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SCG pitch easier than MCG: England opener

Zak Crawley has never experienced anything as tough as his first taste of Ashes cricket, predicting the SCG will prove a happier hunting ground for England’s misfiring batters than the MCG.

Crawley replaced Rory Burns at the top of the visitors’ batting order for the Boxing Day Test.

The 23-year-old scored 12 and five amid the whirlwind of wickets that resulted in England losing by an innings and 14 runs despite Australia posting a first-innings total of 267.

Crawley described walking out to bat on Boxing Day in his first Test against Australia as a career highlight and something he will look back on fondly.

The right-hander hopes to create an even better memory in Sydney, declaring his side must dig in and not let Australia “walk all over us”.

“It was tough (batting at the MCG). The pitch offered a bit for the bowlers and (Mitchell) Starc, (Pat) Cummins and (Scott) Boland are three pretty good bowlers,” Crawley said.

“That was the toughest I’ve had for sure. I loved the challenge.

“I don’t think it (the SCG) will be a tougher Test. The wicket is going to be better, and it’ll be a bit easier.

“I’m hoping it’s going to be slightly flatter … it usually is.

“Having watched the Ashes a fair bit, I feel there seem to be a lot more runs here. I am looking forward to that and hopefully that is the case.”

Apart from his two knocks in Melbourne, Crawley has been restricted to batting in the nets during this tour.

“I definitely feel better having had that game. I feel more comfortable, having spent a little bit of time in the middle,” he said.

“I just learnt there are certain balls I can leave, that in England you have to play.

“I would have liked time in the middle (before playing the Test), but with the COVID situation it’s hard to come by.”

The youngster from Kent insisted the tourists would conjure confidence and conviction after three lopsided Tests.

“We were gutted at the MCG, to lose the series after three games,” Crawley said.

“But every Test is massive.

“There is a lot to play for. A lot of players playing for their places in the side, pride of playing for your country.

“If we come away with 3-2, we can hold our held up.”

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