Plays of the day December 26, 2007

Kumble's arrival and Warne's revival

Cricinfo staff

Turning his arm and turning over the Australians, Anil Kumble arrived at the MCG with a bang © Getty Images

Turning the momentum
Touring captains usually arrive in Australia under pressure but it was Anil Kumble who applied it to the home side on day one. Australia's openers reached 135 when Kumble unbalanced Phil Jaques with a wrong'un that the batsman didn't spot before achieving something unthinkable by out-classing Michael Hussey with a similar delivery. Talk in Australia prior to the Test centred around how the Indians would react to Brad Hogg's variations, but Kumble created the immediate problems, taking three batsmen with googlies and two with legspinners.

Beware of the captain
It took a sublime 144 from Sourav Ganguly, their captain, to revive India on the last trip in 2003-04. This time it was again their leader dealing the opening blow with five wickets. It was the second time Kumble earned a spot on the honours board at the MCG, emulating Bhagwat Chandrasekar, his state-mate, who also claimed five in an innings twice.

Hogg's happy holidays
Boxing Day looked as if still Christmas for Hogg. As he sung the national anthem, Hogg could not stop smiling at the thought of playing his first Test since 2003. He, however, had to wait for action and after Australia elected to bat, he settled down with a book in the first session. Hogg was called later in the day, made 17, and is looking forward to bowling into the footmarks that will grow from the work of the game's large contingent of left-armers.

Everywhere man
It seems impossible, but Shane Warne may have increased his presence at the MCG since last year's Boxing Day when he took his 700th wicket in his final Test on his home ground. Twelve months later, he is donating items to the Melbourne Cricket Club in the morning, playing with the schoolchildren on the oval at lunch, being appointed to a leadership role with Cricket Australia and completing a stint in the Nine commentary box. But that wasn't all. Cartoon figures of Warne are shown on the sight-screen and the scoreboard promoting a beer company, so he can't escape even if he doesn't turn up for the rest of the game.

He's not a Victorian
After having Warne to cheer for the past 15 years, Melbourne supporters were left without a local to celebrate and had to adopt. Ricky Ponting and Andrew Symonds received the greatest roars from the crowd of 68,465 when they walked out to bat, but there was also loud support for each Indian wicket and the arrival of Sachin Tendulkar for his over before tea.

Curator escapes a sledge
Concerns have been raised over the MCG's drop-in pitches following dreary domestic games this season and Matthew Hayden spent a lot of time talking about the surface at stumps. However, he wasn't complaining too loudly and when asked if he thought the wicket was Test standard he said: "It's hard to argue with that when I've got six hundreds on it. I'd be a game man to sledge the curator."