Australia fast bowler Scott Boland.
Scott Boland looks all but certain to miss out on another Boxing Day Test super show. Image by James Ross/AAP PHOTOS
  • cricket

No Boxing Day heroics for Scott Boland this year

Justin Chadwick December 18, 2023

Scott Boland’s hopes of making another fairytale Boxing Day appearance look shot after Australia’s bowlers barely broke a sweat while wrapping up victory against Pakistan in Perth.

Chasing 450 for victory, the tourists were skittled for 89 in just 30.2 overs on Sunday, handing Australia a 360-run victory and a 1-0 lead in the three-Test series.

The light workload means workhorses Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood will be fresh and raring to go for the Boxing Day Test at the MCG.

That spells bad news for Boland and firebrand quick Lance Morris.

Morris has officially been released from the trimmed-down 13-man Test squad so he can link up with the Perth Scorchers for Big Bash League action, while Boland will remain in camp as cover.

“Lance has been released for the Melbourne match but will stay prepared for Test cricket as he remains firmly in our plans for the summer, should an opportunity arise,” national chair of selectors George Bailey said in a statement on Monday.

Scott Boland (centre) at the 2021 Boxing Day Test at the MCG.
 Scott Boland (centre) tore England to shreds in 2021’s Boxing Day Test at the MCG. Image by James Ross/AAP PHOTOS 

Boland has taken 35 wickets at a remarkable average of 20.3 across 10 Tests.

Two of those matches have been at the MCG, including the 34-year-old’s memorable haul of 6-7 against England in 2021.

But barring any mishaps for Starc, Cummins or Hazlewood over the next eight days, Boland’s services won’t be needed at the MCG this time around.

“I don’t think injuries are going to be an issue, so I dare say it will be a pretty similar line-up at this stage,” Cummins said of the XI who will play in the Boxing Day Test.

“All the bowlers are pretty fresh after (the win in Perth). It’s basically the ideal start to the summer.”

The way Pakistan capitulated on a cracking Optus Stadium deck could have a lingering psychological effect for the tourists.

“We know from travelling overseas, if you go to foreign conditions and if you’re a batter and you don’t score runs, you start questioning things,” Cummins said.

“As a bowler, if you haven’t had a huge impact you start looking at your own game perhaps a bit more than you do at home.

“We love these conditions. We know these conditions really well. That’s what makes playing and winning away from home so difficult.

“I know we will have a pretty stress-free week going into Boxing Day. Everyone’s in a really good place.”

Pakistan will have the chance to iron out their kinks during a two-day tour match against Victoria at the Junction Oval, starting on Friday.

The match will give Marcus Harris another chance to push his case to replace the retiring David Warner later this summer, while Peter Handscomb and Will Pucovski are also set to play for the Vics.