MCG pitch becomes first in Australia to be labelled ‘poor’

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The International Cricket Council has joined the chorus of condemnation levelled at the MCG pitch produced for the fourth Ashes Test, with match referee Ranjan Madugalle rating it poor.

The ICC has officially put Cricket Australia (CA) on notice about the docile drop-in deck, which hardly broke up at all as Australia and England battled to a dull draw.

It is the first time an Australian Test pitch has suffered the ignominy of being dubbed poor by the sport's global governing body.

CA now has a fortnight to respond to the stinging critique.

The ICC's final punishment could range from a formal warning for CA to a fine of $US15,000 (around $19,000).

Stuart Broad looks on as Steve Smith urges against a run at the MCG

The Melbourne Cricket Club (MCC) has been embarrassed by the saga but can take solace from the fact it hosted the last Test to be played under an old set of punitive measures for poor pitches.

A new demerit-points system has been introduced that can result in venues being barred from hosting international cricket for up to two years.

Grounds now receive two points for a below average pitch, three for a poor strip and five for an unfit wicket.

Venues will be suspended for a year if they receive five points in a five-year period, or for two years if they accrue 10 points.

England's Alastair Cook walks off the MCG with a century

Skippers Steve Smith and Joe Root plus many pundits criticised the pitch, which the MCC has already confirmed is the subject of a review.

It was the second time in 2017 that Australia played a Test on a pitch that was rated poor, with the other occasion coming in February.

That Pune wicket, on which Steve O'Keefe claimed a haul of 12-70 as he spun the tourists to their first win in India since 2004, was likened to "the surface of Mars" by Shane Warne.


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