With all eyes on the 22-yard-strip in the center for the Boxing Day Test between India and Australia in Melbourne, captain Virat Kohli hoped for a lively pitch that has something in it for the bowlers.
The Melbourne Cricket Ground pitch, was rated poor after a dull draw in the Ashes last season. Add to that, two of three first class matches played at the MCG so far this season have also been drawn. Even India’s previous Test at the venue ended without a result in 2014.
“Seeing the pitch now, it has much more grass than it had last time,” Kohli told reporters prior to the XI being announced, where India reverted to a combination similar to Adelaide.
“I hope that it’s a lively pitch. I hope that it does as much as it did in the first two games because as a side, you know you’re always in for a result that way.
“The surface, what I saw yesterday looked pretty dry underneath. There’s a good coverage of grass which should keep the surface intact.
“I think it should have enough for the bowlers to be interested on all days of the Test match and hopefully it’s a much more lively wicket than the last time we played here.”
Skipper Kohli, who had some testy exchanges in Perth with Australian counterpart Tim Paine, insisted the defeat there was in the past and his team was starting with a new slate in Melbourne.
“As a team, whether you’re 2-0 up or 1-0 down, what has happened in the past has no significance to what is going to happen in the next Test,” he said before the team was announced.
“So the key is to stay in the moment, stay in the present. We just need to play consistently good cricket and not get too excited or taken aback from situations in the match.”
Kohli, who scored a battling century in Perth but was criticised for failing to acknowledge the crowd when he was controversially given out, also said he would not be looking for confrontations with Paine in Melbourne.
“Both teams are passionate and desperate to win. Obviously, things happen on the field. But as long as the line isn’t crossed,” he said.
“I’m sure Tim and myself understand what happened and we don’t want to do something unnecessary. We want to lead our teams well and play good cricket that the public wants to see.”