Warne and McGrath’s last MCG Test

The two all-time greats are the biggest draws in the fourth Test.

    Warne announced his retirement from Test cricket earlier in the week [GALLO/GETTY]

    Hyped exits
    For Warne, it will mark the end of his international career as he has long been out of the Australian One-day side, but McGrath won't hang up his boots until the end of April 2007 after the World Cup in the West Indies.
    Though the Ashes series has already been decided with the Aussies taking an unassailable 3-0 lead, the retirements of two of the world's greatest bowlers have given life to the final two matches.
    Warne, who played under 18's Australian Rules football for the St Kilda club in Melbourne, is a Victorian icon worshipped by his fellow statesmen with the MCG being his hallowed turf and Bay 13 his main congregation.

    McGrath's 555 wickets so far, are the most
    for a fast bowler in Test history [GALLO GETTY]

    To make things more interesting, the world's leading Test wicket taker needs just one more scalp to take him to 700 wickets – a huge accomplishment and one that will be fittingly achieved on the Melbourne Cricket Ground against the old foe England.
    For McGrath, a New South Welshman hailing from the town of Dubbo, 410km north-west of Sydney, the MCG Test will be special but his real swan song will begin at the Sydney Cricket Ground in the New Year.
    McGrath's 555 wickets so far, are the most for a fast bowler in Test history, only behind spinners Warne and Muttiah Muralitharan [674 wickets], on the all-time list.
    Battered pride
    Meanwhile, England will be looking to salvage some sort of joy from a thus far disappointing tour. The Ashes have been lost, but a Test win in either Melbourne or Sydney will provide some much needed relief to the tourists' battered pride, and that of their loyal supporters group the Barmy Army.
    With the second and third Tests closer than the results may seem, England just need to play consistently good cricket rather than just a session here and there to beat the Australians and gain an elusive win.
    Young opener Alastair Cook, who turned 22 on Christmas Day, looks to be one for the future and with more invaluable experience to come in the cauldrons of the MCG and SCG, he will be a batting force at the top of the England order for quite some time.
    Exciting left arm spinner Monty Panesar is sure to revel in the atmosphere of the MCG, with the Melbourne crowd likely to take a liking to the 24 year-old just like those in Perth.
    With nothing to lose, England should come out firing and take to the game in a more relaxed fashion, enjoying their cricket and not playing like men on trial.
    However, with the Australians pressing for a 5-0 series whitewash and with Warne and McGrath wanting to go out on a high note, there are sure to be some testing times for the visitors over the next five days at the MCG.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


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