The Sheffield Shield match at the MCG between Victoria and WA has been abandoned after attempts by ground staff to make the pitch playable for day two on Sunday failed.
A day of drama unfolded on Saturday when play was called off midway through the second session because of fears for the players' safety.
WA batsmen Shaun Marsh and Marcus Stoinis both required concussion tests after being hit by deliveries from Victorian quick Peter Siddle that reared unexpectedly.
Stoinis also took a nasty blow to the ribs after misjudging a delivery from Andrew Fekete.
Marsh and Stoinis were cleared of concussion.
Too much moisture in the drop-in wicket led to divots, which hardened under the sun, creating uneven bounce and danger for the batsmen.
Curator Matt Page and his ground staff attempted to even out the deck and make it playable after the embarrassing situation unfolded.
Vic captain Peter Handscomb says disappointing match at MCG has been a abandoned but safety of players had to come first. Has no concerns about the pitch for Boxing Day Test and has backed Matt Page to get it right. pic.twitter.com/lRqt5BEz3e— Alister Nicholson (@AlisterNicho) December 7, 2019
However, match officials determined on Sunday that the pitch was still too dangerous.
The latest development comes as a massive blow for the MCG, which is due to host Australia's Boxing Day Test against New Zealand in just 18 days.
The situation has left fans angry and concerned on social media, with many calling for the MCG to be stripped of hosting duties for the iconic Test.
Sheffield Shield match @MCG abandoned because of a pitch that is too dangerous to play on ..just 18 days from showpiece Boxing Day Test. It’s the biggest and best cricket stadium in the world ..so this is a huge embarrassment . How could it happen? 10am “Sunday Morning” @3AW693— NickMcCallum7 (@NickMcCallum7) December 7, 2019
Cancel the Boxing Day test at the @MCG . It hasn’t been a pitch deserving of a test for years. The best ground in the world can easily handle two tests in a month @TheAdelaideOval show them how it’s done...— Kristos Kyriacou (@Kyri_1) December 7, 2019
How the hell is the mcg gonna have an international standard pitch in 18 days??— Cameron Martin, MCrim (@camlong05) December 7, 2019
Remember how much stick the Victorians gave NSW a few years back when a match @scg had to be abandoned. The conditions then were much better than what we saw yesterday. It goes without saying that a lot of work needs to be done on the @MCG pitch square before Boxing Day. 🏏— Martin (@hammersaint) December 7, 2019
Im hoping the Sheffield shield pitch was a one off anomaly... Coming from NZ with my two best mates to lose our MCG virginity... Can't wait #AusvNZBoxingDayTest— Gavin Mudford (@muddygav) December 7, 2019
CA will b in panic mode n having kittens with the state of MCG pitch especially if it gets a spell from hosting future tests— Top End Rooster (@TopEndRooster) December 7, 2019
The much maligned MCG pitch has been criticised as being too docile in recent years and received unfavourable ICC ratings.
MCC CEO Stuart Fox defended his ground staff in a statement released on Saturday night.
MCG staff ‘confident’ about Boxing Day preparations
"Over the last twelve months, our curators, supported by key stakeholders including Cricket Australia, have made a concerted effort in making improvements to the standard of the MCG wickets to ensure there's enough in them for both bat and ball," Fox said.
"While it's unfortunate that play was suspended today, the previous two Sheffield Shield matches held at the 'G this summer have been held without incident and have seen a result in the first match and a draw in the second with significant rain delays contributing to that outcome.
"Our broader plan is to continually make improvements to the wickets to allow for pace, bounce and lateral movement and we're confident about our preparations leading into the upcoming Boxing Day Test."
The strip being used in the Shield match is not the one being prepared for Australia's Test against New Zealand.
WA had reached 3-89 before play was called off, with left-handed opener Jake Carder (44) carving out a solid innings in difficult batting conditions.
Carder fell victim to Siddle (3-21), who was Victoria's most damaging bowler.