MCG receives ICC warning over poor Ashes pitch
Melbourne Cricket Ground staff have received a warning from the ICC over the pitch prepared for the fourth Ashes Test, after it was rated as poor.
Both Australia and England criticised the drop-in pitch used for the Test, with a lifeless surface producing a lack of pace, bounce swing or spin, making matters extremely easy for the batsmen in a contest that inevitably ended in a draw.
It subsequently received the poor rating from cricket's governing body, with the MCG Test the last to be rated under its old 'Pitch and Outfield Monitoring Process', as a new system came into force on January 4.
An ICC statement read: "The International Cricket Council (ICC) has today announced that the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) has been given an official warning, in relation to the 'poor' rating given to the pitch for the fourth Test of the Australia v England series played at the venue from 26-30 December, 2017.
"In arriving at the sanction, the ICC noted the comprehensive response provided by Cricket Australia, which did not contest the rating given to the pitch by the ICC Match Referee, Ranjan Madugalle, but highlighted that the ground is a frequently used venue that has no history of preparing poor pitches for international cricket, and indicated that there was a commitment by both the Melbourne Cricket Club (MCC) and Cricket Australia to improve the pitches presented for international cricket at the MCG in the future."
Under the new pitch monitoring system three demerit points would have been awarded to the Victorian venue. According to the new regulations, reaching five across a rolling five-year period will result in a 12-month ban on hosting any international cricket.