With 40 wickets falling in under three days of Test cricket that ended with a 333-run win for Australia, the Pune pitch has been described as ‘poor’ by International Cricket Council match referee Chris Broad, a cricketaustralia.com report said today.
India have been given 14 days to respond after the ICC expressed concern over the wicket at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium for the first India-Australia Test that ended on February 25.
Unusually, it was the home side that suffered the consequences of what seemed like an underprepared pitch as India were all out for 105 and 107 in the Test to hand them the unwanted record of scoring the fewest runs in a home Test in which they lost all 20 wickets. Australia’s unheralded left-arm spinner took 12 for 70 across the two innings, the best bowling figures by a touring spinner in India.
The playing surface spun prodigiously from early on the first day and was reduced to a dustbowl by the start of the second.
In the wake of the first Test that lasted barely nine sessions, Broad submitted his report to the ICC, which has been passed on to the Board of Control for Cricket in India.
Following the match, Australia captain Steve Smith, who made a brilliant second innings century, said the turning track played into the visitors’ hands. “I think it was certainly a wicket would more likely suit the Indian players,” Smith was quoted in the report as saying. “I think it evened up the contest a lot more. We saw the way our spinners bowled on that, they were able to generate good spin and good natural variation out of the wicket.
“It was up to them (the MCA Stadium curators) to prepare a wicket they prepared a wicket that played in to our hands. It will be interesting to see what they come up with come Bangalore.”
Former Australian spin legend Shane Warne termed the pitch ‘Martian’, while former India Test spinner Harbhajan Singh said that it was not even a pitch.
“To be honest, that wasn’t a pitch. Test cricket should last five days,” Harbhajan told the Indian Express. “You cannot play on such wickets where anyone runs in to bowl and takes wickets.”