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First Test shouldn’t have been at MCG: Clark

Fast bowler Stuart Clark feels Australia have squandered the home advantage by allowing India to start their Test series Down Under at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

Clark was quoted as saying in The Age, it would have been ideal for the world champions to have their tour opener at bouncier wickets like Brisbane and Perth.

Clark said Australia’s pacers would enter the Boxing Day Test with “little expectation” of assistance from the Melbourne wicket, which curator Tony Ware believes will favour spin as the match progresses.

“That way, we could really ram home our advantage,” Clark said. “The conditions in Brisbane and Perth are so different to what you find in the subcontinent, and it would obviously be ideal from our perspective to play the first Test of series in places like that.

“Of course, that’s easier said than done with the crammed schedules these days and the Future Tours Programme to comply with. But from the team’s perspective, it would be great if we were able to start series against the Indians and the Sri Lankans at grounds like Brisbane and Perth and get the full advantage of our unique pitch conditions.

“The Indians don’t get a lot of exposure to our bouncier surfaces and you’d probably say Melbourne isn’t one of those,” Clark said. “I’m not going into the match with any expectations for a fast bowler-friendly wicket, but we’ll just roll up on the day and see what we’re presented with.

Bollywood calling

Four Australians will make their debut in Bollywood during the Boxing Day and New Year Tests.

According to a report in The Age, an entourage from India will arrive in Melbourne to film crowd scenes for a new Bollywood film Victory, in which Brett Lee will make an appearance. Lee will shoot for two days between matches.

England cricketers ó Simon Jones and Sajid Mahmood ó and from New Zealand will join Australians Lee, Mike Hussey, Stuart Clark and Shaun Tait for filming at the SCG and North Sydney Oval after the first Test. “I’m really excited to get my movie career under way,” said Clark.

“To be fair, I’m not quite sure what I’ll be doing,” the fast bowler added. “It’s really about Brett. I’m just one of the extras.”

The story is about a young boy from a small town who overcomes adversity to reach the top. The lead actor is Harman Baweja, who is expected to be in Melbourne to film a scene where he walks on to the pitch during the Boxing Day Test.

Cricket Australia has been supportive. “They have been very supportive. They understand that India is a huge market and it’s a good thing for cricket,” Maxwell said.

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