James Pattinson celebrates the wicket of Tom Latham. Picture: Getty Images
James Pattinson celebrates the wicket of Tom Latham. Picture: Getty Images

Captains give their verdict on MCG pitch

Captains Tim Paine and Kane Williamson gave the MCG's heavily scrutinised pitch glowing endorsements.

The ICC is also expected to give the surface a positive rating this week.

Paine described the pitch as "a fantastic wicket" after Australia romped to a 247-run win inside four days.

 

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"It offered quite a bit on day one if you bowled the right length. Same on day two, and then it started to spin a little bit," Paine said.

"All the bowlers that bowled well took wickets, all the batters that applied themselves and spent some time out there scored some runs, and we saw some spin come into it."

The total crowd of 203,473 eclipsed the combined crowds from this summer's Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth Tests.

The MCC's contract to host the Boxing Day Test expires this summer and chief executive Stuart Fox said there was "a little bit more work to do" but "we'll get (that contract) done".

Melbourne is expected to retain the Test until 2022 or 2023.

The MCG pitch has been under scrutiny since copping a "poor" pitch rating from the ICC in 2017.

 

Australian paceman James Pattinson was a handful on the MCG pitch. Picture: Getty Images
Australian paceman James Pattinson was a handful on the MCG pitch. Picture: Getty Images

 

 

A Sheffield Shield match there this month was abandoned because of a dangerous pitch.

But curator Matthew Page deliberately juiced up that pitch with extra moisture to test its liveliness, and Fox hailed that experiment a success.

"We didn't know how far we could go. Sometimes you don't know how far you can go until you've actually gone too far," Fox said.

"We didn't want that outcome and we were disappointed with that. That said, we've now got a benchmark and we know how far we can push these old pitches.

"All credit should go to our staff in Matthew Page and Michael Salvatore for doing a great job under a lot of pressure."

 

 

New Zealand captain Kane Williamson avoids a bouncer from Australia’s Pat Cummins. Picture: Michael Klein
New Zealand captain Kane Williamson avoids a bouncer from Australia’s Pat Cummins. Picture: Michael Klein

 

 

Kiwi skipper Williamson said it was "a good Test surface" but lamented that his bowlers "missed a trick" by taking only four wickets on Boxing Day after he won the toss.

"We had our opportunities early from winning the toss," Williamson said.

"Australia negated that well and then took the game away from us and exploited some of those later conditions, which made way for a fair surface and a surface that was conducive to a result."

The ICC has six pitch gradings and Adelaide Oval and the Gabba received the maximum "very good" for their recent Tests.

The "poor" rating the MCG received in 2017 was the second worst, above only "unfit".

News Corp Australia

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