Australia vs New Zealand: Board urges MCG staff not to 'overreact' after abandonment of domestic match due to dangerous pitch

A Sheffield Shield match at the MCG was halted last week because of a dangerous surface on which several Western Australia batsmen took body blows from deliveries that reared up at them

Reuters, Dec 18, 2019 17:28:54 IST

Melbourne: Cricket Australia boss Kevin Roberts has urged Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) staff not to “overreact” to the abandonment of a domestic match due to a dangerous pitch by producing a flat wicket for next week’s Boxing Day Test against New Zealand.

A Sheffield Shield match at the MCG was halted last week because of a dangerous surface on which several Western Australia batsmen took body blows from deliveries that reared up at them.

Australia vs New Zealand: Board urges MCG staff not to overreact after abandonment of domestic match due to dangerous pitch

File image of Melbourne Cricket Ground. AFP

The abandonment was embarrassing for groundsman Matt Page and Melbourne Cricket Club, but Roberts backed ground staff to produce a wicket that would challenge both batsman and bowler.

“We’re really keen to ensure that the MCC doesn’t overreact to the situation in the last Shield game,” he told reporters in Melbourne on Wednesday.

“The great news was that no players were injured in that situation. We learned a lot from it ..."

“So we’re confident that there won’t be an overreaction, and that will see a better balance between bat and ball at the MCG.”

The MCG’s drop-in wicket has been under scrutiny since it was given a “poor” rating by the International Cricket Council (ICC) after a dull draw between Australia and England in the 2017-18 Ashes series.

In last year’s annual Boxing Day Test, which begins on 26 December, India beat Australia by 137 runs, and the pitch was rated “average”. But the wicket was still criticised by media pundits and fans for offering bowlers little assistance on an opening day.

Roberts said the fresh wicket for the second Test between Australia and New Zealand would have more grass than the previous two Boxing Day strips.

“Other than that last Shield game, the condition of pitches at the MCG has been on a significant increase over the last period of time since Matt and the team took the concrete base out from under the pitches and replaced it with sand,” he said.

“The feedback from the curators is that it feels different to roll, the feedback from players is that it feels different and even sounds different to play on."

“It sounds like a proper turf wicket now rather than something that’s more like a concrete deck, so we’re really optimistic about Boxing Day.”

Australia lead the three-match series against New Zealand 1-0 after winning the pink-ball day-night opener by 296 runs in Perth.

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Updated Date: Dec 18, 2019 17:28:54 IST






Rank Team Points Rating
1 India 5046 120
2 Australia 4320 108
3 New Zealand 3449 105
4 South Africa 3177 102
5 England 4593 102
6 Sri Lanka 3935 92
Rank Team Points Rating
1 England 6745 125
2 India 7748 121
3 New Zealand 4837 112
4 South Africa 5193 110
5 Australia 5854 110
6 Pakistan 5019 98
Rank Team Points Rating
1 Pakistan 8366 270
2 Australia 6986 269
3 England 5568 265
4 South Africa 4720 262
5 India 10645 260
6 New Zealand 6056 252