Concerns for MCG pitch

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The thrilling contest between bat and ball seen in the Border-Gavaskar series may come to a halt on Boxing Day when the Test show heads east to the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

Melbourne has hard acts to follow after the first and second Tests in Adelaide and Perth delivered enthralling matches that were both decided on day five and featured no declarations.

History is against the venue as well, with its crescendo of criticism reaching a climax last year when only 24 wickets were taken in an Ashes bore-draw.AUS v IND

That match saw the MCG officially put on notice by the International Cricket Council for its “poor” pitch.

The MCG has since attempted to make its deck more lively but recent evidence suggests it will be a far more batsman-friendly venue than Perth.

Glenn Maxwell earlier this month played against Western Australia in a four-day game at the MCG that ended in a dull draw. He said the match should ring alarm bells for the curators.

“I think there would be concerns (for Boxing Day),” Maxwell told the Herald Sun.

“Especially with the way the Shield wicket played. It did not deteriorate at all. It probably got flatter — it got better to bat on in day four.”

It’s understood that curator Matt Page experimented with the wicket during that game and is likely to revert its condition to what it was for the MCG’s first two Shield games this season.

“I assume there’ll be a little bit more grass on it (for Boxing Day),” Victoria native Aaron Finch said this week.

“I haven’t played a Shield game there but the boys said there has been a little bit more grass on it and it’s seamed around a little bit but it’s still been on the slower side.

“I don’t expect that to change a hell of a lot. They’re still the same drop-ins from the last 10 or 12 years … I’m sure they’re trying a different method though.”

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