Melbourne pitch undeserving of Boxing Day Ashes Test

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • Mail
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • WhatsApp
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
Anderson was critical of the flat MCG pitch post the opening day.

England pace spearhead James Anderson has criticized the pitch at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) following the opening day of the Boxing Day Ashes Test.

Australia finished the day strongly at 244-3 and Anderson believes that the huge crowd of 88,172 was short-changed with the flat-deck on offer at the MCG, a pitch he believes is undeserving of a Boxing Day Test at the historic arena.

“You’d think that the 90,000 people that turned up today don’t want to see 244-3,” the Englishman told the media after the day’s play.

“People want to see entertaining cricket, especially in an iconic game like the Boxing Day Test match at the MCG. People want to see exciting cricket.

“We did our best. We didn’t bowl great in the first session so we didn’t add to the excitement, unless you are a David Warner fan. But second session we did all we could on that pitch. I know it wasn’t exciting to watch, it wasn’t exciting to play in to be honest.

“It’s that attritional style of cricket but there’s not a lot we can do about from here.”

There were no wickets in the opening session of the day in which the hosts, led by David Warner’s brilliance, raced away to 102-0. The batsmen did find the going tough in the second session where only 43 runs were scored along with the dismissals of Warner and Cameron Bancroft.

Anderson dismissed Warner for his 519th Test scalp.

Anderson dismissed Warner for his 519th Test scalp.

Nearly 100 runs came from the last session as Steve Smith and Shaun Marsh put together an unbeaten stand.

Anderson, who claimed his 519th Test scalp to draw level with West Indies great Courtney Walsh in the all-time Test wicket-takers list, said he was gutted to see debutant Tom Curran miss out on a maiden wicket due to a no-ball.

Warner was batting on 99 when he was caught by Stuart Broad off the bowling of Curran but a retrospective no-ball was called by the umpires to break the heart of the 22-year-old who then went wicketless in the day.

“I was gutted for him,” said Anderson.

“It was hard to watch really, seeing the elation in his face and then watch it drain from his face seconds later when the big screen came up.

“It’s one of things. I guess you’ve got to learn the hard way – and unfortunately for him it’s on debut at the MCG, Boxing Day Test match.

“I’m sure he’ll be behind the line from now on.”

Most popular

Related Sections

Ravichandran Ashwin suggests unique strategy to contain run-scoring machine Steve Smith

Ashish Peter 26/12/2017
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • Mail
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • WhatsApp
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
Steve Smith has been plundering bowling attacks for fun.

That Steve Smith is in the form of his life is known to cricket fans around the world, even more so to England’s bowling party in the ongoing Ashes series.

The Australian skipper has already completed a majestic double-ton and a century in the series so far and is looking good for his 23rd Test in just 109 innings.

Plaudits and accolades have been pouring in for the 28-year-old from all quarters and it was no surprise when India’s leading spinner Ravichandran Ashwin dropped in to sing his praises too.

After seeing Smith glide his way to an unbeaten 65 on the opening day of the Boxing Day Test at Melbourne, Ashwin took to Twitter to share his thoughts on the unstoppable scoring machine.

The off-spinner wrote: “One day teams will need to talk to Steve Smith prior to a test match and settle down on a number that both parties can agree upon. Insane stuff.”

The two stalwarts for their county have previously shared a dressing room between them when they appeared for the Rising Pune Super Giants franchise in the 2016 edition of IPL.

Ashwin had then reportedly bowled only leg-spin to the Aussie skipper while practising in the nets so as to not give away his secrets.

The Australian is now fast establishing himself as a modern day great with his staggering batting average of 63 plus now only second to the legendary Don Bradman.

If Smith continues to pile on the runs in similar fashion, teams might well need to heed Ashwin’s advice on dealing with the Australian skipper.

Most popular

Tom Curran has debut heartbreak and other talking points from the opening day of the fourth Ashes Test

Ashish Peter 26/12/2017
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • Mail
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • WhatsApp
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
Curran was denied his maiden Test-wicket due to a no-ball.

