Pakistan’s Rawalpindi stadium penalised for ‘below average’ pitch

RAWALPINDI – Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium's pitch received a second successive demerit point after the lifeless track yielded 1,786 runs across four innings of the first Test between Pakistan and England last week.

If a venue accumulates five demerits in five years, it is suspended from hosting international cricket for 12 months.

"I found the pitch to be 'below average' as per the ICC guidelines," match referee Andy Pycroft was quoted as saying in an International Cricket Council statement released on Tuesday.

"It was a very flat pitch which gave almost no assistance to any type of bowler. That was the main reason why batters scored very fast and both sides posted huge totals."

The pitch was given a demerit point in March during the previous Test played at the venue when some 1,187 runs were scored for the loss of just 14 wickets as Pakistan and Australia meandered to a tame draw.

In the first Pakistan-England Test that ended last Monday, the visitors piled up 657 runs in the first innings – including a world record opening day score of 506-4.

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Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Ramiz Raja called the pitch "embarrassing", adding it was not a good advert for Test cricket.

Four England batters scored centuries on the opening day, another record, while Pakistan responded with three of their own in a 579-run reply.

Despite the flat pitch, a bold England declaration produced a thrilling finale with the visitors winning by 74 runs after dismissing the last Pakistan batter with just minutes left in the five-day match.

England, playing a Test series in Pakistan for the first time since 2005, lead the three-match series 2-0.

They also won the second Test in Multan by 26 runs on Monday, while the last Test begins in Karachi on Saturday.

Artmotion S.Africa

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