ICC sends official warning to Melbourne Cricket Ground for ‘poor’ pitch

Melbourne Cricket Ground has received an official warning by the International Cricket Council (ICC) for its pitch which was rated ‘poor’ after the fourth Ashes Test between England and Australia in December 2017. The pitch was rated poor by the ICC on January 2nd, and the warning has come swiftly in the days after.

In his match report, ICC match referee Ranjan Madugalle had expressed the concerns of the match officials over the way the pitch behaved during the boxing day Test match. The match had ended in a draw in which Australia batted first and scored a total of 327. England scored 491 runs in reply and the match then ended when Australia declared on 263/4 in the second innings.

In a press release, the ICC said, “ICC noted the comprehensive response provided by Cricket Australia, which did not contest the rating given to the pitch by the ICC Match Referee, Ranjan Madugalle, but highlighted that the ground is a frequently used venue that has no history of preparing poor pitches for international cricket, and indicated that there was a commitment by both the Melbourne Cricket Club (MCC) and Cricket Australia to improve the pitches presented for international cricket at the MCG in the future.”

Giving an assessment of the pitch, Madugalle had written in his match report, “The bounce of the MCG pitch was medium, but slow in pace and got slower as the match progressed. The nature of the pitch did not change over the five days and there was no natural deterioration. As such, the pitch did not allow an even contest between the bat and the ball as it neither favoured the batsmen too much nor it gave the bowlers sufficient opportunity to take wickets.”

England did not win a single match on their recently concluded Ashes tour to Australia, the Melbourne Test being the only match that the team did not lose. Australia won the series 4-0.

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