Gabba pitch slapped with ‘below average’ rating for bowler-friendly conditions in first Test against South Africa


The Gabba pitch has avoided the dreaded “poor” rating from the International Cricket Council after Australia’s first Test against South Africa ended in just two days, but will still carry a demerit point on its record for the next five years.

Pat Cummins’ team went 1-0 up in the three-match series on Sunday as 34 wickets tumbled in six sessions of play, making it the first Test on Australian soil in 91 years to finish inside two days.

WATCH THE VIDEO ABOVE: Debate rages over costly Gabba green-top pitch.

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Match referee Richie Richardson has graded the pitch as “below average”, saying it was “not an even contest between bat and ball.”

“Overall, the Gabba pitch for this Test match was too much in favour of the bowlers,” Richardson said.

“There was extra bounce and occasional excessive seam movement.

“The odd delivery also kept low on the second day, making it very difficult for batters to build partnerships.”

Proteas captain Dean Elgar slammed the pitch as dangerous in his post-match press conference and said he asked the umpires how much longer the match should go until it was deemed unsafe.

“I don’t think it was a very good Test wicket,” Elgar said.

The Gabba pitch was given a “below average” rating. Credit: Getty

Australia captain Pat Cummins was bemused with Elgar’s assessment but said a two-day Test “probably isn’t ideal”.

Australia assistant coach Daniel Vettori said for “occasional Test matches it is not the worst thing”.

“I think I have seen worse,” he said.

“It was just really tough conditions and once in a while as a bowling group you don’t mind that.”

During the second day of the bowler-friendly Test, former Australian captain Ricky Ponting thought it would be given a “poor” rating because of the “excessive seam movement”.

“I’ve never seen (a Gabba pitch) as green,” he said during Channel 7 commentary.

“Matthew Hayden played here more than me, and he hasn’t seen one as green. And Justin Langer said he hasn’t seen one as green.

“There wasn’t a lot of moisture was there? There was a little bit of moisture on the surface on day one, probably what you would expect from the Gabba. But what we have seen is excessive seam movement.”

Ricky Ponting said he had never seen a Gabba pitch quite like it. Credit: Quinn Rooney/Getty Images

The Brisbane venue has been docked one demerit point by the ICC for producing such a green, one-sided pitch.

The demerit point will stay on the Gabba’s record for the next five years.

If a ground receives five demerit points it risks being banned from hosting international matches.

It is a better result than many had anticipated for the Gabba, with some experts fearing it could be slapped with a “poor” rating like the MCG in 2017.

The pitch for the Boxing Day Test was slammed following a dull draw in which only 24 wickets were taken over five days

Cricket Australia had 14 days to provide a response to the ICC about why the MCG wicket was sub-standard.

With AAP

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