The International Cricket Council said Friday that the playing surface at the Holkar Stadium in Indore, where the third Test between India and Australia will be held, is “poor” (March 3).
Since the hosts lost seven wickets in the first session of the first day of the Test match, the pitch was under close scrutiny from the start. In the end, they were bowled out for only 109. In their first innings, Australia played for close to 77 overs. In their second innings, India only played for 163 runs before they were out. Because of this, the visitors only needed 76 runs on the third morning to win, and the game was over in less than 200 overs.
In the first innings, the Australian spin trio took nine wickets. In the second innings, Nathan Lyon took eight wickets. After match referee Chris Broad gave his report, the venue got three demerit points because the pitch was rated “poor” by the ICC Pitch and Outfield Monitoring Process.
“The pitch, which was very dry, did not provide a balance between bat and ball, favouring spinners from the start,” Broad said. “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.”
The ICC says that the BCCI has two weeks to file an appeal if they don’t like the punishment. Quite interestingly, after the game, neither captain had any major worries about the surface.
Rohit had said after the game, “Honestly this pitch talk is just getting too much,” “Everytime we play in India, there’s only the focus on the pitch. Why are people not asking me about Nathan Lyon, how well he bowled. How Pujara played in the second innings? How well Usman Khawaja played. Those are the things , if you ask me, I can give you details of. Not the pitch. We focus too much on the pitch here in India. I don’t think it’s necessary.”
The stand-in captain for Australia, Steve Smith, said that he liked the challenge of playing on such surfaces that make the game move quickly. “”Personally I really enjoyed playing on these kind of wickets,” Smith said. “I prefer this than just a genuine flat wicket that goes five days and can be boring in stages. There’s always something happening on these wickets. You’ve got to really work hard for your runs. But it’s shown that the guys can do it, you’ve got to work hard for them and you need some luck. With this one, whether it might have been a little bit too extreme, potentially from the first ball. I’m not really entirely sure, but it was still enjoyable.”
The points will stay in effect for a rolling period of five years. If a venue gets five or more demerit points, it will not be able to host any international games for a year. If a venue gets 10 demerit points, it will be banned from hosting international cricket games for 24 months.