Opening day of a match abandoned due to dangerous pitch
In a shocking incident in Australia, the opening day of a Sheffield Shield match was abandoned after the pitch at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) was deemed dangerous. The opening day of the match between hosts Victoria and Western Australia could last only 40 overs, while this has also cast doubts on the Boxing Day Test between Australia and New Zealand. Here is more.
The visitors were batting first, as they were at 89/3 after 40 overs. However, by then, the batsmen had already taken a series of body blows, which prompted the umpires, along with the players, to have a chat with head groundsman, Matt Page. Following a discussion, the umpires decided to suspend the play, deeming the pitch too dangerous to play.
After players were taken off the field, the umpires ordered the ground-staff to roll the pitch and leave it to dry under the sun. It is being believed that owing to some soft patches on the pitch, it created divots, which led to the ball bouncing unevenly. Meanwhile, the match is scheduled to be resumed on Sunday.
It is to be noted that the MCG pitch has been under the scanner for the last couple of years. It was during the 2017-18 Ashes where the pitch was rated as 'poor', by the International Cricket Council (ICC). The Test match between India and Australia, last year, saw the pitch being rated 'average', as India won the match.
The venue is all set to host the Boxing Day Test (December 26) against New Zealand. However, this fresh pitch controversy can now impact the upcoming match between neighbours. Interestingly, the Shield match was being played on the pitch adjacent to the Test pitch, which had earned positive reviews, earlier this season.
There have been numerous instances when matches have been called off due to pitches being poor. The notable ones are Sabina Park, Jamaica (1998), where a Test between West Indies and England was called off, along with Feroz Shah Kotla, Delhi (2009) which impacted an ODI between India and Sri Lanka. The Perth pitch (1997) remains the most notorious one, where Windies beat Australia.