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October 17, 2005
The Gabba is traditionally bowler-friendly but Stuart MacGill is hoping for a rare Test away from Sydney after collecting nine wickets against the World XI. MacGill has become an SCG regular during his stop-start 34-Test career and is desperate for work against the West Indies next month.
Brisbane is Shane Warne's favourite pitch in Australia and MacGill, who finished off the World XI with 5 for 43, also enjoys the bouncy surface. "What a fantastic place to bowl," he said, talking up his chances of playing in the three-Test series. "The question is not whether it's a favourite ground of mine but how the balance of the team works out. That's a question that won't be answered by me because I think the answer is very clear."
MacGill mooted the idea of picking a 13-man squad so he could travel with the team and offer further options after they opted for a two-man pace attack backed up by MacGill, Warne and the allrounder Shane Watson in this game. Warne and MacGill combined for 15 wickets - MacGill earned match figures of 9 for 82 - and again showed they could work as an intimidating partnership.
Selected for only four Tests since Warne returned from his drugs ban in February 2004, MacGill said being a regular member of the team was "easier" than an on-call role for special occasions. "Getting the general feel of the series is pretty important but I'm very comfortable with any role that comes my way," he said. "It does make your job a little bit more difficult when you do come in cold, but I'd be stupid to make any song and dance about getting picked once a year."
Ricky Ponting said despite a second-innings collapse of 9 for 47 he was happy with the make-up of the current squad and did not expect any changes for Brisbane. "I don't have any concerns [with the middle order] at all," he said. "We've got the right players there, players who have performed over a period of time, and it would be pretty harsh to judge them on one Test here."
The only sour note for Australia involved Simon Katich who has suffered a low grade fracture to the little finger on his left hand. He was struck by a powerful pull from Andrew Flintoff in the over before lunch. After immediately leaving the field he went for a precautionary scan, which revealed the damage.
Katich, who suffered a poor match with the bat making 0 and 2, will have his fitness reviewed during the week. New South Wales, his state team, have their first Pura Cup match of the season, against South Australia, starting at the SCG on October 25.