Australia and New Zealand will clash off in the Melbourne Test match starting on Thursday which will be a crucial one for the visiting side. Australia took a 1-0 lead in the 3-match Test series following a huge 296-run win in Perth. The Blackcaps have to put on a special effort in the Boxing Day Test match to stay alive in the series. However, all the eyes will be on the Melbourne track as the Sheffield Shield game held here this month was called off due to dangerous pitch.
All the key stats and numbers ahead of the crucial Boxing Day Test match at the Melbourne Cricket Ground:
2 – Australia have not won their previous two Boxing Day Test matches – Draw against England in 2017 and 137-run defeat against India in 2018. The previous instance of Australia failing to win the Boxing Day Test match in consecutive years was between 1996 and 1998.
7 – If New Zealand loses the MCG Test, it will be their first Test series defeat since losing to South Africa at home in 2017. They have not lost any of their last seven series in Test cricket; their longest streak in this format without a series defeat.
54 – Pat Cummins has picked up 54 wickets across 11 Tests in 2019. He averages 20.61 with the ball this year and has a strike rate of 45. His 54 wickets are the most by an Australian pacer in a calendar year in Test cricket since Mitchell Johnson’s 63 wickets in 2009. If Cummins take 10 wickets in Melbourne, his 64 wickets will be the most by a pacer in a year in Test cricket since Dale Steyn’s 74 in 2008.
94 – Pat Cummins needs six more wickets in the MCG Test to complete 100 wickets in International cricket this year. The last player to take 100 International wickets in a calendar year was Saeed Ajmal in 2013 while the last pace bowler with this feat was Mitchell Johnson in 2009.
547 – Steve Smith has a batting average of 547 in Test cricket at MCG since 2015. In five innings across the last three Boxing Day Tests, Smith aggregated 547 runs and got out only once. He scored three unbeaten tons and had two scores of the 70s in those three Tests.
1022 – Marnus Labuschagne is the only player to score 1000+ runs in Test cricket in 2019 thus far. Marnus has scored 1022 runs in 15 innings across 10 Tests he played this year at an average of 68.13. He smashed three tons and 6 fifties so far in 2019.
1987 – The last instance of New Zealand playing a Test match at the Melbourne Cricket Ground was way back in 1987. The Kiwis played three Tests at this venue losing in one while another two ended in a draw.
In these 31 years, the New Zealand team played only one Boxing Day Test match away from home – against South Africa in 1994 at the Kingsmead in Durban which they lost by 8 wickets.
3000 – Michael Neser is likely to make his debut during the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne. He will become the 3000th player in the history of Men’s Test cricket if he gets his debut cap.
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