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Tuesday, Aug 20, 2019

India vs Australia: Will MCG’s ‘average’ rating create another controversy

This is the second instance in the ongoing series where a pitch has been rated ‘average’ after the pitch for the second Test in Perth was also handed a similar rating.

cricket Updated: Jan 01, 2019 13:13 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Melbourne cricket ground curators attend to the pitch before the start of play on day four of the third Test.
Melbourne cricket ground curators attend to the pitch before the start of play on day four of the third Test.(AP)
         

The Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) pitch that was used during the Boxing Day Test has received an ‘average’ rating from the International Cricket Council (ICC). This is the second instance in the ongoing series where a pitch has been rated ‘average’ after the pitch for the second Test in Perth was also handed a similar rating.

According to a report in 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 International Cricket Council following India’s 137-run win.”

READ: Virat Kohli and MS Dhoni differ in opinion with an eye on World Cup

According to the report, the ICC confirmed the rating on Tuesday, a marked improvement from the three demerit points that they earned after last year’s drawn Ashes Test. Under ICC rules, a venue loses international status if it tallies five demerit points over a rolling five-year period.

India took giant strides towards winning their first ever series on Australian soil in seven decades by retaining the Border-Gavaskar Trophy with a comprehensive 137-run win in the third Test on Sunday.

Taking an unassailable 2-1 lead in the four-match series, India will retain the coveted trophy even if the series is drawn level at Sydney as they have won the previous series at home in 2017.

It took only 27 balls on the fifth day afternoon as Jasprit Bumrah (3/53) and Ishant Sharma (2/40) completed the formalities in what turned out to be India’s 150th Test victory.

However, Australia coach Justin Langer did not agree with the rating given by ICC to the Perth pitch.

“I was really surprised (about Perth rating). A couple of deliveries stayed low, but I thought it was entertaining Test cricket. That was the fastest pitch I’ve ever seen in Perth and I’ve been there a long time,” he said.

Langer was backed by a number of former players who also thought that the rating was quite harsh.

READ: India vs Australia: India’s predicted XI for Sydney Test

“Nothing wrong with it. It was exciting to watch a contest between bat and ball for a change and not these dull flat tracks being served up constantly. I’d actually be interested in knowing what a good pitch is? Hope for another exciting test at the MCG,” former Australia cricketer Mitchell Johnson wrote on his twitter handle.

Former England skipper Michael Vaughan also took to Twitter to criticise ICC’s decision.

“And it wonders why Test Match cricket is struggling .. Was a tremendously exciting pitch which had a bit for everyone .. Should be more like this IMO...” The ICC’s rating is presumably due to the uneven bounce that became more prevalent later in the match.

However, Johnson disagreed. “Inconsistent bounce used to happen a lot, the pitch is supposed to deteriorate. Is it any different to a pitch that spins a metre or more & stays low?,” he wrote. The Perth pitch saw some sharp bounce with one Mohammed Shami delivery hitting Australia opener Aaron Finch’s right glove, forcing him to retire hurt.

(With agency inputs)

First Published: Jan 01, 2019 13:13 IST

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