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Allan Border seemingly ignored as Gabba pitch for second cricket Test raises eyebrows

The Gabba pitch was hit with a 'below average' rating after the Test against South Africa last summer.

Allan Border, pictured here alongside a photo of the Gabba pitch.
Allan Border might not be happy with the amount of grass on the Gabba pitch. Image: Getty/Twitter

Allan Border's call for less grass on the Gabba pitch compared to last summer appears to have fallen on deaf ears, with plenty of green spotted when the surface was unveiled on Tuesday. The pitch was labelled 'below average' by the ICC in December 2022 after Australia beat South Africa in a Test that only lasted two days.

On that occasion the batters all struggled with the seam and inconsistent bounce that the grassy deck provided for the bowlers, with Australia winning by six wickets after bowling the Proteas out for just 99 in their second innings. The ICC later rated the pitch 'below average' and handed the venue one demerit point, which will stay on the Gabba's record for five years.

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If a venue accrues five demerit points it can be stripped of the right to host international matches. Earlier this week, former Test captain Border implored curators to learn from their mistakes for the day-night pink-ball Test against the West Indies, starting on Thursday.

Scott Boland, pictured here at the Gabba in 2022.
The Gabba pitch was a green monster last summer. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images) (Bradley Kanaris via Getty Images)

“Hopefully they don’t leave too much grass on the surface,” he said on the 'Willow Talk' podcast. “I know with the pink ball, the problem is that it wears very quickly if it is an abrasive surface. (This) is why they are leaving a lot of grass on the pitches, particularly for pink ball games. It does degenerate or disintegrate more than the red ball over that period of 80-odd overs.

“It is hard to manufacture it exactly right. You want to produce a good pitch that gives everyone an opportunity. (I want) a good surface that is fair for everyone.”

Nathan Lyon and Scott Boland at the Gabba.
Nathan Lyon and Scott Boland inspect the pitch at the Gabba. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images) (Getty Images)

Gabba pitch looking very green before second Windies Test

On Tuesday, curators gave the first look at the surface to be used against the West Indies - and once again it looked very green. It's not uncommon for curators to leave plenty of grass on a pitch in the days before a Test before cutting it back just prior to the match.

But the sight of the green deck certainly raised some eyebrows this week considering what happened 13 months ago. Journalist Bharat Sundaresan posted a photo of the pitch on social media, writing: "It’s two days out from the Test but surely there’s only that much green that can be taken out when it’s that green in the first place, especially at the Gabba. Good for the series though. Makes it a more even contest."

Curators might be thinking another two-day Test will be the only chance for a result to be achieved. The forecast is looking pretty dire in Brisbane, with plenty of rain predicted from day two onwards due to the looming aftermath of Tropical Cyclone Kirrily.

Australia have already retained the Frank Worrell Trophy after winning the first Test in Adelaide. But every match is vital as it goes towards the World Test Championship.

"I've played in Tests that have fizzled out into a five-day draw and everyone walks away feeling a bit empty," Pat Cummins said on Tuesday. "Whereas I've played in two or three-day matches where everyone can't take their eyes off the TV for a minute.

"Ideally, you want it to go a bit longer than two days but you want it to be a good contest between bat and ball. A couple of the Tests this summer have been fantastic, feels like every session has importance and any side can win."

with AAP

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