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Cricket Australia working with MCG staff to ensure best possible wicket for Boxing Day Test

Melbourne Cricket Ground, Australia

Cricket Australia will work closely with Melbourne Cricket Ground staff to ensure the best possible wicket is prepared for the Boxing Day Test against New Zealand.

Play was suspended at the MCG on Saturday with two deliveries remaining in the 40th over after an Andrew Fekete delivery struck Marcus Stoinis with Western Australia at 3 for 89. Victoria had earlier won the toss and elected to bowl on day one of the Marsh Sheffield Shield match.

Umpires Phillip Gillespie and Geoff Joshua asked groundstaff to roll the pitch in the interests of player safety but, after a subsequent inspection, play was abandoned for the remainder of day one. An inspection will take place on Sunday morning, with play scheduled to begin 30 minutes early at 10:00am AEDT.

Peter Roach, CA’s Head of Cricket Operations, said the wicket used for this Marsh 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 groundstaff in the lead up to the Test match.”

Roach praised the decision of umpires Gillespie and Joshua to put the welfare of players first and suspend play at the MCG on Saturday.

“The safety of our players is always our highest priority,” Roach said. “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.”

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