The Melbourne Cricket Ground has received an official warning from the International Cricket Council after its pitch was rated as 'poor' after the Australia-England Boxing Day Ashes Test. The sanction comes after ICC reviewed Cricket Australia's response. The MCG, however, wasn't slapped with a fine.



"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," the ICC said in a release on Friday (January 12).

Cricket Australia acknowledged the pitch wasn't what they had desired for and went on to reiterate they will work with Melbourne Cricket Club to prevent any such instances. "Cricket Australia and the MCC have committed to work together to finding and resourcing solutions to ensure that the MCG regains its unique characteristics, and is seen as one of the best Test pitches in the world," the spokesperson said.

"Cricket Australia wants to work closely with all of its venues to continue to produce pitches that are challenging for both bat and ball, and ultimately provide fans with highly engaging cricket."

The flat and unresponsive wicket drew a torrent of criticism during the batting-friendly draw. The hosts lost just two wickets in more than 80 overs on the final day as the wicket continued to be a batting paradise. "The bounce of the MCG pitch was medium, but slow in pace and got slower as the match progressed," Madugalle, the match referee in that game, said.

"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."