The International Cricket Council (ICC) on Friday announced that the pitch for the third Test of the ICC World Test Championship series between India and Australia at the Holkar Cricket Stadium in Indore has been rated as "poor" under its Pitch and Outfield Monitoring Process.
ICC Match Referee Chris Broad submitted his report to the ICC expressing the concerns of the match officials and after consulting with captains of both teams. Following the assessment, the venue has received three demerit points.
Following the assessment, the venue has received three demerit points. The report has been forwarded to the BCCI, who now have 14 days if they wish to appeal against the sanction.
"The pitch, which was very dry, did not provide a balance between bat and ball, favouring spinners from the start. The fifth ball of the match broke through the pitch surface and continued to occasionally break the surface providing little or no seam movement and there was excessive and uneven bounce throughout the match," said Broad in an ICC media release.
Notably, one demerit point is awarded to venues whose pitches are rated by the match referees as below average, while three and five demerit points are given to venues whose pitches are marked as poor and unfit, respectively.
When a venue collects five demerit points (or crosses that threshold), it will be suspended from hosting any international cricket for a period of 12 months. A venue is suspended from staging any international cricket for 24 months when it reaches the threshold of 10 demerit points.
Spinners from both teams enjoyed great help from the Indore surface that was conducive to spin right from the start on day one, which saw 14 wickets fall. Out of the 31 wickets that fell during the whole match, 26 were scalped by the spinners while only four wickets went to pacers. One was run-out.
The action in the Border-Gavaskar series now moves to Ahmedabad with India leading 2-1. Australia punched their ticket to the World Test Championship final with the win in Indore and India have a chance to do the same if they win the final Test.
In case they fail to do so, they will need a favour from reigning WTC Champions New Zealand, who need to avoid a whitewash at the hands of Sri Lanka. As thing stands, Sri Lanka can pip India in the second spot only if they whitewash the Black Caps 2-0 away from home in the two-match series that commences on March 9. Any other result will mean that Australia will face India in the WTC Final in Oval on June 7.
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