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Ashes Melbourne pitch for 4th Test declared poor
January 03, 2018
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Sydney: The Melbourne pitch for the fourth Ashes Test match has been rated “poor” by the International Cricket Council (ICC), reportedly the first for an Australian ground, just days after players also criticised the conditions.

The showpiece Boxing Day match, which ended in a draw, denied England their first win of the series that Australia had already claimed with an unassailable three-nil lead. It was only the second Boxing Day Test draw in 20 years.

The drop-in pitch at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) was unforgiving for bowlers, with a total of 1,081 runs scored and only 24 wickets taken over five days.

Match referee Ranjan Madugalle noted the unfavourable conditions in his report to the ICC, while Australia captain Steve Smith and England skipper Joe Root also hit out at the lifeless pitch after the Test.

“The pitch... has been rated as ‘poor’ under the ICC Pitch and Outfield Monitoring Process,” the governing body said in a statement.

In his report, Madugalle had said “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,” he added.

“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.”

The ICC rating comes just two days before the introduction of a new penalty system for grounds that could have seen the MCG hit with demerit points. Under the system, if a ground reaches five points the venue will be suspended from hosting international matches for 12 months, and for two years if the venue accumulates 10 points.

Agence France-Presse

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