Australia go into the Boxing Day test in the unprecedented position of being 1-0 down in a home series against South Africa. Ricky Ponting will undoubtedly have asked Santa to bring him some wickets, as the inexperienced Australian attack only managed 14 of them in the First Test, 11 of which were taken by Mitchell Johnson.
Matthew Hayden, too, will be anxiously rushing down the stairs on Christmas morning to see if Father Christmas has left him an extension to his Test career. Everyone’s favourite incomprehensible Aussie opener is in dire need of a big score to justify his continued inclusion in the side. The MCG and Boxing Day Tests in particular have been a happy hunting ground for Hayden, and he badly needs to make another big score there this time.
For South Africa, their Christmas list will have been headed ‘more of the same’. Their reputation as chokers will have many expecting a collapse at the MCG, but the incentive of becoming the number one side in the world with victory in the two remaining Tests should be sufficient motivation to keep them concentrated on the task in hand.