Dangerous MCG pitch forces domestic game to be suspended

Sarah Waris
Modified 07 Dec 2019

A Sheffield Shield game between Victoria and Western Australia, being held at the iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground, was suspended on Day 1 after the pitch was deemed to be dangerous.

With chances of the match being abandoned altogether being high, concerns have been raised over the venue hosting the Boxing Day Test against New Zealand in less than three weeks.

The on-field umpires Phillip Gillespie and Geoff Joshua took the decision to suspend the game when Western Australia were batting at 89 for 3, after a ball from Andrew Fekete leaped up and struck Marcus Stoinis on the ribs.

It was the latest in a series of balls that jumped off alarmingly from the strip. The umpires and the match referee gave considerable time to the ground staff to roll the pitch and allow it to dry under the sun, following which the decision to abandon play for the day was taken. The game will resume on Sunday.

However, if the pitch is deemed unplayable and the match does not resume, the points will be split between the two teams.

Shaun Marsh, the skipper of Western Australia, remained doubtful that the game would continue further as the pitch was too soft that caused the ball to create divots, which led to the uneven bounce. After the play was suspended, Marsh told ABC Grandstand,

My players' safety is paramount and at this stage I can't see us getting back on. We'll come tomorrow and make a decision then.

However, what should come as a sigh of relief is that the strip being used for this game is not a Test surface, and is primarily used for the Big Bash League, Women's Big Bash or domestic games.

The MCG track has been in the news in the recent past, with the track that was used here during the 2017-18 Ashes being termed as "poor" by the ICC. In the series between India and Australia last year, the track was slow and got an "average" rating despite the visitors picking up 20 Aussie wickets.

Published 07 Dec 2019
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