BBL star Nic Maddinson has launched a withering spray at the SCG pitch just days out from the third Test, labeling it ‘pretty s**t’.
The 31-year-old Melbourne Renegades captain, who has played three Tests for Australia, could only manage one from eight balls as his side lost by 34 runs to the Sixers on Wednesday night.
The Renegades struggled for any fluency with the bat, being bowled out for a meagre 115 as they failed to chase down Sydney’s modest total of 8/149.
Renegades skipper Nic Maddinson walks off the SCG pitch dejectedly after managing just one from eight deliveries against the Sixers on Wednesday night
The third Test between Australia and South Africa is due to start on January 4, and with the Gabba wicket savaged and rated by the International Cricket Council (ICC) as below average, the SCG pitch now finds itself under the microscope.
The last three BBL matches at the SCG have only seen a relatively paltry average of 139 runs per innings – though it does bear noting scores across the tournament have been much lower this season.
Maddinson was his typically forthright self after the match when explaining exactly why his side could only manage 114 on Wednesday night against a strong Sixers attack.
‘It (the pitch) was pretty s**t, to be honest,’ he said after the game.
‘I thought it was one of the worst T20 wickets I’ve seen for a while, and it’s been a little bit like that all competition where we’ve had some pretty tricky wickets.
‘I don’t think the wickets have been fantastic across the competition, and it seems to be a common theme among most teams where the pitches probably aren’t as fast or consistent as what they’d probably like,’ said a seething Maddinson .
The Renegades could only manage 114 against the Hurricanes at Blundstone Arena in Hobart on Christmas Eve, so it’s hard to deduce whether the captain was venting his frustration towards curators instead of his side.
That being said, Sixers prodigy Josh Philippe was the only player to pass 50 in Wednesday’s encounter, with both fast bowlers (Ben Dwarshuis 4/17, Sean Abbott 2/17, Kane Richardson 2/22) and spinners (Mujeeb Ur Rahman 3/ 29) managing to extract plenty of help from the pitch.
Both of the Sixers matches last two matches since Christmas have used the same pitch, but another will be used for the upcoming third Test.
SCG curator Adam Lewis has given the Aussie selectors a subtle hint that he’s inspecting that pitch to take a little spin.
‘The way our soil is and the way it’ll break up, I daresay it’d be good if they went with a couple of spinners,’ he told CODE Sports earlier this week.
‘I think it will take turn later on in the game, but thankfully I look after the pitches and not the team selection.’
Maddinson didn’t exactly agree with that assessment, saying he felt it looked more challenging against the quicks on the pitch used for BBL.
Nic Maddinson has been scathing of the quality of the pitches across the entire BBL tournament, blaming them for the low scores
‘Even in their innings it looked pretty tough apart from Philippe who went after our spinners,’ he said.
‘It looked quite challenging against the seam bowlers. It’s a worn wicket with a few cross cracks and it was quite patchy and it made for some variable bounce and two pace (bowling).
‘When you’ve got guys who can bowl 140 (km/h) with great change-ups and great skills, it makes it pretty challenging,’ said Maddinson.
At one point during the match, out-of-form veteran Aaron Finch had to be checked over by Renegades medical personnel when he was hit by a lethal Dwarshuis delivery that was moved both upwards and sideways quite viciously.
Even Dwarshuis, who was named Player of the Match for his four-wicket haul, admitted it wasn’t a good look.
Aaron Finch reacts after being struck by a vicious Ben Dwarshuis delivery that even the bowler admitted was not a good look in regards to the pitch
‘You don’t like to see that,’ the left-armer said.
‘It was obviously a bit two-paced, the wicket, and when you’re bowling with the seam a bit scrambled, sometimes it hits the leather and takes off.
Thankfully he seems fine. I spoke with him out there and he said he was fine. It’s good that no one got hurt, but it’s always scary seeing stuff like that,’ said Dwarshuis.
The SCG will now not host games anymore until the Test, with the Sixers set to host a match against the Heat at North Sydney Oval on January 4.
Rain is expected in the lead-up to the match, with Australia set to make several changes thanks to finger injuries to both Cameron Green and Mitchell Starc.