England's Joe Root, left, and Jonny Bairstow begin to walk off at the end of their Ashes cricket test match against Australia in Melbourne, Australia, Saturday, Dec. 30, 2017. The match is a draw. (AP Photo/Andy Brownbill)
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The Melbourne pitch for the fourth Ashes Test match has been rated "poor" by the International Cricket Council (ICC), reportedly the first for an Australian ground, just days after players also criticized the conditions.The drop-in pitch at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) was unforgiving for bowlers, with a total of 1,081 runs scored and only 24 wickets taken over five days.Match referee Ranjan Madugalle noted the unfavourable conditions in his report to the ICC, while Australia captain Steve Smith and England skipper Joe Root also hit out at the lifeless pitch after the Test.The ICC rating comes just two days before the introduction of a new penalty system for grounds that could have seen the MCG hit with demerit points.
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