Blackcaps v Australia: Cricket great Ricky Ponting writing off Kiwis chances of a Boxing Day test win

For the first time in 32 years, the Blackcaps get to play on one of cricket's biggest stages, a Boxing Day Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

"It is a dream of every young cricketer to play in a Boxing Day Test," Blackcaps wicketkeeper BJ Watling said. 

"I know the group is very excited to get this opportunity and we're looking forward to it."

But former Australian captain Ricky Ponting gives the Kiwis little hope.

"They're going to find it hard to win a test match I think," Ponting said. 

"Some of their bowlers just lack a bit of penetration on the flatter type services."

Ponting also has a message for the Australian batsmen. 

"I was just a little bit intrigued by the way our batsmen tried to play the short stuff last week," he added.

"I think we gave them enough evidence to suggest they should keep bowling that way to us."

The short ball is a weapon Blackcaps bowler Neil Wagner will continue to employ.

"He's very skilled at it, he's very accurate at it, and he used it well in Perth and put them under some pressure," Watling said. 

Local star bowler James Pattinson's set with Josh Hazlewood ruled out through injury.

"He's a good bowler isn't he?" Watling said.

"[He] runs in hard, brings aggression [and] bashes the wicket, and I think we won't see anything less."

Ponting hopes the MCG curators don't overcorrect and dish up a lifeless wicket.

"I've been fearing that," he said. 

"It's an easy thing to say that the groundsmen have got full support of the board but we just don't want a flat slow thing that we've had in Melbourne for the last few years."

That opinion is one surely shared by Kiwi quick Trent Boult, who is set to return from injury for the Melbourne showpiece

"The experience he's got, what he brings to the group is exceptional," Watling said. 

"You always want a guy like that in your team, so it will be great that we can have him back for this game."

Join us for live updates of the second test between the Blackcaps and Australia on Thursday, December 26.