‘That pitch was unsafe’: Big Bash game in Geelong abandoned in ‘ridiculous’ scenes

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Play was abandoned in the Big Bash game at GMHBA Stadium, Geelong on Sunday night due to a dangerous pitch.

Fox Cricket reported that water had got onto the pitch overnight following heavy, prolonged rain in Geelong on Saturday and after exhaustive work from the ground staff, the game was able to start between the Melbourne Renegades and Perth Scorchers.

Renegades players look at the pitch after play was called off on Sunday night.Credit: Getty Images

But the ball started to show signs of dangerous “tennis ball” bounce with play suspended after 6.5 overs when Scorchers batsman Josh Inglis faced an over where the ball shot up dangerously during several deliveries.

“The wicket is absolutely drenched, so we wanted to roll out [a few balls] and see how it goes,” Renegades captain Nic Maddinson told Fox Cricket after winning the toss and bowling.

The Scorchers were 2-30 when play was called off. The teams will share the points.

It’s the first abandoned game in Big Bash history due to a dangerous pitch.

Straight after what turned out to be the final ball of the match – a tennis ball bounce-style delivery outside off-stump from Will Sutherland to Josh Inglis – former Australian captain Ricky Ponting said on the Seven commentary: “I’m going to say it – I think that’s a bit ridiculous, to be honest. We started this game hoping that the wicket was going to play better than we thought and better than it looked … if this [ball] was straight, where is this going to go? Straight up under your grill [of the helmet].”

Fans greeted the announcement of the abandoned game with boos.

Renegades bowler Will Sutherland inspects the pitch.Credit: Getty Images

“I get frustrated with cricket and the game has a habit of having these scenarios,” Former England captain Michael Vaughan said while commentating for Fox Cricket.

“I’m sure they knew it was going to rain all day yesterday [Saturday] – can’t you get more covers?

“I saw it in a Test match in the UK at Old Trafford, I saw it at the SCG last year where there wasn’t enough covering and too much time was taken out of the game.

“I think we always say that is unfortunate, but seriously? You can’t get enough covers to cover an area of turf so today’s game goes ahead? I just find, in cricket, we make too many excuses for what I think shouldn’t have happened.”

On the Seven coverage, Australian white-ball star and Melbourne Stars captain Glenn Maxwell was even more straight-to-the-point, saying it was “pretty clear to anyone who has played the game that that pitch was unsafe.”

Umpires Simon Lightbody and Ben Treloar said the points would be shared like in any other game that was abandoned.

Treloar had hoped the game could be played out but the last over to Inglis made it clear it had to be called off.

“We wanted to give play every chance – it’s why we started to play,” Treloar told Fox Cricket.

“After the first few overs, we were quite hopeful [of the game being completed] but that last ball to Inglis, that was enough for us.

“That was the one that put us in this position. The safety of the players is paramount.”

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