ICC lets off Sri Lankan board with a warning over 'poor' Galle pitch

Match umpires Richard Kettleborough (L) and Aleem Dar (R) inspect the Galle pitch during the third day of the Test match between Australia and Sri Lanka AFP

Dubai: Oct 7, 2011

The ICC on Friday let off Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) with a warning for the poor quality pitch at Galle which hosted the Island nation’s first Test of a three-match series against Australia in August.

The move follows a report submitted by Match Referee Chris Broad to the ICC expressing his concerns over the quality of the pitch prepared for the match which Australia won by 125 runs.

The ICC has the power to impose a sanction ranging from a warning and/or fine (for a first offence) to a suspension of the international status of the venue in the case of repeated offences.

The ICC’s General Manager — Cricket, David Richardson, and chief match referee, Ranjan Madugalle, considered the match referee’s report, a response from SLC and the video footage of the match, before passing the judgement.

“We have come to a decision that the pitch prepared for the match should be rated as ‘poor’,” Richardson said.

“It was clear from the video footage of the match that the amount of turn, especially early in the match, was excessive and there were occasions (even on the first day) where the ball went through the surface of the pitch, bouncing unusually steeply from a good length,” he added.

“Whilst it is understandable and acceptable for a pitch to deteriorate over the course of the match, for a pitch to exhibit this type of behaviour at relatively early stages of the match was not acceptable.

“We do not wish to see a pitch that is too heavily weighted in favour of the batsmen, in this instance, the balance was just too much in favour of the bowler,” Richardson insisted.

The duo reiterated that since it was for the first time that a pitch at Galle has been rated as “poor”, the SLC has been let off with a warning.

“Taking into account that it was the first time that a pitch at Galle has been rated as ‘poor’ and given the intention of the curator to prepare a pitch that provided a fair balance between bat and ball, we have decided to impose a warning as the sanction,” Richardson revealed.

Meanwhile, the ICC has directed pitch consultant Andy Atkinson to carry out an inspection of the square and make recommendations on any corrective action that may be required.

The SLC, in turn, is to submit a report to the ICC confirming that the corrective actions, as advised by the pitch consultant, had been carried out prior to the staging of the next international match at the venue.

The inspection by Atkinson will be carried out at the end of this month.

“We have also directed that ICC’s pitch consultant Andy Atkinson to carry out an inspection of the square with a view to making recommendations to ensure that in future the manner of preparation is in line with what is required and to ensure that a better balance between bat and ball is achieved,” Richardson added.(PTI)