'What a joke': Controversy erupts over Aussie cricket 'disgrace'

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Marnus Labuschagne, pictured here examining a spot on the pitch at Karen Rolton Oval.
Marnus Labuschagne wasn't happy with a spot on the pitch at Karen Rolton Oval. Image: Cricket Network/Getty

Aussie cricket fans were left fuming on Tuesday when the opening day of the Sheffield Shield clash between South Australia and Queensland was abandoned due to a dangerous pitch.

The Ashes preparations of three Aussie batsmen hit a hurdle when play was suspended at Karen Rolton Oval after just one session.

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The opening day had to be abandoned after Test batsman Marnus Labuschagne was repeatedly struck on the gloves by deliveries that seemed to rise alarmingly off a regulation length.

Labuschagne wasn't seriously hurt but Tuesday's play was called off with Queensland at 1-87 from 50 overs.

A damp area on the pitch - about a one metre square - caused concerns among umpires and players after play began two and a half hours late due to rain.

Queensland opener Joe Burns, who made 17 from 105 deliveries, was dismissed by a ball which reared off a length and crashed into his gloves, popping a catch to gully.

Labuschagne (21 not out) was struck at least three times on the gloves before he walked off the field after a discussion with umpires.

Captains Travis Head and Usman Khawaja, who are battling for one spot in Australia's Test side, consulted with umpires and match referee Steve Davis before play was halted.

"There's a potential of it being dangerous," Davis said.

"It was obvious that the umpires had some concern and the players had some concern because there was a couple of people that were hit on the gloves and in the stomach area.

"It (the pitch) was just behaving a bit unusually.

"It's an area where the ball is sticking a bit, there is obviously some dampness underneath.

"It's only about a metre square but obviously once you see a ball doing that, if you're any sort of bowler you are going to aim for that spot."

Travis Head and Marnus Labuschagne, pictured here walking from the field after play was abandoned.
Travis Head and Marnus Labuschagne walk from the field after play was abandoned at Karen Rolton Oval. (Photo by Mark Brake/Getty Images)

Controversy erupts over 'dangerous' Sheffield Shield pitch

Captains and officials agreed to allow ground staff to perform remedial work.

"No-one has got any guarantees on what this work will do," Davis said.

"The groundsman is quite confident this will help ... but until we get back on tomorrow and see how the ball behaves, we won't know.

"If it did again, we have to question 'well that didn't work, what do we do now?'

"The safety of players is paramount. Both teams are keen to progress with the game and we will try and do that tomorrow morning."

Match official Steve Davis and umpires Mike Graham-Smith and Donovan Koch, pictured here speaking with SACA grounds manager Trent Kelly.
Match official Steve Davis and umpires Mike Graham-Smith and Donovan Koch speak with SACA grounds manager Trent Kelly. (Photo by Mark Brake/Getty Images)

However the decision to abandon play didn't go down well in the cricket community, with many pointing to the fact that Queensland were 1-87 despite the 'dangerous' conditions.

Former Redbacks bowler Chadd Sayers was among the many to question the decision, tweeting: "So when bowlers think it’s too flat, they just walk off?"

Others questioned whether Labuschagne was hamming up the situation, while some pointed out that Australia's Test batsmen should be eager for some match practice in tricky conditions.

South Australian great Greg Blewett even labelled the Queenslanders "sooks", while some described it as a "disgrace".

with AAP

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