So much focus this year has been on the Boxing Day test, with New Zealand being invited to the top table for the first time in 32 years. Legendary cricket pundit Mike Hosking even suggested that the series against England was all about building for Boxing Day, and then there are those RJH431 ads on SKY.
All good hype, but it did overlook what was always going to the biggest challenge of the season; a trip to Perth.
And not just Perth, which is pretty much like playing in the middle of the Arabian Desert, but Perth in a pink-ball test with no build-up game.
This was Australia’s seventh pink ball test, it was New Zealand’s third.
And, although warm-up games in Australia have been of questionable value in the past, at least there might have been some acclimatisation.
Then Williamson lost a pretty important toss, in spite of what cricket experts at 888 Casino predicted.
New Zealand bowlers have a bit of a history of breaking down on debut, and in Chris Cairns’s case also in Perth, and so it was to be for Ferguson. It’s a moot point as to whether a test back in New Zealand might have alleviated the risk, but it meant the other bowlers carried a workload that may have implications later in the series.
Even the chicken was poisonous.
Inevitably there was the Colin de Grandhomme DRS shocker. 1980, 1987, 2001 and 2015; there is nothing new about getting the rough end of it over the Tasman, and what’s notable is that neutral umpires and technology haven’t change this.
What was unusual in this case was that it didn’t have a tangible impact on the result.
So roll on Boxing Day. Even though the MCG is really really big it won’t be quite the trip into the unknown.