Australia’s last victory in a Boxing Day Test match came in 2016 when they had beaten Pakistan by an innings and 18 runs.
Steve Smith has shown his support for the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) to be the permanent venue for the Boxing Day Test despite concerns on the pitch’s condition. In this year’s match, the Aussies will face New Zealand at the said venue starting December 26. It will be the second of three Test matches, with the first being played on December 12 in Perth.
The MCG recently came under fire when a match in the Sheffield Shield was abandoned due to it being unplayable. As a result, there were several batsmen that were hit because of the uneven surface. Cricket Australia has assured that a different surface will be used for the upcoming Test match. They also said that they will continue to work with Matt Page to make sure that the pitch is up to international standards.
‘He’s a good curator and he’ll be doing what he can to get us a good wicket for Boxing Day’, said Smith in an interview. ‘Then I guess they have another year to work on their wickets to give us an even contest for bat and ball, that’s what we want to see’.
Over the past few years, the MCG has received average reviews. In 2017, following the Boxing Day Test against England, the pitch was given a ‘poor’ rating by the ICC for being ‘too unfriendly to bowlers’. In 2018, it was rated as ‘average’ after India beat Australia. In an effort to bring the pitch back to its former glorious state, extreme measures have been taken.
Smith added that ‘I’ve had some of my great memories of cricket walking out there on Boxing Day, listening to the anthems, you get kind of a shiver down your spine… The Boxing Day Test in Melbourne is something I look forward to every year. It’s a great occasion and I would love for Melbourne to keep it’.
Australia’s next matches will be against New Zealand. To find out more about Australia’s upcoming matches, visit Betwala’s page.
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