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The Sheffield Shield match between Victoria and Western Australia at the MCG which was suspended on Saturday due to a dangerous pitch has now been abandoned.
After the umpires, Phillip Gillespie and Geoff Joshua, halted the match in the 40th over of the opening day the decision was taken to give groundstaff time to roll the surface with the hope of resuming on Sunday morning, but the concerns around the pitch remained due to the damaged caused yesterday and the game was called off after a further inspection.
The incident comes less than three weeks before the Boxing Day Test between Australia and New Zealand although this match was not using the Test wicket.
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Under Cricket Australia playing conditions there will be an attempt reschedule the match and if that isn't possible the points for the match will be split three each along with the average bonus points scored in the other two games taking place.
Western Australia were 3 for 89 when played was suspeneded after a ball from Andrew Fekete leapt to strike Marcus Stoinis, which was the latest in a series of deliveries to jump alarmingly from a length. It was a unanimous view among both sets of players that the conditions weren't fit to continue.
The umpires and match referee gave the groundstaff, led by head groundsman Matt Page, time to roll the pitch and for it to dry under the sun. The major concern centered on the pitch being too soft, with the ball creating divots which led to the dangerously uneven bounce. Stoinis and captain Shaun Marsh both underwent concussion on the opening day which they passed.
"We're very disappointed at today's play being abandoned in the Marsh Sheffield Shield match between Victoria and Western Australia," Peter Roach, Cricket Australia's head of cricket operations, said after the initial suspension on Saturday. "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."
The MCG pitch has been the focus of much debate in recent years with a lifeless surface for the 2017-18 Ashes Test earning the ground a "poor" rating from the ICC, which put them on notice of formal sanctions. Last year's pitch against India was again slow, and got an "average" rating, but the visiting attack managed to take 20 wickets to comfortably beat Australia.
There have been extensive attempts to bring more pace and bounce back to the pitch, as well as natural wear as the game progresses, and the surface for the Shield match against Queensland earlier this season earned positive reviews for being a good contest.