Australian cricket captain Steve Smith says the International Cricket Council’s condemnation of the MCG pitch in the Fourth Ashes Test bore draw is a “wake-up call” for the ground’s curators.
The ICC rated the drop-in pitch poor due to its failure to break up and provide the bowlers with assistanceas only 24 wickets fell over the five days.
The MCG Test was the last to be rated under the ICC’s previous pitch and outfield monitoring process.
A revised system comes into place on January 4 under which a poor rating results in three demerit points and a ground can be suspended for a year if it accrues five points in a five-year period.
Smith echoed his post-game comments that the MCG curators need to do more to get the bowlers into the game.
“It’s a wake-up call to them and we’ll see what they come up with next year, obviously they can’t afford to have another poor rating,” he said.
“I don’t know next year if they leave some grass on it or I don’t know do something to rough it up.
“They’ve tried that before though and it hasn’t worked so I dare say they’ll go down the path of leaving some grass on the wicket.”
The Melbourne Cricket Club chief executive Stuart Fox said the club will conduct a review of the Test and take on feedback from the players and umpires.
“We are disappointed with the pitch that we produced for the Boxing Day Test,” he said.
“We recognise that the surface did not contain the bounce, pace or subsequent deterioration that we expected, and was not conducive to a balanced contest between bat and ball.”
Sydney Cricket Ground Grounds manager Justin Grooves said the Australian curators are a tight knit community and defended the MCG ground staff.
“We feel very compassionate for all our curators around Australia and [criticism of the MCG] doesn’t sit well with our team,” he said.
“We have one football side here, Melbourne have numerous teams that play on the MCG so that’s a different ball game.”
He predicted there would no such repeat of the issues seen in Melbourne with the SCG pitch, when the fifth Ashes Test begins tomorrow.
“We’re more than confident, that’s the way we’ve made the pitch we’ve made it to be a traditional SCG pitch, so it will break up towards the end,” he said.