The pitch at the Gabba has officially received a demerit point to its name following a historic opening Test that ended in just under a couple of days as bowlers dominated the match. The pace-friendly track was said to not produce an “even contest between bat and ball” by the match referee as there was more than enough grass on the surface. ICC released its pitch report on Tuesday for the pitch used in the first Test between Australia and South Africa in Brisbane where it labeled the playing surface as “below average.”
The rating resulted in a demerit point for the venue as the trend of a decreasing rating for the summer Test since 2019 continued for the historic arena. The match referee for the encounter, Richie Richardson, in his report informed that the pitch was too favorable for the bowlers, thereby making it unfit for the standard of Test cricket desired by cricket’s official global governing body.
As per the quotes in cricket.com.au, Richardson said, “Overall, the Gabba pitch for this Test match was too much in favor of the bowlers.”
A pitch can also be labeled as ‘poor’ or ‘unfit’ by the ICC, leading to three and five demerit points respectively. Every demerit point expires in five years and once a ground accumulates five points, it is banned from hosting international cricket for the period.
Explaining the same, Richie 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 I found the pitch to be “below average” as per the ICC guidelines since it was not an even contest between bat and ball.”
The clash saw Australia winning the game by six wickets but not before 34 batters had fallen victim across two days and just 144 overs, with every wicket worth less than 15 runs. The Gabba pitch has raised concerns regarding the track that will be on offer at the Melbourne Cricket Ground as well, where South Africa will aim to level the series when they take on the Kangaroos in the Boxing Day Test.