You get the distinct feeling in Melbourne that they do not like being regarded as Sydney’s poor relation. They counter it is the sporting capital. I have already listed its main sporting events but excluded the Melbourne Cup. They tell you what great food their restaurants produce. They do not talk much of the climate.
Yet the visitor has only to spend a few hours in Sydney to realise it is the the more beautiful, buzzier, commercially vibrant city. For a start it has a beautiful waterfront with two iconic buildings on it – the Opera House and Bridge. Never mind the Opera House has been described as a typewriter with mussel shells sticking out of it, or that its stage is too small, it is well known throughout the world. The city was seen to its best advantage last night. It is the first major city to greet the New Year and always wins the fireworks competition. Today you could see tourist, many in kitbags, all with mobiles, strolling around aimlessly, most waiting for the Test to begin.
That is why the Aussies have added Ashton Agar to the squad. If England had two decent spinners they would do the same.
Moeen Ali has only taken 3 wickets all series and Mason Crane is unproven.
In Sydney the Allianz arena where Aussie Rules football and rugby are played is to be closed for improvement and these sports will have to be played at the SCG.
The new curator comes from Adelaide’s stadium which uses drop-in pitches. One of the joys of the Test match is a wicket taking spin. The commentators of TMS exclaim as if spotting the lesser-spotted warbler “there is movement!”.
If you produce lifeless flat, no result, tracks like the MCG the public will vote with its feet and stay away.