Heat turned on Boxing Day pitch – Rediff.com

MCG under pressure to deliver contest after Gabba let-down
The Melbourne Cricket Ground is under pressure to produce a pitch that delivers a fairer contest between bat and ball in the Boxing Day Test between Australia and South Africa after the series-opener at the Gabba was over within two days.
Australia won the Brisbane Test by six wickets as batters struggled on a green-top pitch that was criticised by South Africa captain Dean Elgar and earned a ‘below average’ rating by the International Cricket Council.
Along with fans denied action lasting up to five days, broadcasters also lost out on advertising revenue.
Cricket Australia operations chief Peter Roach said the governing body had no control over MCG curator Matt Page and his work on the pitch but would engage with him in the lead-up to the Test starting Monday.
“We expect our curators, again, to find that balance between bat and ball given the unique characteristics of the venue they are at,” Roach told reporters on Wednesday.
Last year’s Boxing Day Test was over within three days, as Australia thrashed England in a one-sided Ashes contest.
Australia vice captain Steve Smith said he hoped Melbourne would be kinder to batsmen, rating the Gabba pitch as “probably” the most difficult he had ever played on in his home nation.
“Some balls were sitting in the wicket, making divots, some were zinging through and it was just incredibly hard to bat against,” Smith said on Wednesday.
“Whether it was unsafe or not, it’s not really my place to judge, but it certainly wasn’t easy to bat.”
“As a batter I’d like (the wicket) to do a little bit less.”
“I think it’s a fine balance just trying to get that even contest between bat and ball.”
Australia will look to seal the three-match series with another victory in Melbourne.
Smith backs Warner to regain form
Australia batter Steve Smith on Wednesday backed under-fire David Warner to find Test form, saying the opener has a tendency of doing well when his “back’s up against the wall”.
Warner has been struggling in the longest format of the game. His last Test century came almost three years ago.
The opener could manage only three runs, which included a golden duck, in the first Test against South Africa, which the hosts won by six wickets inside two days.
Prior to the first Test against the Proteas, he had scores of 5, 48, 21, 28 in the four innings this summer.
“You only have to look back a (few) weeks ago (to) a one-day game out here (at the MCG) against England, he scored 100 on what was a pretty tough wicket,” Smith was quoted as saying by Australian Associated Press (AAP).
“We’ve seen David when his back’s up against the wall, he’s done pretty well.”
Warner had undergone a similar slump ahead of the T20 World Cup last year but the 36-year-old had turned it around in incredible fashion to help Australia win their maiden T20 World Cup. He was also adjudged player of the tournament.
“It doesn’t matter what format of the game, Davey always plays in a pretty similar way, which has been the beauty of him in Test cricket, being able to take the game on from ball one,” Smith said.
“Sometimes it doesn’t work, and he hasn’t had a great deal of luck lately.”
While Warner wants to play in India and the Ashes next year, if his woeful form continues, the Southpaw is likely to be dropped form the Test side.

India Cricket Score  |  Indian Cricket News  |  Indian News  |  Bollywood Movies  |  India Business News


Leave a Comment