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Play gets suspended due to dangerous MCG pitch, CA takes cognizance

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Melbourne, Dec 7: After the first day's play between Victoria and West Australia in the ongoing Sheffield Shield competition was abandoned, Cricket Australia on Saturday said that it will work closely with the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) staff to ensure the best possible wicket is prepared for the Boxing Day Test against New Zealand.

Several batsmen were hit by rising deliveries when umpires finally decided to suspend the play after Western Australia reached 89/3 after 40 overs less than an hour into the second session.

Peter Roach, CA's Head of Cricket Operations, in an official statement said the wicket used for the ongoing Sheffield Shield match is a different strip to the one being prepared for the Boxing Day Test.

"We're very disappointed at today's play being abandoned in the Marsh Sheffield Shield match between Victoria and Western Australia," Roach said. "But we also acknowledge that there have been two previous Shield matches at the MCG this season without incident.

"Matt Page and the MCG groundstaff have more than two weeks to ensure the Test surface, which is a different pitch strip to the one being used in this match, is of international standard.

"We will seek to better understand the issues that resulted in variable bounce at the MCG on Saturday. We will also work closely with MCG ground-staff in the lead up to the Test match."

This is the last competitive game being held at the MCG which will be hosting the second Test between Australia and New Zealand starting December 26. 

In the recent times, the MCG pitch has come under heavy scrutiny for being lifeless.

Following the 2017-18 drawn Ashes Test in Melbourne, the International Cricket Council (ICC) gave the wicket an unprecedented 'poor' rating for providing so little assistance to bowlers. Then for last summer's Test against India, it was given an 'average' rating by the ICC.

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