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ICC Match Referee Chris Broad ranks Newlands pitch “unsatisfactory”

09 Jan 2024
Simon Lewis 09 Jan 2024
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  • ICC Match Referee Chris Broad’s report described Newlands pitch as “very difficult to bat on”.
  • South Africa were bowled out by lunch on the first day, with 23 wickets falling on day one.
  • South Africa and India shared the Freedom Trophy series 1-1.
Newlands pitch
South Africa's Dean Elgar is bowled at Newlands. (credit: Rodger Bosch / AFP via Getty Images)

Newlands pitch “unsatisfactory”

The report on the Newland pitch for the 2nd Test against India has just been released by the International Cricket Council (ICC). The Test forms part of the ICC World Test Championship series.

Former England opening batter Chris Broad served as ICC Match Referee for the Test, and his match report expressed serious concerns regarding the pitch, which he completed after consulting with both captains in the Test, Dean Elgar and Rohit Sharma. Both captains expressed the view that the pitch was below standard. 

"The pitch in Newlands was very difficult to bat on. The ball bounced quickly and sometimes alarmingly throughout the match, making it difficult to play shots,” wrote Mr Broad in his report. “Several batters were hit on the gloves and many wickets also fell due to the awkward bounce."

Newlands penalised with one demerit point

Broad rated the pitch as "unsatisfactory" under the ICC Pitch and Outfield Monitoring Process and, following the assessment, Newlands has had one demerit point marked against its name following the report.

The ICC report is sitting with the Cricket South Africa authorities, who have a period of 14 days in which to appeal against the sanction, although sources suggest they are unlikely to appeal the ruling.

Heavy suspensions hang in the air

Pitches deemed “unsatisfactory” receive one demerit point, while pitches rated “unfit” are hit with a three-demerit-point sanction. A venue’s demerit points remain active for five years from the date received.

If a venue’s total current demerit points reach six or more then the venue will be suspended from hosting international cricket for 12 months. A total of 12 demerit points will bring a two-year suspension from international cricket.

Shortest Test in history

South Africa and India played out the shortest Test result in the history of the game in the Test at Newlands, with the match being concluded from just 642 balls. South Africa won the 1st Test by an innings and 32 runs, and the Proteas batted for 652 balls in that first innings. 

India concluded the win in the 2nd Test midway through day two, their seven-wicket win earning them their first-ever Test win at Newlands and a 1-1 share of the series.

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