Toss to play vital role in Ind-Aus first Test

Melbourne: India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni would be sincerely hoping for the lady luck to smile on him when he walks with his Australian counterpart Michael Clarke for the toss on the opening day of the first cricket Test here on December 26.

Toss will be vital to the outcome of the series opener as Cameron Hodgkins, the curator of the Melbourne Cricket Ground, today promised a lively opening session on December 26 with a drop-in pitch on offer that will have considerable amount of grass.

"I am hoping for a similar product to what we have been producing for the Sheffield Shield matches which is something that is quite challenging for the first 30 overs or so and then flattens out a bit," Hodgkins said.

"I don`t want to start a Test match without making it a contest. I am hoping there will be a little bit of grass there but not overdoing it.”

"There is obviously going to be some overhead conditions so I think there will be some movement through the air," he added.

Hodgkins has, thus, brought alive the nightmare of last year when Australia were sent in to bat at the MCG by England captain Andrew Strauss and were bundled out for 98 in only 42.5 overs. By stumps, England were 157 for no loss and on way to winning the Test and later securing the series 3-0.

Dhoni did not boast of a great record in toss as he has called correctly only on 14 occasions from the 34 Tests as India skipper.

To add to his woes, the toss went in Dhoni`s favour only once in the last five Tests.

But Dhoni could take heart from the fact that his counterpart, Michael Clarke`s record is even worse when it comes to the spin of coin.

Clarke has won just two toss out of the eight Tests he has captained so far.

The toss also holds greater significance for both the teams as the weathermen have predicted overcast conditions with possibility of slight drizzle on the opening day of Melbourne Test.

Hodgkins also claimed the wicket could be dryer and it would encourage more pace and bounce.

"This will be a little bit dryer than it was at the start last year. Hopefully, there will be a little bit more bounce and carry," he said.

Interestingly, Hodgkins expects the pitch to have variable bounce as the game goes on.

"It would be `up and down` pitch."


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