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Sheffield Shield: Opening day at MCG called off due to dangerous pitch

The opening day of the Sheffield Shield game between Victoria and Western Australia at the MCG was abandoned due to umpires having concerns over the pitch conditions.

Western Australia was 89 for 3 in the 40th over when the on-field umpires – Phillip Gillespie and Goeff Johsua – decided to take the call of suspending the day’s play indefinitely after engaging in long discussions with the two captains, Peter Handscomb and Shaun Marsh, and curator Matt Page.

Another inspection was conducted in the afternoon with the umpires opting to call off the day’s play. An inspection is also scheduled to take place on Sunday, with play set to commence 30 minutes early at 10:00 am AEDT.

A slew of deliveries climbed awkwardly during the course of day’s play and hit WA’s batsmen. The umpires decided to halt play after yet another delivery reared up from a length to clonk Marcus Stoinis on the ribs. If in case, the game gets abandoned and there isn’t any chance of rescheduling it, the points would be split between the two teams.

“We’re very disappointed at today’s play being abandoned in the Marsh Sheffield Shield match between Victoria and Western Australia,” Peter Roach, CA’s Head of Cricket Operations, said. “But we also acknowledge that there have been two previous Shield matches at the MCG this season without incident.

“The safety of our players is always our highest priority. The decision to suspend play and roll the wicket in an effort to address the variable bounce was the correct one and I applaud umpires Gillespie and Joshua for the decisive action taken,” he added.

However, Roach noted that the Boxing Day Test between Australia and New Zealand, scheduled to take place on December 26, will be played on a different strip. “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.

In the recent past, the drop-in pitch at MCG has also come under scrutiny for not assisting the fast bowlers.

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