Australia have the momentum to win 4th Test, feels Warne

Friday, December 24, 2010

LONDON - Spin legend Shane Warne feels Australia, riding high on the success in Perth, will win the fourth Ashes Test against England starting Sunday.

Warne believes the momentum is with the home team after a resounding victory against England at the WACA ground and the massive local crowd at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) will also favour the baggy greens.

“I said at the beginning of the series that Australia would win by one Test. I stick by that prediction, which is why I believe they will win at the MCG,” Warne wrote in his column in the Telegraph.

“Australia will win here because they have all the momentum after the win in Perth. In sport, momentum is crucial because it has an impact on everything.”

“Even in preparation, Australia will be confident and have clarity about what they need to work on. England will be thinking that they have to do certain things better. They will be working on extra stuff to try to get everything right,” he wrote.

“Both sides are going to go all out to try to win this one but this is where Australia get the best support of any ground in the country,” he wrote.

Warne writes that even a score like 350 is considered big at the MCG and the toss will not play a major role since the pitch will turn flatter as the match progresses.

“They use drop-in pitches at the MCG, which means it is irrelevant what the wicket looks like at the toss. It does not matter if it is green, brown or white because it will get flatter as the match progresses.”

“A big score there does not have to be 450. Around 350 can be enough because the outfield is quite slow, it does not quicken up until the one-dayers in January,” Warne noted.

The seamers, especially Mitchell Johnson, were instrumental in Australia’s win in Perth and Warne sees the possibility that the home team might go for five quick bowlers with the motive of troubling the England batsman by some chin music.

“It would not surprise me if Australia go for five quicks. They seem to fancy going all out with the chin music, which is bowling short at England, because they think they have a weakness against pace,” the spinner said.

According to Warne, Graeme Swann will be crucial to England’s chances at the MCG. But currently the best off-spinner in the world needs to be used effectively, he cautions.

“England have an added advantage in the best spinner in the world at the moment in Graeme Swann but only if he is allowed to operate properly.”

“I said after the Perth Test that Andrew Strauss has to back him up with attacking fields. He lost confidence in him in Perth because Australia went after him and Strauss soon set defensive fields,” Warne recalled.

“I hope Strauss shows more patience because Swann will enjoy bowling on that deck. It does not turn much for the first couple of days but on the third and fourth days he will notice the difference,” he summed up.

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