Typical MCG pitch expected

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Steven Smith, Mike Hussey & Cameron Hodgkins

MCG curator Cameron Hodgkins, centre, speaking today, said: "I would think on the WACA's worst day they would still be faster and bouncier than anything we normally turn out"

MCG curator Cameron Hodgkins anticipates the Boxing Day Test pitch to be significantly slower and less bouncy than the surface that England lost on at the WACA.

Hodgkins has switched drop-in pitches for the fourth Ashes Test, sparking speculation Cricket Australia asked him to replicate the track the hosts won on by 267 runs in Perth.

However he today denied this, explaining it was his decision and one that was made prior to the third Test.

Hodgkins said: "A few people would like to believe that was the situation, but the last time I spoke to someone from Cricket Australia was in the middle of (Australia’s) winter.

"It's entirely a personal thing and it was something I did two weeks ago, so it wasn't on the spur of anything that happened in the last week or so.

"I would think on the WACA's worst day they would still be faster and bouncier than anything we normally turn out.

"We're quite slow on the first day normally and it probably causes the most difficulty for batsmen who want to get on with it, so patience is normally a fairly key ingredient here.

"If you don't have that then you can be four or five down early on and the game over."

England failed to cope with Mitchell Johnson's dramatic inswing in Western Australia but, pressed on the likelihood of a repeat, Hodgkins answered: "It's hard to say. We haven't been getting a lot of swing here."

That heavy defeat last time out came despite England captain Andrew Strauss winning the toss and opting to bowl first.

While that is also a common decision in Melbourne, Hodgkins played down the likely impact of the fall of the coin.

"Victoria do bowl first here every time they play but that's because it's quite an easy pitch to bat on at the end," he said.

"It's going to be one of those tosses where it really shouldn't matter."

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