Stuart Clark critical of unsporty Dubai pitch
Australian bowlers literally felt the heat during the first two days. (Getty Image)

Former Australian medium-pacers Stuart Clark has called the surface at the Dubai International cricket “poor”, claiming there is nothing in the wicket for the bowlers. The pitch Clark is talking about is the one on which the first Test between Pakistan and Australia is being played on where the visitors had to endure almost two tiring days watching Pakistan score their way to a first-innings total of 482. Pacers Mitchell Starc and Peter Siddle, along with the rest of the bowlers had to toil under the sun with the temperature touching 40 degree, with spinners Nathan Lyon and Jon Holland conceding over 100 runs.

“It’s a pretty poor wicket,” Clark told foxsports.com.au. The wicket’s obviously very, very flat and very hard to get guys out. But the Australians tried hard, they toiled hard and they did pretty much all they could. They didn’t have much luck, but it was really hard to do anything given that there was just nothing in the wicket.”

Starc, making a comeback into the national side finished with 1/90, while Siddle picked up three wickets giving away 58 runs as Pakistan dominated with the bat. Mohammad Hafeez, playing his first Test in over two years, struck a fine century, with Haris Sohail registering his maiden Test hundred. Opener Imam-Ul-Haq and middle-order batsman Asad Shafiq registered half-centuries too. Couple that with the sweltering heat, and Australia were quite literally feeling the heat, with Starc even going down with cramps moments before stumps on the opening day.

The dull nature of the surface could be gauged by the fact that Australia, in response to Pakistan’s huge total are yet to lose a wicket and have reached 137/0 at lunch on Day 3. Clark, a veteran of 24 Tests, 39 ODIs and nine T20Is, in which he picked up 160 wickets that the current surface is not an example of what Test cricket should represent.

“Sports is an entertainment product,” added Clark. “It is an entertainment product and we’re seeing it in all sports — not just cricket — that fans want to be entertained. And obviously this game will speed up as the wicket begins to deteriorate over the next couple of days, and it becomes harder to bat on because of variable bounce and it’s spinning a bit more, but it’s not great watching it unfortunately.”

According to Clark, one of the few tweaks that can make Test cricket interesting is getting rid of the coin toss and instead allowing the visiting team to choose what to do. Clark, however, is not the first person to have come up with the proposal. The prospect of getting rid of the coin toss has been a talking point for almost over a year but remains something that hasn’t been acted upon.

“Preparing wickets and making them conducive to entertaining cricket’s hard work because everything’s got to work in your favour,” Clark said. “It’s obviously very hot over there. But one of the things that has been floated — and Ricky Ponting and the ICC rules committee have floated this idea — is to take the toss out of the game and the team touring gets to choose whether they want to bat or bowl, so it will take away the ability, or the want, for home teams to just produce just very, very docile boring wickets or try and make them a bit more sporting.

“Whether that works I don’t know. I didn’t like it at the start, but I like it now and I think it’s a good idea given what I’ve seen because it’s just not entertaining cricket.”