MCG Test match pitch flattening out: Starc

Oliver Caffrey
·2-min read

The Boxing Day Test pitch was lauded as one of the best in years after day one, but Australian quick Mitchell Starc says the MCG deck is reverting to type.

Eleven wickets tumbled on the opening day of the match, with Australia rolled for 195 after Tim Paine had no hesitation in batting first after winning the toss.

But India took advantage of Australia's poor fielding and a pitch flattening out to carry an 82-run first-innings lead at stumps on day two.

With captain Ajinkya Rahane (104 not out) and dangerous allrounder Ravindra Jadeja (40 no) still at the crease, India will look to further build on their total of 5-277 when play resumes on Monday.

Starc believes Australia's batsmen will need to cash in their second innings if they are any chance to avoid heading into the third Test with the series tied at one-all.

"Once the ball got a bit softer, the wicket is pretty placid," Starc said.

"By the end of (Sunday) there's not too many demons in it anymore.

"That's a typical Melbourne (pitch), it flattens out, even with that bit of extra grass to what we're normally used to here. It's become a pretty flat wicket.

"It's important for us now when we get the chance to bat again is to bat really big and bat us into the game again."

The MCG pitch has received serious criticism in recent times for producing run-feasts, with the dull Boxing Day Test Ashes draw in 2017 a low-point.

Indian opener Shubman Gill, who scored 45 on debut, is adamant the pitch will deteriorate and bring spinners Ravi Ashwin and Jadeja back into the game.

"As the time goes on, there's going to be more cracks and the wicket is going to be more challenging for the batsmen," he said.

"It's still important that we capitalise on this lead that we have and then get them all-out as quick as possible."