The International Cricket Council on Friday announced that the pitch for the third Test of the ICC World Test Championship series between India and Australia at the Holkar Cricket Stadium in Indore has been rated as “poor” under their Pitch and Outfield Monitoring Process.
Match Referee Chris Broad submitted his report to the ICC expressing the concerns of the match officials and after consulting with captains of both teams. Following the assessment, the venue has received three demerit points. The report has been forwarded to the BCCI, who now have 14 days if they wish to appeal against the sanction.
Broad said: “The pitch, which was very dry, did not provide a balance between bat and ball, favouring spinners from the start. The fifth ball of the match broke through the pitch surface and continued to occasionally break the surface providing little or no seam movement and there was excessive and uneven bounce throughout the match.”
In the ICC Pitch and Outfield Monitoring Process, if a pitch or outfield is rated as being substandard, that venue will be allocated a number of demerit point. Demerit points will remain active for a rolling five-year period. When a venue accumulates five demerit points (or crosses that threshold), it will be suspended from hosting any international cricket for a period of 12 months, while a venue will be suspended from staging any international cricket for 24 months when it reaches the threshold of 10 demerit points.
While India suffered a rare home defeat, skipper Rohit Sharma said he was bored of talking about India’s pitches.
India’s batters were beguiled by Nathan Lyon and company on a sideways-turning track with low bounce thrown in for good measure. Thirty-one wickets fell in a shade over two days.
“This pitch talk is getting too much. Every time we play in India it’s always about the pitch,” Rohit told reporters after his side’s nine-wicket loss, saying that Tests outside India were also ending earlier than the fifth day.
Rohit highlighted the first Test between South Africa and the West Indies, which ended inside three days on a fast Centurion surface on Thursday, and said that batting-friendly tracks produced “boring” contests.
“It’s about skills,” he said.
“Why are we not talking about Nathan Lyon – how well he bowled? How well (Cheteshwar) Pujara batted in the second innings, how well Usman Khawaja played?”
Lyon returned match figures of 11-99, with his eight wickets in India’s second innings setting up Australia’s victory.
Pujara was the only batter who stood firm for the hosts, withstanding 142 balls for his 59 when no one else managed to face even 40 deliveries.
Khawaja anchored Australia’s first innings, top-scoring with 60 before the visitors collapsed.
Despite wickets falling rapidly Rohit said that “out of the 10 wickets maybe one or two where the pitch did help the bowler, but other than that it was the skill of the bowler that foxed the batsman”.
The win was only Australia’s second in Tests in India since 2004 and stand-in skipper Steve Smith said he had enjoyed the spin challenge.
“I prefer this more than just a genuine flat wicket that goes five days and can be boring in stages,” he said. “There’s always something happening on these wickets – you’ve got to really work hard for your runs.”
The final Test of the series begins on Thursday in Ahmedabad.
(With AFP inputs)