Wanderers pitch rated ‘poor’


JOHANNESBURG: The Wanderers Stadium pitch used for the third Test between South Africa and India last week has been rated “poor” by match referee Andy Pycroft.

The International Cricket Council announced on Tuesday that as a result of Pycroft´s rating, the Wanderers had received three demerit points.

If the stadium gets two more demerit points during the next five years, the ground will be suspended from staging any international cricket for 12 months.

Pycroft said in his report that the pitch “had excessively steep and unpredictable bounce and excessive seam movement”.

Pycroft noted that the pitch deteriorated rapidly, “which made batting extremely difficult and hazardous, resulting in the medical staff from both the sides having to come onto the field multiple times to treat their batsmen”.

The umpires, who were responsible for the safety of the players, halted the match shortly before the end of the third day when South African batsman Dean Elgar was struck on the grille of his helmet by a ball which lifted sharply.

“In the end the umpires made the decision to continue and the Test reached its natural conclusion on day four. However, there was still excessive variable bounce and seam movement,” said Pycroft.

The Wanderers is one of South Africa´s showpiece grounds, with the biggest spectator capacity in the country.

It staged the 2003 World Cup final and is due to host two more high profile matches this season – a one-day international against India on February 10, for which all the tickets have already been sold, and a Test match against Australia from March 30 to April 4.

All three Test venues against India failed to receive good ratings. The pitches for the first two Tests, in Cape Town and Centurion, were rated “average” by match referee Chris Broad.

The ICC has a sliding scale – very good, good, average, below average, poor and unfit.

Only one other Test pitch has been rated “poor” in the past year, the surface for Australia´s Test against England in Melbourne. But two of the other four venues were rated “very good” and two “good”.

Two of India´s pitches against Sri Lanka late last year were “good” and one “above average” while New Zealand´s pitches for two Tests against the West Indies were both rated “good”.

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