A Sheffield Shield fixture between Victoria and Western Australia was abandoned on Sunday after the playing surface was deemed unsporting and dangerous to bat on.
The opening day’s play was suspended half-way through the second session after 40 overs and the game was called off on the second day.
Deliveries from pacers were rearing off a length and Western Australia batsmen were struck on the body multiple times.
The surface was quite soft and divots cropped up due to the deliveries bowled by the fast bowlers and this resulted in unpredictable bounce, as some balls shot up after hitting certain areas of the pitch.
Captains Shaun Marsh and Peter Handscomb agreed to call off the game and the Victoria skipper, Handscomb even conceded that he could’ve possibly influenced the pitch curator with his pre-game comments about needing more lively pitches.
“The game’s been abandoned so it was a pretty genuine risk,” Handscomb reasoned. “The players want to play cricket, that’s why we are here, but player safety is key and that’s where this decision has come from.”
Top-order batsmen Shaun Marsh and Marcus Stoinis suffered blows to their ribs while batting. Both players underwent concussion tests after the opening day.
“It was quite dangerous and as the game went on it got worse,” Marsh said. “As the pitch dried out it became unplayable. My players’ safety is at the forefront of my mind. The right decision has been made and lessons will be learnt.”
The Melbourne Cricket Ground(MCG) will be hosting the Boxing Day Test between New Zealand and Australia. The pitch for that game would be the strip adjacent to the one used in this domestic match.
The playing surfaces at the MCG have been under scrutiny for the past two years. The ICC rated the pitch ‘poor’ after an Ashes Test that ended in a draw in 2017.
The surface on which India won in 2018 at the MCG was rated ‘average’ by the ICC.
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