Jan 022018
ICC rates MCG pitch as poor after drawn Ashes Test

The pitch did not allow an even contest between the bat and the ball, match referee said in his report to the ICCMELBOURNE: The Melbourne Cricket Ground pitch for the fourth Ashes Test has been rated “poor” by the International Cricket Council (ICC) after last week´s drawn clash between hosts Australia and England saw only 24 wickets fall over five days.The track drew criticism from both competing teams after Australia scored 327 and 263-4 declared in their two innings while England scored 491 in their only innings.“The bounce of the MCG pitch was medium, but slow in pace and got slower as the match progressed,” match referee Ranjan Madugalle said in his report to the ICC, reflecting the concerns of the match officials over the performance of the pitch.“The nature of the pitch did not change over the five days and there was no natural deterioration.“As such, the pitch did not allow an even contest between the bat and the ball as it neither favoured the batsmen too much nor it gave the bowlers sufficient opportunity to take wickets.”Cricket Australia (CA) has two weeks to respond to the report, the sport´s governing body said in a statement.CA Chief Executive James Sutherland said CA will strive to avoid a repeat and discuss the matter with the administrators of the ground.“Such a rating is extremely disappointing for all involved,” Sutherland said.“We work closely with all our venues to encourage the best possible international cricket playing environment.“We´ll be taking on board advice from [Read More…]

Dec 302017
Smith century secures Ashes Test draw with England

Another hundred for Steve Smith, Dec 30, 2017/Getty Images MELBOURNE: Steve Smith scored his 23rd Test century to bat out a draw for Australia in the fourth Ashes Test and deny England their first win of the series in Melbourne on Saturday.The Australia skipper stonewalled the English bowling attack to remain unconquered on 102 for his third century of the series when the Test was called a draw late on the final day.Smith joined the legendary Don Bradman as the only batsmen to score centuries in four consecutive Melbourne Tests.He also joined Ricky Ponting as the only batsmen in Test history to have made six centuries in a calendar year on multiple occasions.Australia only lost two wickets on the fifth day but coasted through after lunch to finish on 263 for four with Mitchell Marsh not out on 29.The hosts have already clinched the Ashes with an unassailable 3-0 lead in the series ahead of the fifth and final Test in Sydney next week.It was just the second drawn Boxing Day Test in 20 years, although there was criticism of the lifeless state of the Melbourne Cricket Ground drop-in pitch.Smith and Marsh comfortably batted through after lunch to ensure England were unable to go for the win after leading by 164 runs on the first innings, following a record-breaking unbeaten 244 from opener Alastair Cook.The Australia captain led the salvage operation in a 275-ball vigil to take his series tally to 604 runs at an average of 151.00 after losing batting [Read More…]

Dec 292017
Ashes Test hit by ball tampering claims

James Anderson and Joe Root inspect the ball, Dec 29, 2017/Getty ImagesEngland’s treatment of the new ball came under the spotlight on the fourth day of the fourth Ashes Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Friday, when the umpires had a tense discussion with captain Joe Root about their bounce returns.Umpires S Ravi and Kumar Dharmasena spoke to Root after Stuart Broad threw the ball from mid-on that bounced well short of wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow on the hard wicket block. Bounce return is a tactic used to scuff one side of the ball and quickly attain reverse-swing.Questions were also raised over TV footage of James Anderson paying close attention to the quarter-seam that runs down the face of the ball. “I’m not sure you are allowed to use your fingernail there,” Shane Warne said on Nine’s Wide World of Sports broadcast.“If you are going to touch the ball at all, it’s not just shining it, you want to do it right in front of the umpire so they know there is nothing untoward going on. But I’m not sure that Jimmy Anderson … this might get some people talking.”“Ball reversing under 10 overs,” former pacer Mitchell Johnson tweeted during today’s morning session. Former Australia batsman Michael Hussey said Anderson could face censure for the episode.“It didn’t look great, to be honest. There might be a little bit of a ‘please explain’ there for Jimmy Anderson… The pitch is pretty flat and they’ve got to look at other ways to [Read More…]

Oct 222011
On a good wicket

Cause to celebrate: Cricket Australia's financial outlook is rosy thanks to future summers dominated by visiting teams from India, and the Ashes Test. Photo: AFP Cricket's financial future looks bright over the next five years, with big dollars…

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