Newspaper reports say that the MCC’s bid to hold on to the Boxing Day Test has been boosted after the MCG was given an “average” rating by the ICC following India’s 137-run win.
Just a couple of weeks after the International Cricket Council (ICC) rated the Perth pitch (venue of the second India-Australia Test) as average, the international governing body on the sport has followed that up by rating the Melbourne pitch used for the third India vs Australia Test as very similar to the Perth track.
According to a report in the Sydney Morning Herald, The Melbourne Cricket Club’s bid to hold on to the Boxing Day Test has been boosted after the MCG was given an “average” rating by the ICC following India’s 137-run win.
The ICC also confirmed the rating on Tuesday (1st January) as per reports, and for the MCG, it is a marked improvement from the three demerit points that they earned after last year’s drawn Ashes Test against England, following a poor showing by the pitch that was deemed unworthy of Test-action. A rating of average means that the ground does not get demerit points from ICC. Under ICC rules, a venue loses international status if it tallies five demerit points over a rolling five-year period. Thus, the Melbourne surface was only two demerit points away from losing international status.
Earlier during the game, the track came under scanner after it took India nearly two days to post 443 runs. Indian top-scorer Cheteshwar Pujara had also attributed their sedate batting to the nature of the track. However, when India bowled during the last three days, the track seemed to have come back to life with Indian pacers accounting for 15 of the 20 Australian wickets.
Meanwhile, there were widespread complaints on Twitter, regarding the nature of Aussie pitches, such as the one below:
Great day, incredible stadium #MCG, best city in the world and yet we have a horrible cricket pitch – and if Matt Page (curator) thinks this pitch is ok, he is deluded. #AUSvIND pic.twitter.com/6fPTxrfPS4
— Michael Connory (@MikeConnory) December 26, 2018
According to the newspaper, “Despite this rating, the MCG pitches will undergo a major revamp under curator Matt Page. He had worked diligently to improve the sand base and add moisture after the Ashes debacle but the venue is about to invest in up to four new pitches and greater technology.”
The current pitches are about 15 years old but word is that they will continue to be used until the end of next season. It will take about three years for the new pitches to be grown.