• MCG pitch improves from ‘poor’ to ‘average’

    The International Cricket Council have rated the pitch for the recent third Test between Australia and India at the Melbourne Cricket Ground as ‘average’.

    The venue was rated ‘poor’ last year, when the hosts and England shared a tame draw. India won last week’s fixture.

    The ICC’s criteria, introduced early last year, states for an average pitch: ‘Lacks carry, and/or bounce and/or occasional seam movement, but consistent in carry and bounce.

    ‘A degree of turn, but with average bounce for the spinner. Falling significantly short of “very good” with respect to carry, bounce and turn.’

    The rating means the MCG did not gather a demerit point, of which five would result in a suspension from hosting any international cricket for 12 months.

    The Sydney Cricket Ground will host this week’s fourth and final Test. Leg-spinner Marnus Labuschagne has been added to Australia’s squad – and will likely feature in the playing XI.

    ‘I’ve learnt a lot with my bowling and it’s a skill that I’m continuing to learn, because it’s only in the last year that I’ve changed my bowling and placed more of a focus on it,’ Labuschagne told cricket.com.au recently.

    ‘My dream as a player was always to be good enough with both skills to win games for my team. I’m not at that stage yet.

    ‘I’m bowling more overs in first-class cricket, which is good – it’s just a matter of continuing to work as hard as I can on it.

    ‘And keeping in the forefront of my mind that batting is my first skill – if I’m not scoring runs, I’m not in the team.’

    Photo: Getty

    Post by