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MCG curator warns Test batsmen to be wary

AAP logoAAP 24/12/2016 Roger Vaughan

MCG Ground staff prepare the pitch © AAP Image/David Crosling MCG Ground staff prepare the pitch MCG curator David Sandurski has warned the likes of Australian opener David Warner that early aggression could be costly in the Boxing Day Test.

Victoria's pounding of Queensland early last month in the Sheffield Shield could be instructive as Australia and Pakistan finalise preparations for their second Test.

The MCG head curator said the Test wicket should be similar to that strip.

Queensland won the toss and the decision to bat backfired spectacularly, with the visitors rolled for 137 in their first innings.

Victoria went on to win by an innings.

"It had a little bit in it early for the quicks but, after that first session, it settled down," Sandurski said.

"It became a bit of a new-ball wicket and then took a little bit of turn towards the end of the game and getting a little bit inconsistent with the bounce."

A common observation from players so far this summer is that the MCG wicket can be tricky, particularly early in an innings.

"It's one of those wickets that, once you get in, you should be right," Sandurski said.

"You're going to have to fight hard early; the ball might do a bit early.

"But once you get through that first session, especially with the new ball, you should be right.

"Melbourne is the sort of wicket where you can't go blasting off from ball one - you have to take your time and get used to the conditions."

That last comment is particularly pertinent to Warner, who is renowned for his determination to force the scoring pace.

While Warner's one-day form is first-rate, he has not scored a Test century this summer.

Another factor that stands out from the Victoria-Queensland scorecard is that Bushrangers spinner Jon Holland dominated, taking eight wickets in a man-of-the-match performance.

Sandurski doubted spin would be a major factor, but admitted if he was picking a side for Boxing Day, it would feature a front-line slow bowler.

"It's still always handy to have a spinner there for that variation - Jon Holland this year, he's taken a fair few wickets on decks that haven't turned a great deal either," he said.

"If it was me, I'd definitely be going for a spinner."

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