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Spinners relishing prospect of playing in Sydney

By Julian Linden
October 12, 2005 17:42 IST
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Spin bowling could supply the key to the super Test between Australia and the World XI, starting on Friday, on a Sydney Cricket Ground pitch with a long tradition of favouring slow bowlers.

Australia leg spinner Shane Warne said on Wednesday he was relishing the prospect of seeing four of the world's best spinners in action, including his great Sri Lankan rival, Muttiah Muralitharan.

"The more spinners the better," Warne told a news conference. "One of the great things in the game is seeing a batsman prepared to use his feet to a spin bowler. Everybody likes seeing that.

"It's more fun bowling to those sort of players. It's good cricket to watch. That and watching a fast bowler trying to knock someone's head off I think are the two most exciting things in cricket."

Stuart MacGill, also a leg spinner who did not play a single Test in the recent Ashes series after the Australian selectors used Warne as the lone spinner, is almost certain to get his chance this weekend.

The pair are regular partners in Sydney with 94 wickets between them and MacGill is expecting more to come.

"This is where spin bowling is revered more than any other place in Australia," he said.

Muralitharan and New Zealand's Daniel Vettori are also relishing the prospect of playing their first Tests on one of the world's great spinning wickets.

Muralitharan has not played a Test in Australia since 1995 after umpire Darrell Hair called him for throwing. The Sri Lankan vowed never to visit the country again after Australian Prime Minister John Howard called him a chucker but returned earlier this year to play in the tsunami benefit match.

"I haven't played a Test match for 10 years in Australia, so it's a big challenge for me to do well here," he said.

"I only played two previous matches and got 300 runs for three I think hopefully my performance will be better than that."

Vettori has played one-day matches in Sydney but never a Test and said he could not wait for the match to begin.

"It's pretty exciting, I think it's been a long time since the New Zealand team played a Test match here," he said.

"We normally get a couple of tests down in Hobart, maybe one in Perth, so Sydney's a bit of a marquee event for us."

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Julian Linden
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