Indian cricket great Virender Sehwag has added to the chorus of how blasting the Gabba pitch after the first Test between Australia and South Africa was run and won inside two days.
The green top in Brisbane has been condemned after 34 wickets fell in less than six sessions, as Australia went on to triumph by six wickets.
With the match lasting fewer than 145 overs, it is the second-shortest Test ever to be played Down Under.
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In the wake of multiple centuries and even double tons to Marnus Labuschagne and Steve Smith against the West Indies, Travis Head was the only player to get close to triple figures in Brisbane with his 92 runs from 96 balls in the first innings.
South African wicketkeeper and batter Kyle Verreynne was the only other player to knock over a half-century, reaching 64 runs from 96 balls in the first innings.
While the batting on display was sub-par, the blame quickly shifted to the pitch.
In a scathing tweet, Sehwag accused cricket in Australia of “hypocrisy” considering its tendency to find fault with the quality of India’s pitches.
“142 overs and not even lasting two days and they have the audacity to lecture on what kind of pitches are needed,” he said.
“Had it happened in India, it would have been labeled end of Test cricket, ruining Test cricket and whatnot. The hypocrisy is mind-boggling.”
Former Australian cricketer Brad Hogg also condemned the green wicket on Twitter, calling the match “as quick as a backyard Test on Christmas Day”.
By the end of the second day the pitch was showing limited signs of deterioration.
Kerry O’Keeffe suggests the curators may have some explaining to do.
“I sense the pitch is going to be the back-page lead, I think that’s the story,” he said on Fox Cricket.
“Was it a suitable pitch for these two powerhouses to go at each other?”
South African great Shaun Pollock replied, “I would say no”.
“You do feel the curators got it slightly wrong.”
Mark Waugh said late in the day, “the pitch is just a little too juicy, isn’t it?”.
“I would have to say this pitch would get a below-average rating, unfortunately.”
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However, former Australian captain Mark Taylor advocated for more bowler-friendly wickets in Test cricket’s future.
“There’s no doubt the pitch had too much in it,” he told Wide World of Sports.
“You can’t have a two-day Test and say that the pitch is a good one, but I will say that I do like the fact that the groundsmen are leaving a bit more grass on them.
“I think Test match cricket should be more about the bowlers, and it’s much more interesting when they’re in the game. I don’t like scores of 500 versus 400, which we had too much of for a couple of decades.”
Because of the added grass on the wicket, green pitches provide an ideal surface for fast bowlers, and over time become suited to spinners.
On Friday, Proteas skipper Dean Elgar said the color of the wicket in Brisbane was not a concern.
“The green color doesn’t really scare us – we come from South Africa where the wickets are pretty green and juicy,” he said.
Melbourne Cricket Club chief executive Stuart Fox said that MCG curator, Matt Page, was putting together a more equal pitch for next week’s Boxing Day Test.
“Preparations are going well at the MCG ahead of the Boxing Day Test. The weather is looking good for the next week, which will continue to aid our preparations,” Fox said.
“As always, we are aiming to prepare a pitch that provides a good balance between bat and ball.”
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