Welcome to information.com.au’s protection of the Boxing Day Check between Australia and South Africa.
The long-lasting match on the sporting calendar couldn’t come quickly sufficient after Australia gained the primary Check in Brisbane in two days. Victory in Melbourne will seal the sequence win for the Aussies.
Watch Australia v South Africa. Each take a look at match stay and ad-break in play on Kayo. New to Kayo? Begin your free trial now >
Australian captain Pat Cummins has made the shocking option to bowl first after successful the toss.
The MCG pitch is nowhere close to as inexperienced because the raging deck on the Gabba this week and groups historically bat first in the event that they win the toss in Melbourne.
However the resolution Cummins is assured himself, Scott Boland and Mitch Starc can rip by means of South African’s brittle batting line-up.
“It’s barely towards custom — Australia successful the toss and bowling,” Mark Waugh stated on Fox Cricket.
“It’s in all probability a comibation of a little bit of grass on the pitch, the fragility of South AFrican battling line-up and the standard of the Australian quick bowlers.”
Play is scheduled to get underway at 10.30am AEDT.
Boland retains his spot
Victorian Scott Boland will get the possibility to repeat his heroics from final yr’s Boxing Day Check after it was confirmed he’ll maintain his place in Australia’s line-up.
Captain Pat Cummins revealed Josh Hazlewood was very near getting back from a facet pressure however dominated himself out of choice as a result of he wasn’t 100 per cent match.
“We gave Joshy each probability,” Cummins stated.
“It acquired to the stage the place Joshy greater than anybody else simply felt he was slightly bit underdone. I believe it’s a mark of the person Joshy that he sort of stated ‘I simply don’t really feel fairly proper, so he pulled himself out of choice.
“We’ve talked loads about the way it’s a squad mentality and I believe that’s one other nice instance.”
“It could have been (onerous to go away Boland out). Once more, we didn’t actually get to the choice level,” Cummins stated.
“I believe (folks) might have felt slightly bit aggrieved if Scotty missed out.
“Nice to have a Victorian right here. All the time get that fantastic help. Final yr was just about the spotlight of the summer time for all of us was this MCG Check and the reception Scotty acquired so hopefully a bit extra of it this yr.”
South Africa has made one change, bringing in Theunis de Bruyn for Rassie van der Dussen.
Touching tributes to Shane Warne
Emotional scenes are anticipated on the first Boxing Day Check since Shane Warne died earlier this yr.
A number of tributes are deliberate to honour the late spin king, who famously took his 700th Check wicket on the MCG in 2006.
A pre-match ceremony can pay tribute to the function of the MCG in Warne’s profession, and his personal floppy hat and a ball will probably be on the entrance to the sphere as gamers stroll previous on their approach out for the nationwide anthems.
Followers are being inspired to put on a large brim hat and zinc like Warne did, whereas Australia’s gamers will briefly put on the white floppy hat as an alternative of the dishevelled inexperienced.
‘Warnie 350’ has been painted on the MCG turf during the match, in honour of Warne’s Check cap quantity.
After his dying in March, the MCG’s Nice Southern Stand was renamed The Shane Warne Stand.