Australian cricket fans are up in arms over an in-ground promotional seating instalment at the MCG for the Boxing Day Test.
For the first time, the MCG has introduced the CommBank Yello Deck, which houses special and exclusive seating that boasts comfort viewing of the action, complete with sunshades and tables and chairs.
And while it’s a great initiative for those lucky enough to be involved, it has caused outrage for others who were quick to take notice of where it is located.
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The deck is situated right in the heart of Bay 13, which has become an institute in and of itself for cricket at the MCG.
Bay 13 is famous for hosting a younger, rowdier crowd which creates a party-like atmosphere during even the most dull of periods in any given match.
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But the tradition has been thwarted by the new deck, which has forced Bay 13’s cult-like crowd to politely move over.
Former sports commentator Stephen Quartermain noticed it straight away.
“The magnificent MCG tainted by the bank abomination in Bay 13,” Quartermain wrote.
Bay 13 mostly covered by seats, Credit: XNot everyone was happy. Credit: X
Online sports analyst Rory Kilpatrick said: “What have they done to Bay 13? I demand prison for those responsible.”
Radio commentator Jonathon Green added: “(Who) had so little regard for the traditions of this venue that they thought it was a good idea to give over Bay 13 to premium seating for a bank?”
The new initiative didn’t stop a big crowd still turning out despite rainy conditions to see Australia make a promising start to the Test on Boxing Day.
Australia dodged the rain and survived some serious scares from Pakistan’s improved bowling attack to crawl to stumps on Boxing Day at 3-187 in the second Test.
Despite losing almost three hours due to wild weather on Tuesday, the tourists managed to send down 66 overs to Australia in front of 62,167 spectators at the MCG after Pakistan captain Shan Masood won the toss and elected to bowl first.
Play started on time on Tuesday as the sun shone brightly, but the skies quickly got dark after lunch and players went off the ground midway through the second session.
Players were on and off the field amid rain on Day 1. Credit: JOEL CARRETT/AAPIMAGE
Spectators were warned via the scoreboards to prepare for severe weather and “seek shelter from exposed areas” as the MCG lights were turned on in the early afternoon.
After being off the field for 170 minutes, players returned for almost two hours as play was extended for a further 90 minutes beyond the scheduled stumps time.
Pakistan secured a crucial breakthrough during that period, with Aamer Jamal dismissing out-of-sorts star Steve Smith (26), who successfully reviewed a lbw shout that was given out by the on-field umpire when he was on 19.
But Pakistan’s day should have been so much better after openers David Warner and Usman Khawaja put on a 90-run stand to make the tourists pay for some sloppy fielding.
Masood was left deflated when Abdullah Shafique put down Warner at first slip off the last ball of Afridi’s second over.
Warner, who smashed 164 in the first Test in Perth, was on two when Shafique dropped a catch that left former Australia coach Justin Langer stunned.
“That’s as easy a catch that you’ll ever see in Test cricket,” Langer said in commentary on Channel 7.
Warner was out for 38 to part-time spinner Agha Salman (1-3) on the final ball before lunch, giving Pakistan some badly-needed confidence.
“Another wicket less would have been great, but credit to the way Pakistan bowled. They bowled unbelievable channels,” Warner said.
“The way (Mir) Hamza bowled around the wicket at the end there it was like bowling with a Duke ball.”
After a promising start, Khawaja was dismissed for 42 after playing a poor shot off Hasan Ali’s (1-21) bowling early in the middle session.
– With AAP