Mosey around the MCG
Ends: Members End, Great Southern Stand End
Home Team: Victoria
Test History: 108 Tests; 62 home wins, 30 away wins, 16 draws
Last 10 Tests: 8 home wins, 1 away win, 1 draw
Last 10 Tosses: 8 batted first (4 wins, 3 defeats, 1 draw); 2 fielded first (1 win, 1 loss)
Regarded as Australia’s premier sporting venue, the ‘G’ has played host to the country’s biggest cricket and Australian Rules Football matches, and many other significant sporting contests for over one hundred years.
The highlight of the Australian sporting calendar for many though is the Boxing Day Test at the MCG.
At one point the vast bowl had a capacity topping 125,000, but the conversion of virtually all areas of the ground to seating has seen the total drop below six figures.
Notwithstanding the fact that various curators drew fire from players and spectators alike for producing a succession of wearing, low bouncing surfaces through the 1980s and early 1990s, pitches at the MCG have, for most of its history, generally facilitated well balanced contests between bat and ball.
Last Time Out
A young West Indies team got a thumping last year mainly thanks to four centuries in the first Innings with David Warner the only one of the five batsman who got out in to the middle to not pass three figures.
Nathan Lyon had an enjoyable Test claiming seven wickets including first innings figures of 4 for 66.
Australia won by 177 runs.
David Warner said in 2014: “It’s a very good batting wicket. There’s not much sideways movement with the new ball but when the ball gets older and a bit softer there’s a bit of reverse swing and I think that is going to be the key when we take the field, to try to get that ball going a bit, dry up the runs and get ten opportunities.”
Curator David Sandurski said ahead of the Test: “It’s one of those wickets that, once you get in, you should be right.
“You’re going to have to fight hard early; the ball might do a bit early.
“But once you get through that first session, especially with the new ball, you should be right.
“Melbourne is the sort of wicket where you can’t go blasting off from ball one – you have to take your time and get used to the conditions.”
Happy Hunting Ground
Steve Smith has enjoyed this ground in the past scoring two Test centuries in four Tests at the MCG.
Lyon has claimed 19 wickets in five previous Tests at the traditional Boxing Day venue.
While it isn’t going to turn square this pitch should be the closest in character to what Pakistan are used to and they could pose a serious threat to Australia.
Traditionally teams winning the toss have opted to bat first and that should be no different this time around.
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