Test sheet blot on Newlands

Henry

The International Cricket Council (ICC) has labeled the pitch of the second Test between South Africa and India at Newlands as “not to our liking”.

The match was over just after lunch on the second day when Shreyas Iyer hit the winning boundary off the bowling of Marco Jansen.

India wrapped up the showdown by seven wickets.

The result means that the two-Test series ended in a draw. South Africa also won the first Test at SuperSportpark by an innings and 32 runs.

However, the Newlands test was – in terms of deliveries – the shortest test yet: Only 642 balls were sent in the entire match.

In his official report, match referee Chris Broad expressed concern about the batting line. After an ICC analysis session, the Newlands sheet is now deemed “unsatisfactory”.

“The uneven bounce of the ball made batting considerably more difficult. Quite a few batsmen were bowled against their gloves, while the erratic nature of the pitch also resulted in several wickets,” said Broad.

The finding means that Newland has a penalty point against its name. If a cricket venue has accumulated six penalty points, it can be banned from hosting international matches for a year.

Cricket South Africa (KSA) can appeal against the finding, but Cricinfo reports that the country’s cricket board will abide by the ICC’s decision.

Ashwell Prince, the Proteas’ batting consultant who in his playing days played many matches at Newlands itself, believes that the pitch caught him off guard.

“I have never seen such a Newlands track sheet. As a batsman, you don’t really care when the pitch is nice and fast, as long as the swing is steady,” said the former Protea batsman.

According to Prince, the bounce was already quite erratic on the first day of the match: Some deliveries stayed low, while others shot through shoulder height to the wicket-keeper.