Australia vs New Zealand: Steve Smith hopes MCG will produce a 'good wicket' for Boxing Day Test despite worries over pitch

A Sheffield Shield match at the MCG was abandoned on Sunday because of a dangerous pitch with several Western Australia batsmen sustaining blows to the body from deliveries that reared up at them.

Reuters, Dec 09, 2019 17:45:15 IST

Melbourne: Australia’s batting mainstay Steve Smith is confident the Boxing Day Test against New Zealand will be played on a safe, quality pitch at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) and does not want the venue to lose the marquee fixture over surface concerns.

A Sheffield Shield match at the MCG was abandoned on Sunday because of a dangerous pitch with several Western Australia batsmen sustaining blows to the body from deliveries that reared up at them.

Australia vs New Zealand: Steve Smith hopes MCG will produce a good wicket for Boxing Day Test despite worries over pitch

File image of Steve Smith. AP

Cricket Australia said a different pitch had been earmarked for the second Test against New Zealand starting on 26 December but they will still work with MCG curator Matt Page to ensure it was of international standards.

“He’s a good curator and he’ll be doing what he can to get us a good wicket for Boxing Day,” Smith told reporters in Perth on Monday.

“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.”

A lifeless MCG pitch received a “poor” rating from the governing International Cricket Council in 2017 while last year’s surface against India was rated “average” even though the tourists took 20 wickets to comprehensively win the match.

Irrespective of the negative ratings, Smith would like the marquee match to stay at the hallowed venue.

“I’d love for it to stay, it’s part of the tradition of Australian cricket for a long time,” said the 30-year-old.

“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.”

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Updated Date: Dec 09, 2019 17:45:15 IST






Rank Team Points Rating
1 India 5046 120
2 New Zealand 3241 112
3 South Africa 3177 102
4 England 4593 102
5 Australia 3672 102
6 Sri Lanka 3795 95
Rank Team Points Rating
1 England 6745 125
2 India 7364 121
3 New Zealand 4837 112
4 Australia 5543 111
5 South Africa 5193 110
6 Pakistan 5019 98
Rank Team Points Rating
1 Pakistan 8366 270
2 Australia 6986 269
3 England 5568 265
4 South Africa 4720 262
5 India 10071 258
6 New Zealand 6056 252