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MCG gets official ICC warning for 'poor' pitch

Cricket Australia (CA) did not contest the rating given by Madugalle, the governing body said in a statement.

England's Tom Curran (R) celebrates bowling Australia's batsman Steve Smith (L) on the second day of the fourth Ashes cricket Test match at the MCG in Melbourne on 27 December, 2017.  Picture: AFP

MELBOURNE - The Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) has received an official warning after the pitch for the fourth Ashes Test was rated ‘poor’ by the International Cricket Council (ICC) earlier this month.

The track drew criticism from both teams after the drawn clash between Australia and England saw only 24 wickets fall over five days, the only stalemate in a series dominated 4-0 by the hosts as they regained the urn.

Australia scored 327 and 263 for four declared, while England scored 491 in their only innings, with match referee Ranjan Madugalle saying in his report that the surface did not allow for an even contest between bat and ball.

Cricket Australia (CA) did not contest the rating given by Madugalle, the governing body said in a statement.

“Cricket Australia... highlighted that the ground is a frequently used venue that has no history of preparing poor pitches for international cricket,” the ICC said.

The ICC said there was a commitment by both the Melbourne Cricket Club (MCC) and Cricket Australia to improve the pitches presented for international cricket at the MCG in the future.

The Melbourne Test was the last to be rated under the ICC’s pitch and outfield monitoring process, with a revision of the system coming into effect from 4 January.

Under the new process, if a pitch or outfield is rated as being substandard, that venue will be allocated a number of demerit points, which will be active for a five-year period.

The MCG will host the first one-day international between Australia and England on Sunday.

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