Aus vs Pak: Pitch not Poor

  • The Rawalpindi pitch had drawn immense criticism after the first Test including from the Australian side.
  • The match referee, Ranjan Madugalle, can report the pitch as ‘Poor’
  • PCB has denied that the pitch will be rated poor and handed demerit points 

The historic Australia tour of Pakistan finally began on 4th March, with the first Test match between the two teams commencing in Rawalpindi. But since day one, the playing surface has come under great scrutiny as many complained about it not having any life to support fair play. Many from the cricket fraternity criticized it including the visitors. 

Steve Smith, the Australian star batter in a post-match press conference told the media how the pitch does little to help pace and bounce and is ‘dead’ and ‘benign’. “There’s not a great deal of pace and bounce in it for the seamers, that’s for sure,”. Smith could only score 78 off 196 balls after which he succumbed to Nauman Ali’s delivery. Even the captain Pat Cummins, also a fast bowler spoke against it and said that the pitch was created to dampen their pace attack. Cummins and Nathon Lyon could only bag one wicket each in the first inning.

After the pitch drew huge critique, it was speculated that the ICC could rate it ‘poor’. According to ICC rule, the match referee for the game Ranjan Madugalle could reach the top officials to report against the quality of the pitch since it did not favour both batting and bowling. Pakistan piled up 476 runs batting first, losing four wickets after which they declared the inning. In response, the visitors compiled 459 runs losing all wickets at the start of day five. The hosts batted the rest of the day without losing a single wicket. What little hopes for a result were there, they were evaporated by rain.

A poor pitch just favours one side and does not provide equal competition between bat and ball. But sources from Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) have denied that the Rawalpindi pitch will be labelled poor by the council. “The ICC takes notices when a pitch is deemed dangerous and unfit for Test cricket,” If the pitch is indeed rated poorly by the match referee then according to the laws, the Rawalpindi stadium will get three demerit points. If it compiles five points in five years, the stadium will then be suspended from hosting international cricket in the future. 

The second Test match will stage from 12th March in Karachi. The PCB has promised fans a better batting and bowling surface.

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