English media have lashed out at the MCG's curator for changing the pitch ahead of the fourth Ashes test.

London's Daily Mail reported that the switch to a new pitch by curator Cameron Hodgkins was part of a plan to have similar conditions to the hard WACA pitch where Australia won the third test by 267 runs.

"Buoyed by their thrashing of England on a fast, bouncy surface to level the series, Australia are desperately trying to replicate the same conditions for their pace attack at the MCG," the newspaper said.

"That means the ground's curator, in conjunction with the selectors, has agreed to abandon the surface he was preparing for the Boxing Day Test because it is too dry and could have played into England's hands."

However Melbourne Cricket Club chief executive Stephen Gough has hit back at the allegations saying plans to change the pitch for the Boxing Day test were in place before the third test in Perth.

"In terms of using the pitch for the Test, that decision was made before the Test in Perth even started," Gough told The Australian yesterday.

Gough pointed out that two pitches were always prepared for a test match.

However the London Times made similar allegations as the Daily Mail, reporting that changing a pitch before a match was rare.

"Despite denials that a decision has been taken to help the home side, it is likely to diminish the impact of Graeme Swann, England's most potent threat," the newspaper reported.

"Changing pitches so close to a match is rare, but Channel 9 and Sky Sports have been told to move the position of their cameras, which must be directly behind the bowler to allow technology to operate accurately.

"There is bound to be suspicion that Australia are trying to produce a surface to give every assistance to their pace attack."

The fourth test begins on Sunday with a record crowd of more than 90,000 expected to attend the first day of play.

- Herald online