Think you're excited about the Boxing Day Test match? Imagine being Ryan Harris. Having taken six second-innings wickets at the Waca to compete Australia's rout of England, the burly fast bowler can't wait to get to the Melbourne Cricket Ground for the most anticipated Ashes Test match since – well, The Oval 18 months ago.
"A hundred-thousand crowd, it's a big occasion," he says. "Sitting back every Christmas and watching the Boxing Day Test as an Australian sends shivers down your spine. Actually playing in it ... the thought of it gets you nervous. It's going to be an amazing feeling – if I'm picked.
"I actually got a text before from my surgeon, who's looking after my knee, and he said 'a hundred thousand people at the MCG, you're going to enjoy it'. He got me thinking that it's going to be a great feeling, especially now with the series 1-1."
Harris, who has been struggling with a chronic knee problem for more than a year, believes that Australia have the advantage having hit back so comprehensively at the Waca. "England will go away and work pretty hard during the week, but I do think we've got an edge over them a bit going into that big Test," he says.
He believes he can bowl even better than he did in Perth, too. "I've got a few things to work on in Melbourne – which I'll do. I'm probably trying to bowl the perfect ball a little bit too much."
Atmosphere warming up for MCG showdown
Perth enjoyed blazing sunshine throughout the third Test but Melbourne is traditionally a little bit different. Indeed, the Victorian city is currently undergoing a bit of a freak cold snap: "Melbourne's weather beginning to look a lot like ... winter," The Herald-Sun put it yesterday morning. Last time England were in town for a Boxing Day Test, in 2006, the weather was less than friendly with hail on Christmas Day and jumpers obligatory a day later in the upper reaches of the cavernous MCG. The weather forecast suggests things should be a little better this time, with 25 degrees forecast for the first day.
Bad to the Bono
U2 played in Perth the evening after the third Test finished and Bono couldn't resist a reference to the cricket, according to the Irish Times. Having compared each member of the band to a great Aussie cricketer (Bono is David Boon, apparently), he finished: "We're all on the same side here tonight, we're united in passion, we're united in high-mindedness and we share an overwhelming desire to stick it to the Brits!" I wonder if Eoin Morgan feels the same way.Reuse content