8th December 2021: Pat Cummins walks out to lead the Australian side in his debut game as the skipper after a turbulent week post the resignation of Tim Paine in one of the oldest rivalries in the history of the game, The Ashes.
With stakes rocketing sky high and lack of consistent performances from his senior bowlers in Mitchell Starc and Nathan Lyon, the right-arm pacer walked in at the fortress of the Australian side for the all-important toss.
Little did he know, in the next couple of weeks, this Australian team would etch their name in the record books for putting up scintillating performances and carving their name in the glorious history of Australian cricket.
In 12 days of riveting cricket displayed by the two sides across three Test matches, Australia have been the dominant side in all three facets of the game and have sealed the five-match series with three wins.
While Pat Cummins and Travis Head propelled the side to a win in the first game, Jhye Richardson and Scott Boland displayed fast bowling of the highest calibre to script Australia's victory in the following two games.
With the stadium packed to capacity and the expectation of millions of fans, there is immense pressure on the players who step onto the field donning national colours.
Minutes before the toss on Boxing Day, a 32-year bowler was handed his Baggy Green by Josh Hazlewood. With a slight tear in his eyes and emotions running high, Boland made his much-awaited debut on a ground he grew up on.
After hours of gruelling sessions in the backyard and thousands of overs in the domestic circuit, Boland became the fourth Indigenous player to play for Australia in the longest format of the game.
On Tuesday, in front of his home crowd at the G, Boland dismantled the batting unit of the opposition with figures of six wickets for seven runs to power the home team to an emphatic win by an innings and 14 runs.
En route to this magical debut, the right-arm pacer shattered many records to seal the Ashes and ensure the Urn is safely guarded on Australian soil. Here are a few notable stats from the game.
A dream debut
Heading into the third day of the game, the onus of the England batting unit relied heavily on Joe Root and Ben Stokes. While the duo started steadily in the first couple of overs, Mitchell Starc got the ball to come into the left-hander to jolt England with a massive blow.
With a stutter early in the day, England failed to recover as Boland joined in the action bowling a probing line and length. He first scalped the wicket of Jonny Bairstow before getting the vital wicket of England skipper for 28 runs to help the home team inch closer to the series win.
He wreaked havoc in the middle-order of the visiting side to pick his maiden five-wicket haul in 19 deliveries to equal the record of fastest fifers in Test cricket along with Stuart Broad and Ernie Toshack.
While Broad registered this feat in 2015 at Trent Bridge against England, Toshack derailed the Indian batting unit at Brisbane in 1947.
A couple of balls after claiming his fifth wicket, Boland induced a thick edge off Ollie Robinson to pick up his sixth wicket and register the third-best figures in an innings by an Australian bowler on home soil on Test debut.
Albert Trott returned with figures of eight wickets of 43 runs against England at Adelaide in 1895, which is the best for an Australian bowler in an innings.
Root's sublime run with the bat
In a rather chaotic morning for the England side, Root, en route to his knock of 28 runs became the third player in the history of the game to score 1700 runs in a calendar year. The right-handed batter joined an elite list of players as he amassed 1708 runs in 29 innings at an average of 63.25.
(Creative - Most runs in a year)
In the year 2006, Mohammad Yousuf scored 1788 runs in 19 innings at an average of 99.33, which is the most runs in a calendar year, followed by Viv Richards with 1710 runs in 19 innings.
Batting woes for England
One of the significant causes of concern for the team management of the visiting side would be the dismal performances of the batting unit of the side. Barring the heroics of Root, England have struggled to get going and recorded 54 ducks in the calendar year, which is joint-most by any team in a season.
In the 1998 season, the Three Lions endured a similar run and accounted for 54 ducks. West Indies is next on this list, with 44 instances of batters dismissed without troubling the scorers in 2000.
England crumble in the first session
After a spirited bowling performance by the home team in the final hour of play on the second day, England stepped onto the field with a mountain to climb in order to save the Test match and the series.
While most people expected the visiting side to show some resistance, England were bundled out for 68 runs in the first hour of day three, recording their fifth-lowest total in an innings on the Australian side in the Test arena.
In 1887, they crawled their way to 45 runs at Sydney, which is their lowest, followed by 61 at Melbourne in 1902 and 1904.
England endure a year to forget
With a reasonably inexperienced batting unit, nothing seems to have gone right for the England outfit this season. After their thumping defeat in the third Test at the MCG, England have equaled the record for most losses in a calendar year in the most challenging form of the game. In 2003, Bangladesh struggled in the red-ball format and suffered nine losses as well.