India vs South Africa: ICC gives 'poor' rating to Wanderers Test pitch

The International Cricket Council (ICC) on Tuesday expectedly rated the Wanderers pitch used for the third Test between India and South Africa as poor and received three demerit points in the process. India came back from behind to win the Test by 63 runs as 40 wickets fell for 805 runs in almost 296 overs.

India vs South Africa: ICC gives 'poor' rating to Wanderers Test pitch
India captain Virat Kohli ducking under a bouncer during the Wanderers Test (PTI)

Dubai: The International Cricket Council (ICC) on Tuesday expectedly rated the Wanderers pitch used for the third Test between India and South Africa as poor and received three demerit points in the process. India came back from behind to win the Test by 63 runs as 40 wickets fell for 805 runs in almost 296 overs.

The 22-yard strip was the focus of attention as a number of batsmen from both sides received blows due to "steep unpredictable bounce and excessive seam movement". Play was, in fact, stopped by the on-field umpires on the third day as they found it dangerous to continue when Jasprit Bumrah's bouncer struck Dean Elgar's helmet.

"Andy Pycroft of the Elite Panel of ICC Match Referees has rated the Wanderers Stadium pitch as "poor" and, as such, according to the ICC Pitch and Outfield Monitoring Process, it has received three demerit points," the ICC stated in a media release.

As per norms, one demerit point is awarded to venues whose pitches are rated by the match referees as "below average", while three and five demerit points respectively are awarded to surfaces marked as "poor" and "unfit", respectively.

Since the Wanderers Test got completed, ICC match referee didn't rate the pitch as "unfit", which would have got it five demerit points.

According to the parent body, the demerit points will remain active for a rolling five-year period and if during this five-year period, the Wanderers Stadium reaches the threshold of five demerit points, then it will be suspended from staging any international cricket for 12 months.

Pycroft, whose report has been forwarded to Cricket South Africa, said: "The pitch prepared for the final Test was a poor one. It had excessively steep and unpredictable bounce, and excessive seam movement."

Pycrofts report categorically mentioned about how players of both teams were physically hurt and required medical attention.

"It deteriorated quickly as the match progressed, which made batting extremely difficult and hazardous, resulting in the medical staff from both the sides having to come onto the field of play multiple times to treat their batsmen."

The match referee stated that the Test went on only after due deliberation.

"As the on-field umpires are also responsible for the players' safety, they expressed concerns about the behaviour of the pitch and debated after day three, if it was appropriate to continue the match.

"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 when the Test match ended," he concluded.