The Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), also known locally as “The ‘G”, is an Australian sports stadium located in Yarra Park, Melbourne, Victoria. Founded and managed by the Melbourne Cricket Club, it is the largest stadium in the Southern Hemisphere, the 11th largest globally, and the second largest cricket ground by capacity. The MCG is within walking distance of the city center and is served by Richmond and Jolimont railway stations, as well as the route 70, route 75, and route 48 trams. It is adjacent to Melbourne Park and is part of the Melbourne Sports and Entertainment Precinct.
Is Melbourne Cricket Ground a batting pitch?
The 22-yards at the MCG is considered to be one of the most competitive surfaces in the world.
Melbourne Cricket Ground Pitch Report
Since it was built in 1853, the MCG has undergone numerous renovations. It served as the centerpiece stadium of the 1956 Summer Olympics, the 2006 Commonwealth Games, and two Cricket World Cups: 1992 and 2015. It will also serve as the host for the opening ceremonies of the 2026 Commonwealth Games. Noted for its role in the development of international cricket, the MCG hosted both the first Test match and the first One Day International, played between Australia and England in 1877 and 1971 respectively. It has also maintained strong ties with Australian rules football since its codification in 1859 and has become the principal venue for Australian Football League (AFL) matches, including the AFL Grand Final, the world’s highest attended league championship event. It is set to hold the Grand Final for the 2022 T20 World Cup.
Home to the Australian Sports Museum, the MCG has hosted other major sporting events, including international rules football matches between Australia and Ireland, international rugby union matches, State of Origin (rugby league) games, and FIFA World Cup qualifiers. Concerts and other cultural events are also held at the venue with the record attendance standing at 143,750 for a Billy Graham evangelistic crusade in 1959. Grandstand redevelopments and occupational health and safety legislation have limited the maximum seating capacity to approximately 95,000 with an additional 5,000 standing room capacity, bringing the total capacity to 100,024.
The MCG is listed on the Victorian Heritage Register and was included on the Australian National Heritage List in 2005. In 2003, journalist Greg Baum called it “a shrine, a citadel, a landmark, a totem” that “symbolizes Melbourne to the world”.
The MCG is built atop a Wurundjeri camping ground and a site of numerous corroborees. Founded in November 1838 the Melbourne Cricket Club (MCC) selected the current MCG site in 1853 after previously playing at several grounds around Melbourne. The club’s first game was against a military team at the Old Mint site, at the corner of William and La Trobe Streets. Burial Hill (now Flagstaff Gardens) became its home ground in January 1839, but the area was already set aside for Botanical Gardens and the club was moved on in October 1846, to an area on the south bank of the Yarra about where the Herald & Weekly Times building is today. The area was subject to flooding, forcing the club to move again, this time to ground in South Melbourne.
It was not long before the club was forced out again, this time because of the expansion of the railway. The South Melbourne ground was in the path of Victoria’s first steam railway line from Melbourne to Sandridge (now Port Melbourne). Governor La Trobe offered the MCC a choice of three sites; an area adjacent to the existing ground, a site at the junction of Flinders and Spring Streets, or a ten-acre (about 4 hectares) section of the Government Paddock at Richmond next to Richmond Park.
Melbourne Cricket Ground Facts
Between European settlement in 1835 and the early 1860s, this last option, which is now Yarra Park, was known as the Government or Police Paddock and served as a large agistment area for the horses of the Mounted Police, Border Police, and Native Police. The northeastern section also housed the main barracks for the Mounted Police in the Port Phillip district. In 1850 it was part of a 200-acre (81 ha) stretch set aside for public recreation extending from Governor La Trobe’s Jolimont Estate to the Yarra River. By 1853 it had become a busy promenade for Melbourne residents.
An MCC sub-committee chose the Richmond Park option because it was level enough for cricket but sloped enough to prevent inundation. That ground was located where the Richmond, or outer, end of the current MCG is now.
Melbourne Cricket Ground Events
At the same time, the Richmond Cricket Club was given occupancy rights to six acres (2.4 hectares) for another cricket ground on the eastern side of the Government Paddock.
In 1861, a board of trustees was appointed to be responsible for the ground. Over the first forty years, most of the trustees were appointed by the MCC, giving the cricket club relative autonomy over the use of the ground. In 1906, the state government’s Lands ministry appointed five new trustees, putting the government-appointed trustees in the majority; and the government has appointed and overseen the trust since. This gives the state government, via trust, a level of control over the ground’s use.
At the time of the land grant, the Government stipulated that the ground was to be used for cricket and cricket only. This condition technically remained until 1933 when the Melbourne Cricket Ground Act of 1933 widened its allowable uses. The 1933 act has been replaced by separate acts in 1989 and 2009.
In 1863, a corridor of land running diagonally across Yarra Park was granted to Melbourne & Hobson’s Bay Railway Company and divided Yarra Park from the river. The Mounted Police barracks were operational until the 1880s when it was subdivided into the current residential precinct bordered by Vale Street. The area closest to the river was also developed for sporting purposes in later years including Olympic venues in 1956.
Twenty20 International records
● Highest Twenty20 Total: 3/184 – India vs. Australia, 29 January 2016
● Highest Individual Twenty20 Score: 89 (43) – David Warner, Australia vs. South Africa, 11 January 2009
● Best Twenty20 Innings Bowling Figures: 4/30 – Josh Hazlewood, Australia vs. England, 31 January 2014
● Highest Twenty20 Partnership: 97 (for the 1st wicket) – Rohit Sharma & Shikhar Dhawan, India vs. Australia, 29 January 2016