The Ashes | The Boxing Day Test | The Melbourne Cricket Ground

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James

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Christmas Day in the UK, and this most crucial of test matches has crept up on me for one - coverage begins 10.30pm GMT today, just half a day away, with the first ball due to be bowled at 11.30pm GMT. Contrary to media reports, this is likely to be a flat wicket that holds up well. It will do a bit early on, but not much more than that. As usual, win the toss and bat.

VERY difficult to see what will happen in this test. This is one of the final matches of the cricket calendar in 2010 - the Perth aberration aside, England have been in the far superior form this year, but Australia have all the momentum coming into the game.

This is surely one of the biggest games the two great nations have played in quite some time...

An England win will see them take a 2-1 lead in the series with 1 to play, and the Ashes will be theirs.
An Australian win will leave England under severe pressure, needing to win the final game at Sydney to tie the series and retain the Ashes.
To me, the draw here looks even money, if both sides hold their nerve. This will leave England only needing a draw at Sydney to take the Ashes, and all the pressure will be on Australia to win on a wicket which is expected to aid Graeme Swann significantly.

All the noises out of the England camp indicate that the batting lineup will be unchanged, with Bell staying at six and everyone giving Collingwood an admirable and friendly backing, although whether he deserves it or not is another matter. Well, I suppose they have usually known what they are doing in the past...
Bowling lineup will remain a party of four, but may see a change. Anderson has come through a fitness test, Tremlett has taken 16 wickets in 3 games on this tour so he will feature, and Swann will play of course, so the 4th spot is the only one up for grabs. Finn's wicket-taking ability is a proven asset in test cricket, but he has bowled a lot of overs on this tour, and he may be fatigued and carrying a niggle. Either Tim Bresnan or Ajmal Shahzad will be eager to fill in for Stephen on this occasion, and both can have success here given their tendency to pitch the ball up and make the batsman play.

Ponting will play for Australia, meaning the unfortunate Khawaja will miss out again this time, but his time will surely come soon. The team is likely to be unchanged from the XI that just crushed England at Perth - only possible change would be one of the seamers (Siddle I imagine) making way for Michael Beer to debut, as this is expected to be a slow and low wicket where the spin bowler will come in handy at some point.

The crowd on day one is expected to be anything up to a huge 91,000, given the unpredictability and excitement that has surrounded this series, and the potentially huge ramifications from the result of this match. Unfortunately, the extreme weather conditions in the UK have grounded flights, and will prevent some England supporters from reaching Melbourne in time, but I hope we will still add to the vociferous atmosphere that is likely to be provided by the Australian fans.

so.......is anyone else excited?!
 
Great summary Whips. I'm excited, but I'm in Japan right now. Don't know how much of this Test I will be able to watch but I will definitely be following it when I can. May the best team win!!
 
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Very excited, Whippy!

Wishing I was there of course, but I have wonderful memories from the first two Tests, which I did get to.

I'm hoping Perth was just an aberration caused by the England seamers getting over-excited by the kind of pitch that's rarely seen nowadays and bowling too short to batsmen who don't have any particular weakness against the short ball.
 
I had a dream last night that England won a test. I don't know if it was this one or not, but the English commentators were celebrating winning the Ashes.
 
Kind of crazy that a 2-2 or 1-1 draw would be celebrated as a wonderful victory for England, when these days it would normally represent a disappointing result for us, or even a failure. I want to win the series and I think we are perfectly capable of doing so.
 
Yea, a draw would def be a failure, especially given England are at the peak and Australia at their lowest ebb in years.

If they can't be beaten now...
 
Ultimately, most teams lose here no matter what the Aussie XI is (some lose badly too). The objective was to retain the Ashes, so if this is accomplished then that is perfectly fine. But all things considered, it is about time England won a series here.
 
Very good preview! Of all the boxing day games, this one is the cream.

Ponting will play for Australia, meaning the unfortunate Khawaja will miss out again this time, but his time will surely come soon. The team is likely to be unchanged from the XI that just crushed England at Perth - only possible change would be one of the seamers (Siddle I imagine) making way for Michael Beer to debut, as this is expected to be a slow and low wicket where the spin bowler will come in handy at some point.

Would'nt swap Siddle on any track to be honest. Steve Smith should be capable enough to handle the spin duties.
 
Im very excited, got my sky sports ready to tune in at 10.30pm tonight, I will be switching to the Pak T20 game though:p but ill keep flicking channels back and forth at the right times.
 
Because it's a flat wicket, I think Swann will take England very close to victory unless one of Ponting or Clark gets in form and Johnson has another brilliant game.
 
Very good preview! Of all the boxing day games, this one is the cream.



