After the historic first Test between Pakistan and Australia ended in a high-scoring draw on the docile Rawalpindi pitch, Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Ramiz Raja promised that the pitches in the following matches in Karachi and Lahore would see more contest between the bat and ball.
On Thursday, ICC match referee Ranjan Madugalle rated the pitch at the Pindi Cricket Stadium in Rawalpindi as “below average” and the venue has received one demerit point under the ICC Pitch and Outfield Monitoring Process.
Madugalle said: “The character of the pitch hardly changed over the course of five days and that there has been no deterioration apart from the bounce getting slightly lower. The pitch did not have a great deal of pace and bounce in it for the seamers nor assisted the spinners as the match progressed. In my view this does not represent an even contest between bat and ball. Therefore, in keeping with the ICC guidelines I rate this pitch as below average.”
Notably, the Rawalpindi pitch saw a total of 1187 runs getting scored on it as the bowlers struggled to get wickets. Only 14 wickets fell in the game and majority of it came due to the batsmen’s loose shots.
After the game, Australia’s Steve Smith termed the pitch at Rawalpindi as “dead” and “benign”, while opener David Warner also openly criticized the quality of the pitch.
Ramiz too admitted that the pitch at Rawalpindi could have been better and gave hope to the fans that the upcoming matches will be more competitive in nature.
"A drawn match is never a good advertisement for Test cricket, and I totally understand that we need to get a result in five days these days, and we get it 90% (of the time),” said Ramiz in a video posted on PCB's official Twitter account.
"I want to say again that it wasn't a good advertisement, but keep your morale high and keep watching ... I hope that this series, going forward, will become more interesting, but only one match is done, so don't jump the gun, there's a lot of cricket to be played.
"I understand the frustration of the fans - undoubtedly it would have been very good if we had a result, but this is a three-Test series, and we need to understand that a lot of cricket still remains to be played. Just for the heck of it, we can't prepare a fast pitch or a bouncy pitch and put the game in Australia's lap.”
The second Test match between Pakistan and Australia starts on March 12 in Karachi, while the third and final game of the series will kick off on March 21 in Lahore.