26 December, better known as 'Boxing Day', promises to be a treat for sports fans. While the Premier League will return to action after a week's absence, the historic Boxing Day Test that Australia plays every year will also commence. However, Australian fans won't just be in for the cricketing spoils, because Sri Lanka and South Africa are also scheduled to play Test cricket on the day, while New Zealand host Bangladesh in a one-day game, making for a delightful predicament for cricket purists. Here's a look at what we can expect on Monday.
Premier League: A scramble for solidity
While the Premier League may not have big name clashes to offer this Boxing Day, the Christmas period has usually proved to be vital for the eventual champions. Current leaders Chelsea will be hoping not to slip up at this stage of the competition, while Arsenal, Manchester City and Liverpool will be looking to stay in hot pursuit in their respective matches. Former Manchester United manager David Moyes will visit Old Trafford for the first time since his sacking, and having constantly stirred the pot by insinuating United were unfair to him, the Scot will want to back up his statements with a strong performance. United, on the other hand, will be looking to continue their good run in order to keep their hopes of a top four finish alive. Sam Allardyce, who returns to the Premier League as Crystal Palace's new manager after his disgraceful early exit as England manager, will also look to lift the team to survival as he usually does when he is recruited.
Cricket:Tests to remember
While Australia will play their traditional Boxing Day Test, this time against World No 2 ranked team Pakistan, South Africa will host Sri Lanka and New Zealand host Bangladesh in a one-day international. Australia will be looking to permanently put away talks of a crisis plaguing the squad. Their overhauled squad has delivered two strong performances, which resulted in wins, and will hope to continue the trend against a Pakistan team which showed great resilience in their previous encounter, narrowly missing out on a thrilling victory.
South Africa will host their first Test of the series against Sri Lanka at Porth Elizabeth, and the Proteas are favourites going into the game. After comfortably beating Australia away from home, the Proteas will be aiming to recreate their inspiring performance and show the same solidarity and team spirit that the showed against the Aussies. Despite missing Dale Steyn, AB de Villiers and Morne Morkel, the South Africans looked dangerous against Australia. Sri Lanka are also injury-hit and a series win against Zimbabwe served as their warm-up coming into this Test series.
New Zealand will look to regroup after an ODI series loss to Australia with a win in their home series against Bangladesh. New Zealand are also looking to preserve their fast bowlers Trent Boult and Tim Southee, who are in danger of burning out due to regularly playing all three forms of the game. Meanwhile, Bangladesh will look display vigour away from the sub-continental conditions that they thrive in.
The cricket matches can be viewed on Star Sports 1,2, HD1 and HD 2. For football, be sure to tune in to Star Sports Select HD1 and HD2 starting 6pm on Monday.
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Updated Date: Dec 24, 2016 20:29:09 IST