Melbourne pitch undeserving of Boxing Day Ashes Test

Sport360 staff 18:09 26/12/2017
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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.”

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