Australia’s quicks struggled on day one at the Gabba.
Australia’s quicks struggled on day one at the Gabba.

‘Rubbish pitch’ slammed, curator should be ‘locked up’

IN his final Test as Gabba curator, Kevin Mitchell Jr has dished up a pitch labelled 'rubbish' by Dean Jones and one worthy of prison time according to Rodney Hogg.

Australia's much vaunted pace attack was ineffective on Thursday, with England's batsmen grinding their way to 4-196 at stumps.

On a surprisingly soft deck that lacked both pace and bounce, Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins combined for just three wickets over 56.3 overs and Jones is pointing his finger squarely at the pitch.

"I think it's a rubbish pitch and they couldn't have given them (England) a better Christmas present before the start of this tour," Jones told Fox Sports News, saying it all but neutered Australia's most dangerous weapon - the pace attack. "We've got quick bowlers (and) we just give them a featherbed first up. I just can't believe we've actually given that type of pitch to them."

Kevin Mitchell Jr has copped plenty of criticism for the Gabba pitch.
Kevin Mitchell Jr has copped plenty of criticism for the Gabba pitch.

Former quick Hogg took things a step further, taking aim at the retiring Mitchell.

"He should be taken away and locked up, Kevin Mitchell - it was like we presented England the start of the series," Hogg said on SEN.

"How's the wicket fellas? What do you want for afternoon tea? What do you want to drink after the game? We're just the perfect hosts aren't we?"

Hogg went on to point out how well the pitches in England suited the hosts' attack back in 2015 when Alastair Cook's side won the Ashes 3-2.

That series led to calls for the toss to be abolished, with Stuart Broad making the most of a green deck at Trent Bridge, taking eight for 15 as Australia collapsed to 60 all out in its first innings. A match earlier James Anderson took six for 47 on a green top at Edgbaston to power England to an eight-wicket victory.

On the two driest pitches of that series - Lord's and the Oval - Australia came out victors.

"When we've been in England we've seen a dry wicket at The Oval, a dry wicket at Lords, then we saw two years ago at Edgbaston when they turned out a green top so Jimmy Anderson could try and get some wickets against us, and we turn out this sort of wicket today?

"It was underprepared, but we've got the three quicks and we're talking about giving them some short stuff, and then we come out and see men playing from the crease.

"When the wickets are faster they won't be able to get away with that."

And it's not just the Australians criticising the pitch, with England great Ian Botham surprised by the surface.

Botham, who took over 300 wickets and scored more than 5000 runs for England in Test cricket, pointed to the fact Nathan Lyon was the day's best bowler as proof this pitch was below the Gabba's normal standards.

Despite going wicketless, Lyon extracted sharp turn and bounce all day, repeatedly beating the outside edge of England's left-handers and having a nick put down off the bat of James Vince.

"They would have been very surprised by just how slow that pitch was," Botham told Fox Sports News. "On a day one pitch who would have thought the biggest threat to England would have been an off-spinner at the Gabba? That sort of sums up the pitch for me."