Unsafe MCG pitch forces abandonment of Sheffield Shield match

A Sheffield Shield match at the Melbourne Cricket Ground was abandoned on Sunday because of a dangerous pitch, raising more questions about the fitness of the prestigious venue to host the Boxing Day test, reports Reuters.

The match hosted by Victoria was suspended on Saturday after Western Australia batsmen sustained blows to the body from deliveries rearing up at them before being abandoned after a further pitch inspection on Sunday.

Cricket Australia released a statement reiterating that the wicket for the second test against New Zealand starting on Dec. 26 was different from that used for the Sheffield Shield match.

A lifeless MCG pitch which produced a dull draw in the 2017 Boxing Day Ashes test against England received a “poor” rating from the governing International Cricket Council.

Last year’s pitch against India earned an “average” rating even though the tourists took 20 wickets to comprehensively win the match.

Cricket Australia’s Head of Cricket Operations Peter Roach said on Saturday he was disappointed that the Sheffield Shield match had been disrupted.

“Matt Page and the 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,” he said.

“We will seek to better understand the issues that resulted in variable bounce at the MCG on Saturday. We will also work closely with MCG groundstaff in the lead up to the test match.”