Ashes: Australia captain Steve Smith criticises MCG pitch after draw

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Pint-sized Ashes: Smith stars as Test is drawn
Fourth Ashes Test, Melbourne Cricket Ground (day five of five)
Australia 327 (Warner 103 ) & 263-4 dec (Smith 102*, Warner 86)
England 491 (Cook 244*)
Match drawn

Australia captain Steve Smith criticised the Melbourne pitch despite hitting a century to secure a draw in the fourth Ashes Test against England.

Only two wickets fell on the final day and 24 in the match on a lifeless surface at the MCG.

"It was probably the flattest wicket I have played on," said Smith. "If we played for the next two days it wouldn't change."

Former England captain Michael Vaughan said the pitch was "absolute garbage".

Australia made 327 and England 491 before Smith's unbeaten 102 and Mitchell Marsh's 166-ball 29 not out helped Australia recover from 178-4 - effectively 14-4 - to reach 263-4.

The draw - only the second in the past 20 Tests at the MCG - preserved Australia's 3-0 lead in the series and ensured England cannot suffer a third whitewash in four Ashes tours.

"It was very hard to get guys out," Smith said. "It was so slow. The pitch needs to have something in it - more pace or to break up so it spins."

'Turgid and a sad spectacle'

Steve Smith bats
Steve Smith has batted for more than 31 hours in the series

The total attendance for the Boxing Day Test, one of the showpiece events in the cricket calendar, was 262,616.

"This is the one Test match I always look forward to," said Vaughan, who played 82 Tests for England and led them to Ashes glory in 2005.

"It is a real sad spectacle that we have had five days of turgid cricket.

"There has been some good stuff but you can't be playing Test match cricket on this kind of surface. It doesn't do anything for selling Test match cricket."

England captain Joe Root said: "There was no pace, no spin - and if we played for four more days it would be exactly the same."

Chief executive Stuart Fox said Melbourne Cricket Club will "take on board feedback" from players and umpires and review the quality of the drop-in pitch.

"While this Test pitch did produce a good contest, it has not contained the pace and bounce that we expected," he said.

Smith's third century of the five-match series took his tally for the series to 604 runs at an average of 151.

The final Test in Sydney starts on 4 January (23:30 GMT on 3 January).

"I am in a nice place mentally and I am comfortable with my game," said Smith.

"I am enjoying batting and love my batting. Hopefully I can get another big one at my home ground in Sydney in a week's time."

Steve Smith graphic showing his record in this series - four Tests, 604 runs, 1258 balls faced, 1883 minutes batting, average of 151

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