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MCG pitch may surprise: Mitchell Starc

Mitchell Starc expects the MCG pitch to be “a surprise” for both teams in the Boxing Day Test a year after it earned a “poor” rating from the ICC
Mitchell Starc
Mitchell Starc
The Telegraph file picture

TT Bureau   |   Calcutta   |   Published 20.12.18, 12:51 PM

Mitchell Starc expects the MCG pitch to be “a surprise” for both teams in the Boxing Day Test a year after it earned a “poor” rating from the ICC. The Ashes Test ended in a dreary draw on a surface that offered little assistance to the bowlers.

During the early rounds of the Sheffield Shield, head curator Matt Page has attempted to inject more life into the drop-in wicket by putting a layer of sand between the concrete base and the pitch trays and leaving more grass on the pitch, methods expected to be repeated for the Test. But while the drop-in block is due to be replaced in March, Starc admitted that, for now, conditions remain a mystery.

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“I don’t know what to expect,” Starc was quoted as saying by a cricket specific website. “I didn’t play last year. I had to watch from the side and it didn’t do a thing for five days so hopefully they’ve sorted it out.

“It sounds like they’ve been trying a few things with the Shield cricket there in the first few rounds.

“I think it may be a surprise, what they actually dish out next week, but I think we’ll just sort of review this week and enjoy a moment of reflecting on the hard work we’ve had to do this week and then we’ll focus on Melbourne when we get there.”

The hard work shouldered by Australia’s bowlers included their efforts with the bat as Australia drew level in the four-match series in Perth.

“It’s an interesting one,” Starc said. “It’s something that we all work really hard at and we have done for a long time. Pat’s obviously fantastic at eight. He plays a bit more like a batter than the other three of us he can bat for long periods of time.

“I think it just showed in Adelaide how many balls he can face and really he looks comfortable at the crease. He may not at times feel that way but he looks very comfortable and, when he’s batting with someone like Painey or other batsmen, it’s just fantastic.

“Those partnerships make India bowl a lot more overs and then the other three of us we just try and hang around a bit and score a few runs and face a few balls.

“It’s something that I think our tail takes a lot of pride in. And then with the ball we’re trying to do the exact opposite for them and try to get them out really quickly.” 



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