Oz team Xmas party is no fancy affair ahead of Boxing Day Test: Clark

Friday, December 24, 2010

SYDNEY - An Australian team Christmas isn’t a fancy affair and will be underlined by the nerves that will be building for the players ahead of Sunday’s Boxing Day Test in Melbourne, says former fast bowler Stuart Clark

“Walking out before a packed MCG on Boxing Day is the Australian cricketing equivalent of a tennis player taking to centre court at Wimbledon. The butterflies for me were particularly overwhelming because my first Boxing Day Test was Shane Warne’s last. It was a feeling I’ll never forget,” Clark says in an article for the Sydney Morning Herald

From this Test, he said that he expected Australia to play left arm spinner Michael Beer at the expense of Peter Siddle.

“Having played against him a few weeks ago, Beer is not a big turner of the ball but rather a bounce and drift bowler. If conditions do not suit him early in the match his mental toughness will be tested - a big call for someone who has only played seven first-class matches,” said Clark.

“For England, I suspect Steve Finn will be out for Tim Bresnan and that could leave it vulnerable. No one in that line-up bowls overly fast, so England doesn’t have many options when it comes to roughing up Ponting and company,” he adds.

To me, the longer this series has progressed the more evolved the strategies have become.

The Australians appear to have found a chink in the armour of the English by way of verbal intimidation and their bowling plans have developed noticeably since Adelaide.

If Perth showed us anything, it was that some of the English are happy to dish out the verbals but, when the tables are turned, they don’t enjoy it and can become distracted. We also saw a better execution of plans by the Australian bowlers, most notably to Alastair Cook and Paul Collingwood.

The English, too, have been developing their plans, Clark says, adding that the issue of the MCG pitch has been an interesting talking point this week.

“Home-ground advantage has long been a part of cricket. We also need only look back to the Ashes decider at The Oval last year to see how a playing surface can be turned in the favour of the hosts - in that case, a bone-dry pitch was produced to assist Graeme Swann, who was the best spinner in the series,” he concludes. (ANI)

Filed under: Boxing, Cricket, Tennis

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