Surprise development after 'shameful' cricketing farce

Andrew Reid
·4-min read
India's Ravi Ashwin is seen here celebrating Ollie Pope's wicket during the third Test against England.
Ravi Ashwin celebrates the wicket of Ollie Pope during the third Test between India and England. Image: AAP

The International Cricket Council (ICC) has delivered a stunning verdict in the wake of a Test match controversy that left fans and legends of the sport fuming.

A number of cricket greats hit out after the third Test between India and England ended inside two days in Ahmedabad in scenes described as "shameful" by some.

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The state of the pitch was called into question by many former greats, who insisted it was not up to Test standard after 17 wickets fell in just two sessions on the second day.

India went on to claim a comfortable 10-wicket victory in the match, before winning the fourth Test at the same venue the following week.

Batting again proved difficult for England as they lost the fourth Test by an innings and 25 runs, however, the contest did at least make it to day three.

The issue of the Ahmedabad pitch has divided the cricketing world, with many arguing that England's failings had more to do with their own batting and team selections, than the nature of the pitch.

England great Kevin Pietersen was among those to slam the batting from both sides in the third Test, while Aussie spinner Nathan Lyon criticised England for picking four fast bowlers on a wicket dominated by the spinners.

Lyon's defence of the pitch has now been vindicated after the ICC gave it an 'average' rating in the wake of the two-day Test debacle.

The rating means the Narendra Modi Stadium venue - the largest in the world with a capacity of 132,000 - avoided being hit with potentially damaging demerit points.

Venues can be suspended for a year if they pick up five demerit points and for two years if they pick up 10.

A 'below average' rating by the International Cricket Council's match referee brings one point, a 'poor' rating brings three while the lowest rating of 'unfit' comes with five.

Demerit points remain active for a rolling five years.

Several former England players and pundits questioned the suitability of the pitch while their Indian counterparts said the poor batting was due to the pink ball, which replaces the traditional red balls for day-night Test matches.

Pictured here, players from India and England leave the field at the end of the third Test.
Players leave the field after the third Test between India and England ended inside two days. Image: AAP

Outrage over 'awful' third Test pitch

Former England captain Michael Vaughan described it as an "awful pitch" while Alastair Cook was slightly more conservative in his criticism.

"India deserved the win. Obviously they are better in those conditions, but it was a tough Test match to watch. The pitch had such a big influence on that," Cook said after the third Test.

"That was so hard playing against spin. India lost seven for 40 when the pressure was on, England were all out for 80. That is incredibly hard to bat against.

"I was sitting here thinking how would I have played against certain balls, what game plan. I can't work out a low-risk strategy that would have been successful - unless you have a lot of luck.

"I don't like that on day two. On day four I'd have no problem. People can say that's sour grapes. The better side won, and that's fair play to India, but there's something that doesn't quite sit right."

Lyon hit back at claims the surface in Ahmedabad had ruined the contest, where India crushed the tourists by 10 wickets in a pink-ball match that spanned just 842 balls, making it the shortest completed Test since 1934.

"We play on seaming wickets around the world and get bowled out for 47, 60. Nobody ever says a thing (about the pitch)," the Australian spinner said at the time.

"But as soon as it starts spinning, everyone in the world seems to start crying about it.

"I don't get it. I'm all for it, it was entertaining."

with AAP

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