MCG – the Boxing Day test

If you’re someone who’s not too keen on Christmas with the cold weather, short days and long nights, constant eating and drinking, then get yourself to Australia! Christmas Day here has been like a very busy August Bank Holiday Monday in the UK except that the shops are shut! There are thousands of people here in Melbourne getting out and about in the summer sunshine, restaurants are booked solid for the Aussie version of Christmas lunch or just eating, some are having picnics or barbies in parks or beside the river…it’s just so weird and odd compared to all those that I’ve had so far. And also there’s the mouthwatering prospect of the Boxing Day test at the MCG – an experience I can’t wait to have!

This shark at the Melbourne sea life centre is called Mitchell (reasons were not given) but whilst it’s lost a few teeth from its extended nose, it’s just as fierce-some as Mitchell Starc, who, for one will not be on the field for Australia tomorrow. Neither will Craig Overton who’s done so well with a cracked rib in his two tests – best batsman at Adelaide best bowler in Perth. His place goes to Tom Curran who wasn’t in the original team selection. We’ve heard nothing more from England as to any other changes.

In the last week we’ve had Stoneman claiming there’s little or nothing between the two sides, Anderson claiming that the Australian second string bowling is no good and, heaven forfend, Atherton writing about short pitched bowling to tail enders being unfair- all hype from England and from Australia…nothing, let’s just carry on to make it 4-0.

And that’s what I think it will be, there’s some prospect of rain later in the game but probably not enough to save England. Nets and practice between the tests are fine, but nothing compares to time in the middle and the agreed tour schedule did not allow for this. And with the final test starting late next week….then…

I fear that until things change in the England camp, then we are just repeating what we’ve seen already and one enforced change is not enough but where are and who are the next cabs off the block ready to take over? I fear it may be best to wait until Pakistan visit in the early summer to do this. The team dynamic is so fragile at the moment, wholesale changes would just add to the spinning out of control.

One area where England lead 3-0 is the toss and Smith is notorious at losing the toss but his luck must change soon…and when it does, I can see Australia batting and batting and batting and putting England to the sword.

So all doom and gloom for England or just reality? I think the latter and I did resign myself to a 5-0 loss even before the wheels went up at Heathrow which seems to me, a long time ago. One other aspect we can console ourselves with is that Steve Smiths mum is English and we can take some credit for that and under the new rules here in Australia he can’t stand for Parliament!

One other interesting sight today is shown below…those who remember Rod Marsh the great Aussie keeper who went by the nickname Bacchus due to his love of things alcoholic, so to see a coach company named Bacchus Marsh doesn’t fill me with confidence about the driver, but I reckon the passengers would have a good time. ‘As live’ blogs again from tomorrow.

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