Play was abandoned
Saturday during a domestic game due to a dangerous pitch at the Melbourne
Cricket Ground, just weeks before it is due to host the traditional Boxing Day
A decision to call off play was made on day one of the Sheffield Shield clash between Victoria and Western Australia after several batsmen were hit by rising deliveries. It followed talks between the umpires and captains Peter Handscomb and Shaun Marsh. Marsh was among those to be battered multiple times by balls from fast bowlers that rose sharply and unexpectedly on the lively pitch. One that caught Marcus Stoinis in the ribs proved the final straw.
The match is the last one at the MCG before the second Test between Australia and New Zealand on December 26, giving cricket officials plenty to think about. Cricket Australia said it would work closely with MCG staff to ensure the best possible track is prepared for Boxing Day. “We’re very disappointed at today’s play being abandoned,” said CA’s head of cricket operations Peter Roach, while noting that two previous Shield matches had been played at the MCG this season without incident. “MCG groundstaff have more than two weeks to ensure the Test surface, which is a different pitch strip to the one being used in this match, is of international standard. “We will seek to better understand the issues that resulted in variable bounce at the MCG on Saturday.” In recent times the pitch has been criticised for being lifeless. After the Boxing Day Test against England in 2017, the International Cricket Council rated it “poor” for offering little for the bowlers.