Gabba pitch in Brisbane rated ‘below average’
The Gabba pitch in Brisbane has been given a “below average” rating and handed one demerit point from the International Cricket Council (ICC) after the first Test between Australia and South Africa ended inside two days.
Overall, only 866 balls were bowled in the Test, which made it the second-shortest Test match ever played in Australia, while 34 wickets (15 on Day 1 and 19 on Day 2) fell in those two days of play.
Australia won the game by six wickets after South Africa managed 152 and 99 in their two innings. Australia scored 218 in their first innings, but while chasing only 34 for victory, they lost as many as four wickets.
South Africa captain Dean Elgar had said afterwards that the surface did not facilitate a “fair contest” between bat and ball. The ICC’s opinion wasn’t anything different from that of Elgar.
“Overall, the Gabba pitch for this Test match was too much in favour of the bowlers,” Richie Richardson, the match referee for the Test, said.
“There was extra bounce and occasional excessive seam movement. The odd delivery kept low as well on the second day, making it very difficult for batters to build partnerships.
“I found the pitch to be ‘below average’ as per the ICC guidelines since it was not an even contest between bat and ball.”Richardson’s report has been forwarded to Cricket Australia.
Elgar had posed the question to Chris Gaffney and Rod Tucker, the on-field umpires for that Test, during Australia’s second innings. “KG (Kagiso Rabada) got (Travis) Head out down the leg side and then (Anrich) Nortje was bowling those short ones that were flying over our heads,” Elgar had said.
Australia captain Pat Cummins had commented there was “no way” the surface was dangerous. But he did acknowledge that it was “tricky” to bat on.
“Two days probably isn’t ideal. Personally, I don’t mind it if the groundsman errs on the greener side occasionally... I’ve played a lot of Tests where they’ve erred on the flatter side. I think it was the same for both teams,” Cummins had said after the game.
This is the second time that an Australian pitch got a negative rating by the ICC in the last four years.
Melbourne: Australia opener David Warner may have lost form with the bat but showed on Tuesday that his sense of humour is intact as he sent officials scrambling with a social media post suggesting he was holidaying in Bali in the leadup to the Boxing Day Test.
Warner posted pictures of himself and his children on a plane with the caption: “My current situation. Bali here we come.”
Australia bowling coach Daniel Vettori was asked by reporters whether the trip to Bali was the ideal preparation for the second Test against South Africa at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
Vettori grinned and asked: “Is that true?”
Warner, who managed only three runs in Australia’s series – opening win on a tough Gabba wicket, later put the issue to bed with another social media post.
“For those who are concerned I’m currently walking Coogee beach ... and will be heading to the grocery store after. Until then stay tuned,” he wrote, referring to the Sydney beach near his home.