No Ashes pitch conspiracy, says MCG groundsman

MCG curator Cameron Hodgkins dismissed speculation that he has prepared a Boxing Day Test pitch to give Australia an advantage as the Ashes hang in the balance at one win each.
The pitch being prepared for Sunday's Test is Hodgkins' second choice after he decided to ditch his initial selection a fortnight ago before the third Perth Test, which Australia won to tie the series.

"The last time I spoke to someone from Cricket Australia was in the middle of winter," Hodgkins told reporters.

"It was entirely a personal thing (changing pitches)."Two weeks ago it became pretty evident that my first option wasn't going to be ideal for what I envisaged for a Test pitch. I was able to then go to what I thought would be a better surface."

Hodgkins said the drop-in pitch was likely to give spinners some encouragement on Sunday's opening day, then flatten out over the rest of the five days."It's a wicket which offers a little bit up front and is quite flat towards the end of the match," he said.
"Most of the turn we've had in matches here has been on day one. The most successful teams have had variety in their attack here."

Drop-in pitches are used for cricket at the MCG once the Australian Football League season finishes each October.

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