All I can say is it's going to one hell of a tough test match! A massive crowd expected at 'The G' (90 000 plus!) along with some serious rivalry as both supporters and teams go head to head with this Ashes series still alive, but England are safely sitting in the best position right now...which makes me eager to see how our guys come out. Would love to see that ferocity and tenacity we saw last test match. But here are some of my thoughts ahead of the MCG.
Ricky Ponting has been in a very difficult position with his batting lately. The stats indicate one thing, but it seems that in all fairness he has been getting out to either some really clumsy shots or flashing complacently at some rather good deliveries. I firmly believe if Punter can survive a session where he can overcome a spell of 50 deliveries sent his way, that's all he'll need to cash in. Boxing Day has always been a special stage for Punter. This time around we need his brilliance!
While he has been struggling to the average onlooker, no doubt Punter knows where his weaknesses lie and that incredible saying always comes to mind when he see a champ like him go through what is the true essence of Test cricket. That is, "form is temporary, class is permanent." I also believe Punter has represented Australia in 99 test wins during his career of 151 tests. A win here seals 100!
Michael Hussey has been our anchor. However he is destined to have a hiccup at some stage and for this reason we can't continue to see our hopes rest upon his shoulders. He's managed to take that aggressive rescue mission mentality into his test game and suddenly we have been priviledged to see a wonderful cricketer bring up two outstanding centuries and display his class. Again, "form is temporary, class is permanent." If Huss can deliver some more for us, who'd complain? But the fact is we need Punter and Michael Clarke to deliver the goods with the blade in hand. We desperately need it in actual fact. Both of them are captains of industry with their skill, I just hope the boxing day test brings the best out in them.
A bit sick of hearing the talk of, "I've been hitting them really well", "I feel really good about my game", etc. Get out there and give the Poms hell now! I also think Graeme Swann has a chance to make a mark on the series this Test.
Shane Watson scored his maiden-century during last years boxing day test following two nineties during the season, one against the Windies, the other against Pakistan in the same test he finally reached a memorable milestone!
His form has been good and he's our cement at the top of the order, but we desperately need him to carry on. Even though he got another ninety last game (95 LBW), he did the job but I think it's that conversion rate of half-century to century we need to see him overcome.
Michael Slater is the most obvious guy who comes to mind in this regard and Steve Waugh as well, but Tugga found out how to overcome the mental baggage. Watto needs to learn his way to overcome this.
Will be good to see him send down a few overs.
I strongly believe if our batsmen get some good runs on the scoreboard it will solve 60% of our worries with a bowling unit that is might fired up, and why shouldn't they be?Ryan Harris and Mitchell Johnson (man-of-the-match for his figures of 6-38) were unbelievably bloody awesome, but they were well backed up by Peter Siddle and Ben Hilfenhaus.
Hilfy has been unlucky in my opinion and should he play, I do expected something special from him. Phillip Hughes for that matter is going to do something valuable up top. I think his technique will always be questionable at the elite level, but I think faith in the selected players needs to be shown by all supporters sometime and I really do expect something from Phillip.
Drifting off topic a bit there, but yeah, I think the bowling is the risk.
a) Bowl the same pace attack that worked at the WACA?
b) Bowl the same attack but make extra use of Michael Clarke, Steven Smith & Shane Watson?
c) Debut Michael Beer and just handout another Baggy Green to a spinner who has little credibility, although the one thing in his favour is being from Melbourne, if that counts?
d) Bring back Nathan Hauritz to fill the role who has also been batting so damn well. Where did that come from? He won't get picked but he's doing exactly what he needed to.
He's taking wickets, getting runs and last Boxing Day test he delivered a 5-fer I remember very well.
I think going with B is a good option, but let's see what the NSP does. What do you all think?If our guys get verbal out there (what a relief to see that was) and play their hearts out with a side that really embraces the mentality as an elite team, we can win this!
Here's to the Boxing Day test, it will be a tough graft.
The pitch will be slower and even though I think Hauritz would have been a wise input, Michael Beer may have his debut awaiting. Option C seems more realistic from a selection perspective.
The situation: Series poised at 1-1 with two tests remaining.
Australia; require two wins or a draw from the remaining test matches to regain the Urn.
England; require one win the retain the Urn.
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