David Warner is set to make his 100th Test appearance for Australia, and is determined to put his run of poor form behind him.
Warner has gone 10 Test innings without a half century, and is averaging just 26.07 in his last 27 trips to the crease in the longest format.
He was out for a first ball duck in the first innings of the first Test against South Africa at The Gabba before managing just three in the second, albeit on a green pitch where the majority struggled with the bat as Australia won by six wickets inside two days.
Should he score 78 or more in the second Test at the MCG, Warner will become just the eighth player to score 8,000 Test runs for Australia, and he promised to take on the Proteas bowling attack in the Boxing Day Test.
"I know when I'm at my best, I'm taking the bowlers on," he said. "It goes well and it flows with the team and the guy at the other end. Now I've probably gone a bit more responsible and trying to put the team into a good position without playing a bit rash.
"If anything I can probably be a bit more aggressive and go back to the older me, take them on a little bit more. But I think that also is dictated from what wickets you are getting.
"You don't want to have a dig at the curators, but the last two years our wickets have been green. If I go out there play a cover drive and nick one, you guys [the media] will have a feeding frenzy.
"But now I'm in good positions and I'm nicking off, that's the nature of the beast. This might be a wicket where I can go out and play like the old me. So you have to adapt to those conditions that's what I've been doing the last 18 months."
In what will be the 100th men's Test between Australia and South Africa, the hosts' selectors have a tough decision to make on whether to recall Josh Hazlewood, who has recovered from a side strain, or retain Scott Boland, who took a combined 4-42 in the first Test.
Boxing Day preparations in full swing pic.twitter.com/u9Uj1Ul3KN— Cricket Australia (@CricketAus) December 24, 2022
Australia must keep their Head in Melbourne
The pitch in the first Test in Brisbane was labelled "below average" by the ICC, though Travis Head was still able to muster 92 from 96 balls in the first innings, a crucial contribution that made a key difference.
Although he was out for a first ball duck in the second innings, it was immaterial as Australia eased to victory shortly after, and the man of the match will be keen to show his worth again in Melbourne.
Landmark looms for Elgar
South Africa captain Dean Elgar was not happy with The Gabba surface, but will be hopeful of scoring more than the combined five runs he managed in the first Test.
Elgar is just 24 away from becoming the eighth player to score 5,000 runs for the Proteas in men's Tests, though his Test batting average in Australia of 18.4 is his lowest in any country.