The Ashes resumed after a short break with the Boxing Day Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG).

Having won the first three Tests comprehensively, Australia batted first after Steve Smith won the toss and the hosts finished the day in a strong position of 244-3.

On a day which saw the fourth highest ever Test attendance at the MCG with 88,172 spectators, we examine the key talking points.

WARNER SLAYS SECOND CONSECUTIVE MCG TON ON WAY TO 6000 TEST RUNS

The last time David Warner batted at the MCG in a Boxing Day Test, he scored 144 against Pakistan. He might not have scored at the same clip on Tuesday but he looked fluent and in control at all times.

The left-hander was on song in the opening session where he completed a century stand with Cameron Bancroft, but it was Warner who was the dominant force.

The opener raced away to 83 runs before lunch was called with Australia at 102-1. He would survive a reprieve on the way to his 21st ton in the second session but it was the only time he wavered during his 151-ball stay at the crease.

Warner also breached the 6,000 Test runs mark during his stay and became the joint-fourth quickest to get there after Don Bradman, Ricky Ponting, Matthew Hayden and Greg Chappell.

Warner exults after completing his 21st Test ton.

Warner celebrates after completing his 21st Test ton.

TOM CURRAN HAS NO-BALL HEARTBREAK ON DEBUT

It was a special day for Surrey youngster Tom Curran who made his Test bow for England on Boxing Day in front of a 88,000 plus crowd at the MCG.

The pacer bowled with a lot of desire throughout the day but he was unfortunately the only England quick who ended up wicketless.

The 22-year-old should have had his maiden Test scalp in the form of Warner with the Australian vice-captain one short of a century.

Warner attempted his trademark short-arm pull to a short Curran delivery but could only gift a simple chance to Stuart Broad at mid-on.

What should have been a joyous moment for the England debutant quickly turned to despair as the umpire checked for a retrospective no-ball.

Replays showed the pacer had over-stepped and the MCG let out a sigh of relief.

Curran's joy quickly turned into despair.

Curran’s joy quickly turned into despair.

ENGLAND SHOW GRIT AND FIGHT

The scorecard at the end of the day might have only showed three wickets but it was not entirely reflective of the day’s play.

While Warner had dominated the opening session, England found some life in the pitch post lunch. Only 43 runs were scored by Australia in the second session as they lost their opening pair of Warner and Bancroft.

James Anderson ended the former’s stay as he equalled Courtney Walsh with 519 Test wickets and now only lies behind Glenn McGrath in the pace bowlers’ all-time wicket-takers list.

Stuart Broad also ended his miserable 414-ball and 67-over wicketless drought since his last wicket in the Adelaide Test when he had Usman Khawaja caught behind by Jonny Bairstow.

Chris Woakes was the one who provided England the initial breakthrough when he trapped Bancroft plum in front of the wickets for a scratchy 28.

Broad broke his 67-over wicketless drought with Khawaja's dismissal.

Broad broke his 67-over wicketless drought with Khawaja’s dismissal.

TOURISTS FACE STEVE SMITH WALL ONCE AGAIN

While Joe Root’s men might have bowled with ferocity, things are once again looking ominous for them with Steve Smith looking impeccable by the time stumps were drawn on day one.

The Australian skipper scored his 22nd Test fifty as he went past India’s Cheteshwar Pujara to become the leading run-scorer in 2017.

The No1 ranked Test batsman is in the form of his life and things could get bad for the tourists on day two if Smith keeps firing.

Since being dismissed by Umesh Yadav in the Boxing Day Test of 2014, the 28-year-old has registered knocks of 134, 70 and 165 at the venue without being dismissed.

It is safe to say Smith likes a Boxing Day Test at the historic venue and one wouldn’t bet against the right-hander to complete his 23rd ton come Wednesday.

Smith is looking ominous for England once again.

Smith is looking ominous for England once again.

Most popular

Related Sections