Siddle encouraged by MCG Shield pitch

Charlie Hemphrey top-scored to rescue Queensland in their Sheffield Shield clash with Victoria.
Charlie Hemphrey top-scored to rescue Queensland in their Sheffield Shield clash with Victoria.

The much-maligned MCG centre square has passed its first test of the summer, with 10 wickets falling on Tuesday despite two rain delays.

Victoria won the toss and bowled Queensland out for 183 as the Sheffield Shield returned to the ground.

The ICC rated the Boxing Day Test pitch as poor two seasons ago and it was upgraded to average after Australia lost to India last December.

Seven of the last eight Shield games at the MCG have also ended in draws.

Victorian and Test paceman Peter Siddle took 3-30 on Tuesday and was encouraged, saying the pitch quickened up after early slow, "tennis-ball" bounce.

"It's not a bad result in the end - they probably got a couple more runs than we would have liked, but the wicket quickened up and flattened out a touch," he said.

"It is definitely (an improvement) - we'll see how it plays out over the next few days.

"If there was a bit more sun leading in, it might have actually started quicker than it probably did ... it was a good cricket wicket."

Queensland rallied from a disastrous start where they slumped to 7-99 at tea.

Victorian debutants Will Sutherland and Jake Fraser-McGurk made immediate impacts, combining for the first wicket.

No.4 Charlie Hemphrey top-scored with 64 and and tailender Mark Steketee made 33 to prevent a total day-one rout.

Melbourne's dire spring weather mean rain delays either side of tea.

Another shower ended the day's play with Victoria on 0-5.

Siddle's fellow opening bowler James Pattinson looked dangerous early and took 2-40 from 20 overs.

Sutherland had 2-2 from four overs at lunch and finished with 2-33, while spinner Jon Holland helped clean up the tail with 3-29.

Victoria won the toss and Queensland only managed 3-32 from 28 overs in the morning session.

With the third delivery of his first-class career, Sutherland had opener Bryce Street caught by Fraser-McGurk at gully for six.

Matt Short took an outstanding catch at first slip off Siddle's bowling to dismiss Test batsman Marnus Labuschagne for a duck and end the first session.

At 17, Fraser-McGurk is Victoria's third-youngest Shield player.

Sutherland, 20, is the son of former Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland and was a more predictable promotion after several one-day games for Victoria.

Queensland's Blake Edwards was also named for his Shield debut.

Australian Associated Press