Shane Warne said it was a 'terrible decision.'
Shane Warne said it was a 'terrible decision.'

Legends fire up over ‘ridiculous’ farce

Australian legends have condemned the decision to throw pitch curators in Perth under the bus after the ICC labelled their wicket for last week's Test match "average".

The International Cricket Council introduced a system at the beginning of the year in order to improve the standard of pitches around the world - and the polarising drop-in model at the newly introduced Optus Stadium copped a serious serve.

The "average" mark is the lowest possible pass mark, handed down by match referee Ranjan Madugalle after Australia's series-levelling win.

And it's not the first time Australia has come under the microscope. Last year's Boxing Day Test, which ended in a dull draw, was given a "poor mark.

The Perth pitch, which became a minefield after day two, was a stunning green top and offered variable bounce throughout the match.

Aaron Finch retired hurt after his right glove was struck by a Mohammed Shami delivery that caused sufficient damage for bone to be visible.

But cricket big-wigs around the world couldn't understand the bitter backlash after day five.

Former Australian quick Mitchell Johnson, a former WACA specialist and West Australian representative, slammed the decision in a series of tweets.

It didn't take long before former Indian opener Aakash Chopra joined in to share his two cents, backing the "average" rating.

There were no public complaints from either camp and broader commentary about the Perth wicket was almost entirely positive.

"Anyone who says there's anything wrong with that wicket, they must've been watching a different game," Australia coach Justin Langer said earlier this week.

India captain Virat Kohli noted before the match the pitch is "something we're very excited about".

Western Australian Cricket Association (WACA) chief Christina Matthews, speaking during the Test, described the pitch as "an outstanding success".

Former Aussie leg-spinner Shane Warne waded into the social media storm, blasting the "terrible decision" and declaring the pitch a wonderful success.

Across the pond, former England teammates Michael Vaughan and Stuart Broad declared the unpredictable pitch was good for Test cricket in a time where the excitement of the T20 format often overshadows the five-day contest.

Madugalle was also responsible for the rating of "poor" given to the MCG a year ago.

The guidelines hadn't come into effect for that match but the threat of the MCG being stripped of the Boxing Day Test is now in play.

Two of the past four MCG Tests have resulted in draws, with curator Matt Page working hard to inject some life into flat pitches that have copped widespread criticism.

- with AAP



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