said "and more".
"For me it's a dream come true to play cricket for Australia," Pattinson said. "To be out there on Boxing Day and against India, with the batting line-up ... I know Sachin … I wasn't even born when he started playing cricket. To go out there and bowl against him and have some success against their batsmen is just unbelievable. To get a win is even better."
Pattinson showed plenty of aggression against India, who came in to the match with a line-up boasting 53,560 Test runs, an all-time record for a team's aggregate. He was no-balled for bowling three bouncers in an over during India's second innings, and although he didn't pick up a wicket with a bouncer, it proved an effective way to keep the batsmen guessing.
"[It was] not really a conscious effort, it's just the way I play cricket," Pattinson said. "It's the way I've been brought up. I like to attack, I like to go out there and do my own stuff. It's not a conscious effort; it's just the way I play."
It wasn't just Pattinson's wickets that contributed to Australia's victory. In the first innings, he finished unbeaten on 18 and in the second he was not out on 37, one of only four men to reach double figures. In that knock he played some fine strokes, including a couple of searing drives past mid-off against the bowling of Umesh Yadav.
His 43-run partnership with Ben Hilfenhaus for the final wicket was vital, as it took India's target from less than 250 to a not-so-manageable 292. Only once in his five Test innings has he failed to reach double figures, and he knew that his runs at the end of Australia's batting performance could have been match-deciding.
"Nowadays the way cricket is going, you need to be able to bat towards the end. You've seen so many valuable partnerships from the last two in many games of cricket. It's something that I've put a big emphasis on in the nets.
"It does help. It does put the game back in our favour and the opening batsmen didn't want to be stuck out there too much longer, which they were. So it was big for us and it's just good that I can help out with the bat."
Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo