16/04/2024

Kurtis Patterson may have lost on the MCG, but he left impressed by the state of the drop-in pitch. (Photo: Cricket Australia).

Kurtis Patterson's NSW side may have slumped to a second straight Shield loss to Victoria, but he left praising the MCG's pitch.

The MCG drop-in pitch has come under plenty of scrutiny in recent years, as the groundskeeper’s inability to produce a lively wicket has threatened the ground’s chances of hosting future Boxing Day clashes.

But the new wicket has been given its greatest endorsement yet by New South Wales skipper Kurtis Patterson, who believes the pitch is one of the best he’s ever played cricket on.

“Without a doubt it’s the best wicket I’ve played on at the MCG, but I also think it’s one of the best wickets I’ve played on,” he said.

“They nailed the balance between bat and ball, it was never too one-sided either way, it gave the bowlers something the whole time.

“But if they missed, as a batter you were able to score freely.”

After being rated poorly by the ICC for multiple years in a row as the wicket for the famous Boxing Day test match, the MCG’s drop-in wicket process has been tweaked to add more grass to the pitch.

It initially led to a Shield game being cancelled between Victoria and Western Australia due to the dangerous variable bounce, but Patterson says the wicket has been finetuned and is perfectly set to host an exciting Ashes test this summer.

“I think if they produce something similar for Boxing Day it’ll be a great spectacle for everyone,” Patterson said.

The praise comes despite Patterson’s side slipping to a second consecutive defeat to the Bushrangers in the Sheffield Shield, falling to a 174 run defeat as they failed to grimly cling to a final day draw.

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Opener Daniel Hughes poured his heart out in trying to defend against the loss, facing 319 balls to carry his bat for a knock of 89*.

“There was some great fight today, and the way Dan played was fantastic, he really showed the way for the rest of our batting order with what can be done when you apply yourself and absorb some pressure,” Patterson said.

“Getting through that session last night, which was difficult when the lights came on, and then applying himself all day against some good bowlers on a good wicket, it gave the rest of the group encouragement going forward.”

Patterson held similar praise for young batter Jack Edwards, who contributed to New South Wales’ final day defiance with a gritty 42 off 106 balls before he was bowled by a Scott Boland jaffer.

“He showed nice improvement, he had nice intent and moved into the ball well,” he said.

New South Wales won’t be able to lick their wounds for long, as they gear up for some white ball cricket at the MCG later in the week. Despite slumping to two defeats to begin their Sheffield Shield campaign, New South Wales will welcome the likes of Chris Tremain, Moises Henriques, Ollie Davies and Ben Dwarshuis back into their squad.

Patterson is sure the inclusion of new names flying down from Sydney will bolster the state’s chances in the limited-overs tournament.

“Having some fresh faces coming down from Sydney to join the group will be great, we’re looking forward to playing on another good cricket wicket on the MCG in a few days.”

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