The Boxing Day Test between the Black Caps and Australia has been under the microscope in recent weeks thanks to the pitch causing all sorts of dramas.

But two greats of the game are more upset over how long it has taken for the Kiwis to return to the famed test match timeslot.

For the first time since 1987, New Zealand will take on the Aussies in what will be the second test in their three-test series.

Former Kiwi wicketkeeper turned cricket commentator Ian Smith and Aussie pace bowler Mike Whitney couldn't believe it has been so long between drinks for the two nations.


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"It's wrong," Smith told

"We've had some very good cricket teams that would have tested Australia and so I think it's been quite odd."

Whitney backed up Smith's comments, but delivered his choice of words in a more stinging manner.

"I can't believe Australia and New Zealand haven't played a Boxing Day Test since that time," Whitney said.

"That's a disgrace."

Sky TV commentator and former international cricketer Ian Smith. Photo / Photosport
Sky TV commentator and former international cricketer Ian Smith. Photo / Photosport

The condition of the MCG pitch sparked controversy after a Sheffield Shield match between Victoria and Western Australia was abandoned due to a dangerous surface.

Legendary Adelaide Oval pitch curator Les Burdett was brought in to supervise test preparations, and after surveying the pitch prepared by MCG curator Matt Page a week out from the clash, he was confident the wicket would be safe enough for play.


"The initiatives done for this year, I never say 100 per cent on anything, but I'm 99.99 per cent sure that this is going to be a test match worth watching because the situation has changed," Burdett told AAP.

"It just looks healthy.

"... I can walk down the side of that pitch now and it just has the goods.

"(They're) going to leave a bit of grass on there.

"You'll have a pitch that has more life in it than in years gone by because the characteristics and the structure of it has changed."

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Several Western Australian batsmen were hit on the dangerous MCG pitch in the abandoned Sheffield Shield match. However, the strip being prepared for the Boxing Day clash is different.


Western Australian batsman Shaun Marsh was hit several times and later went for a concussion test, and said the pitch was "unplayable".

The pitch controversy first arose because the pitch was watered more than usual in an attempt to create more entertaining cricket, but weather conditions left it too wet, leaving dangerous cracks and divots when it dried.

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