The pitch that forced a Sheffield Shield match to be abandoned. Picture: (AAP Image/Sean Garnsworthy
The pitch that forced a Sheffield Shield match to be abandoned. Picture: (AAP Image/Sean Garnsworthy

Will MCG pitch’s horror run continue?

Confidence is growing that a lightning-fast outfield and healthy MCG pitch will reaffirm that the Boxing Day Test belongs in Melbourne this week.

A mild weather forecast and intense speculation has officials certain that there will more life in the most scrutinised 22 yards in world cricket.

They are busy measuring moisture and hardness levels, with those readings expected to help deliver a nice balance between bat and ball.

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The MCG pitch has been under intense scrutiny in recent years. Picture: AAP Image
The MCG pitch has been under intense scrutiny in recent years. Picture: AAP Image

Australian opener David Warner said while the pitch was out of control of the players he hoped it would be one that would deliver an exciting second Test with New Zealand.

"I just want a good all-round wicket, one that can be good for batters and good for bowlers and a great contest," Warner said.

"You look at that Perth wicket, it was a great wicket. We know in Perth the wickets are always going to crack because of the heat. Here's got the right sort of layer of grass. I think the issue before was it was a bit damp and there was a bit of divots.

"But I'm sure they're experienced in that area. We can only control what we can and hopefully they can produce a good wicket."

Asked if it was "crunch time" for the MCG with fears it could lose the Boxing Day Test if the pitch delivers another flat road, Warner said players had to have faith this week's wicket would be better.

"We've just got to trust that they're doing their job correctly and, if not, then that's the repercussions of that," Warner said.

Victorian star Chris Tremain said the dangerous pitch that saw this month's Sheffield Shield match abandoned was just 24 hours away from being a belter.

The New Zealand camp noted how the MCG practice nets had far less cracks than in Perth.

"We're five days out so I don't think you can read too much into," BJ Watling said.

"We'll keep a closer eye on it as the eye comes closer. It's important when we get out there to adjust then."

South African speedster Dale Steyn said: "There was a bit of spice in the wicket not so long ago, so hopefully they get it right".

Steyn said he took 10 wickets on "a flatty" in 2008, but said it offered something for everyone.

Domestic cricketers have showered Page with praise, and he also has the full support of the MCC.

News Corp Australia

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