Australia batsman Steve Smith says Boxing Day Tests at the MCG “send shivers down your spine” as he looks to continue his supreme form at the ground.
Smith averages 113.50 in Test matches in Melbourne, with four centuries and three other scores over 50 in seven games dating back to 2010.
Australia head into this year’s Boxing Day Test against India 1-0 up in the four-match series having skittled the tourists for 36 in Adelaide on Saturday before going on to win the series opener by eight wickets.
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On the Boxing Day Test, Smith said: “There’s nothing like the sort of thrill – you get the shivers down your spine when you walk out to bat on Boxing Day, the hairs on the back of your neck rise up. It’s just a great feeling.
“The crowd yelling, it’s sort of like a dream come true in a way. I like batting at the MCG, those sorts of big occasions. I’d like to try and make the most of them and help the team out.
“As a kid I always wanted to play in a Boxing Day Test match.”
Smith tweaked his back ahead of the first Test but was able to play in the day-nighter at Adelaide Oval and does not anticipate missing the second Test either.
“It’s just something I need to manage whenever it goes and I probably haven’t had an episode since 2014, so hopefully they can continue to be six years apart if they come,” the 31-year-old added.
“If I’m moving around and laying down I’m good. If I sit around for too long it’s not great for it, but I’m not worried about it. I think everything will be fine and I’ll be good to go.”
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India will be without Virat Kohli as they look to square the series, with the batsman having returned home for the birth of his child – the captain will also miss the final two Test in Sydney and Brisbane.
Smith says Kohli will be a “big loss” for India but has credited him for putting family first.
“I just fist pumped him at the end [of the first Test] and said ‘mate safe travels. I hope everything goes well with the baby and pass on my best to your wife’,” said Smith.
I think we saw some pretty incredible fast bowling. It’s probably the best I’ve seen our boys bowl collectively for about five years. I think the lengths that they were hitting were just impeccable.
Steve Smith on Australia bowling India out for 36
“It’s obviously a big loss for India not having him for the rest of the series. You just have to look at the way he played in the first innings [Kohli scored 74 in Adelaide]. That was a pretty class display against some good bowling on a wicket that was doing a bit.
“Credit to him for being able to stand up and want to go home and be there for the birth of his first child. I think it’s a milestone that you certainly wouldn’t want to miss.
“I’m sure that would have been a lot of pressure for him to stay but to stand up and want to go home for that, I think credit to him.”
India will also be without senior seamers Ishant Sharma and Mohammed Shami due to injury.
Smith added: “I still think they’ve got some quality bowlers, [Navdeep] Saini or [Mohammad] Siraj if they go down that route. I think they’re two quality bowlers that can have some good Test careers.”
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