Would'nt swap Siddle on any track to be honest. Steve Smith should be capable enough to handle the spin duties.

You mustn't have seen Smiffy bowl then.

Then again, the maxim should be "go in with your best attack". They should play a spinner ONLY IF whoever it is (Beer) is up to the standard. If not then you may as well have Ponting and Hussey bowling for all the good it will do. We don't necessarily need wickets from Beer, but he has to keep things tight.
 
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My thoughts before I go to bed (have another flight to catch in the morning):

  • OZ should only pick Beer IF he is international standard and can be economical. I can accept him not being very threatening - but I can't accept him leaking runs when we are trying to attack from the other end
  • Time for the real Peter Siddle to please stand up
  • Time for Collywobble to stop being a collywobble and bat like a No.5 batsman
  • Hughes needs to show us what all the fuss is about
  • Swann has underwhelmed so far this tour, second innings in Adelaide aside. This is the perfect Test to stamp his authority on proceedings
  • If MJ can prove that his ability to swing the ball in at the WACA was not just due to the Fremantle Doctor, then the Poms are going to be in for a rough time at the crease. If not then we'll be looking at another 500+ score from them. MJ is THAT important.
  • Anderson, Cook and Trott are showing signs of losing steam at the business end. If they can recapture their early series form then the Poms will be extremely tough to beat.
  • Momentum during the match is very important. Momentum between matches doesn't mean much.
 
Very excited. Will probably watch this over the T20 in New Zealand. Cant wait to see the English bowlers getting smacked around
 
I dont think the last 3 tests have any bearing on whose Favs or who has an edge going into this test. Both teams have had postive points during series and negative ones. Englands Attack looks better all round, Aussies are reliant on individuals coming to the party.

Both batting line ups also look suspect when conditions assist the bowlers. If a green wicket is being produced then the toss could be crucial as 1st inns scores may then dictate the out come of this game. Good luck to both sides.
 
I want this Test to be an exciting draw like a team saving the game by one wicket or something and then these two go to the final Test for the kill. That will be certainly exciting.

Can't wait for today's match to start in front of 90,000 people. What amazing feeling will it be to be there!
 
Because it's a flat wicket, I think Swann will take England very close to victory unless one of Ponting or Clark gets in form and Johnson has another brilliant game.

Johnson having two good games in s row is rare.
 
I think Aussies will win it and it won't be a slow and low wicket lol, it will be "considerably slower than the perth wicket". That's different because the perth wicket is really fast, MCG will have pace and bounce in it on Day 2 but i think it'll still cause batsmen problems with the new ball as it'll be hard.

As for the spin option, if Ponting and co feel that Beer is the best spinner in the country then go in with him, if not stick with 4 seamers. It's about who can get you more wickets, siddle or beer.

I would personally play siddle on this wicket because with his pace and effort bowling he can probably muster out wickets more than beer or even hilfenhaus.

Really looking forward to it, going to be pretty interesting first hour, will stay up for the first session and watch the rest in highlights, cba to stay up 4 pak game, it's a T20 and i don't rate T20's :p

As for the crowd, all tickets have been sold out, i went on the Ticketek website just to check and clicked on day one, they were all alloc. exhausted. Apparently 10,000 seats will be available on the day through gate 2, does that mean it could go up to 100,000 or not?
 
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England are in troube imo. Anderson has recovered from his strain but him not being fully fit will be a problem for England.

Khawaja would have been better than Smith who didn't bowl in the 2nd test and didn't look to clever with the bat either.

Ponting has to fire sooner or later but Mr Cricket is just on fire and what difference between him and Collingwood at no.5.

Johnson will be the key again, if he keeps swinging it England will struggle to get the runs they need.
 
i think its hilfenaus number now as the other three have performed once. or may be watooo twatoo
 
This pitch should suit the Swann if it turns out to be a typical drop in Melbourne pitch so England favourites though Australia have the momentum.
 
Just landed in Manilla so didn't get to see any of the days play. One word comes to mind looking at the scoreline:

HOPELESS
 
Its coming home, its coming home......

Ashes are coming home.

Barring some terrible whether England should win the match and retain the ashes here at the MCG.

Even in the last 2 decades of total domination even Australia didn't win a day comprehensively as England did here.

All Englishmen will have big smiles on their faces today.
 
The Aussies have surrendered the Ashes on day 1.

There is no way back for them barring the miracles of miracles.
 
The Aussies have surrendered the Ashes on day 1.

There is no way back for them barring the miracles of miracles.

Barring a bowling performance of genius tomorrow, they need a Mister Cricket double ton to stay in the match.....
 
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