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An Australian outfit just two Tests into the post Shane Warne-Glenn McGrath era is about to get a stern examination from a battle-hardened India.

The Boxing Day Test - the sport's equivalent to grand final day - pits two of the strongest, in-form nations head-to-head in what shapes as an appetising encounter.

The contest itself will draw at least 70,000 through the gates of the magical Melbourne Cricket Ground on its opening day; the last chance to see Sachin Tendulkar bat at the stunning stadium should swell that number by 10,000 or so again.

Ricky Ponting's new-look side - and in particular its refreshed bowling stocks - will come up against a top-order that amassed an astonishing 2054 runs in the recent three-Test series against Pakistan.

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