Queensland coach Stuart Law has unleashed a broadside at a benign MCG pitch he feels robbed his side of a chance at making the Sheffield Shield final.
Queensland coach Stuart Law has lashed the lifeless MCG pitch after the Bulls’ hopes of making the Sheffield Shield final were ruined when their match against Victoria ended in a draw on Friday.
The Queenslanders needed an outright victory to progress to the decider against NSW, and looked to be in the box seat to do just that after establishing a 273-run first-innings lead.
But they toiled in vain over the remaining day and a half as the Bushrangers cruised to 2-314 on the fourth and final day.
“My understanding of playing four-day cricket is that the wicket should deteriorate as the game goes on, not get better,” Law said.
“To find the ball spinning more on days one, two and three than day four is unbelievable.
“Talking to the Victorians they were saying the same thing as well.
“It sounds like an excuse and sour grapes, and it probably is, but I think we’ve got every right to be (upset). We played some very good cricket in the last five Shield games and to only be able to take two wickets on the last day of a Shield game (is disappointing).
“They’ve been flatter all year, but to have something that is a slab of concrete devoid of grass of any description I don’t know if it’s going to help us develop players to play at the next level.
“Yes, it’s getting games going deep into day four, but will it make us better players? I don’t know. Techniques will be tested going to England where they do actually swing and seam and do quite a bit.”
After negotiating a tricky evening session on day three, when the Bulls dropped five chances by skipper James Hopes’ own admission, Rob Quiney looked relatively untroubled on his way to an unbeaten 143 on the final day.
That was in stark contrast to the first day when, having won the toss and elected to bat, Victoria was in trouble early at 3-17 before struggling to post a total of 210 as Hopes put up career-best figures of 6-40.
The Bulls didn’t find the going nearly as tough with the bat as the home side with an unbeaten 155 to Peter Forrest the cornerstone of an imposing 8-483 first-innings total.
Queensland entered the final round of the season in fourth place on the Shield ladder on 22 points with Western Australia, New South Wales and South Australia all equal on 26 points.
With the Redbacks suffering a heavy defeat at the hands of Tasmania in Hobart and NSW squeaking past WA in a thriller to earn the right to host the final, a finals berth was there for the taking for the Bulls, but Law scoffed at suggestions his players had taken their eyes off the task in front of them at the MCG.
The result means WA go back to Canberra to do battle with the Blues in the final starting next Friday.