The tradition of the SCG being a haven for spin bowlers has taken a backseat to Australia’s devastating pace attack, with a seamers’ paradise set to be served up for the fifth Ashes Test.
It blows the theory of either side selecting two spinners out of the water – and might even give Michael Clarke an idea about bowling first again, should he win a fifth consecutive toss on Friday.
The green-tinged deck caught the eye of Australian vice-captain Brad Haddin, who as NSW captain has seen more of the SCG than most.
“It looks like it’s got a bit more grass than normal at the SCG,” Haddin said on Wednesday.
Legendary fast bowler Glenn McGrath enjoyed the extra grass on the famous Sydney wicket, but confidently said it didn’t matter what Clarke decided at the toss.
“He was out there looking (at the pitch). I don’t know – there’s a bit of grass,” McGrath said.
“I don’t think it matters whether Australia bats or bowls first.
“If they keep playing the way they are they’re going to be hard to beat.”
Clarke elected to bowl first in the Boxing Day Test and then watched as finger-spinner Nathan Lyon ripped England apart on day three, claiming 5-50.
Haddin said Lyon’s impact wouldn’t be thwarted by a grassy wicket, much as he was able to produce his best performance of the series on a similarly seam-friendly MCG surface.
“(Having grass on the wicket) that also allows spin early in the game,” he said.
“I think the one thing with spinners and Nathan is that it’s not so much whether it breaks up, it’s the bounce.
“If there’s enough bounce in there Nathan will get enough out of it.”