AUS vs SA: Gabba Pitch ‘Potentially Unsafe’ says Dean Elgar, raises concerns to the authorities: South African test skipper Dean Elgar has raised concerns over the ‘Potentially Unsafe’ surface prepared at the Brisbane Gabba for the opening test between Australia and South Africa, which got completed in less than two days. Australia sealed 1st test against South Africa by 6 wickets in under two days’ time at Gabba.
While Aussie skipper Pat Cummins reckons there was absolutely nothing wrong on the surface, Dean Elgar has revealed that he had approached the officials during the game’s closing hours to question about the pitch. However, he got no response from the officials, he said.
To everyone’s surprise, the Gabba test between Australia and South Africa saw 15 wickets tumbling on day 1 of the test while the second day accounted for as many as 19 wickets.
“I did ask the umpires when KG [Rabada] got [Travis] Head out down leg, I said ‘how long does it go on for until it potentially is unsafe?’,” Elgar said. “And then [Anrich] Nortje was bowling those short ones that were flying over our heads. I know the game is dead and buried, it was never to try and change or put a halt to the game. That’s where the umpire’s discretion comes into play, not us as players. I am definitely not going to say it was safe or unsafe.”
The Protea skipper reckons the surface produced a one-sided affair which only aided the bowlers. As many as 34 wickets fell on just two days of play, which isn’t ideal for red-ball cricket.
“You’ve got to ask yourself the question – is that a good advertisement for our format? Thirty-four wickets in two days – a pretty one-sided affair, I would say,” Elgar said. “The nature of it, how it started to play with some seriously steep bounce with the old ball, you are kind of on a hiding to none as a batting unit. I don’t think it was a very good Test wicket, no.”
The pacers from both sides exploited the conditions on offer. There was good sideways movement along with uneven bounce for the bowlers. Barring South Africa’s Kyle Verreyenne, who scored 64 in the 1st innings, and Australia’s Travis Head, who was dismissed 8 shy of a well-made century, no other batter looked comfortable at the Gabba.
However, denying Elgar’s concerns, Pat Cummins thinks that the surface was nowhere close to being termed dangerous. “No way, it was fine,” he said. “Sideways movement, there was a little bit of up and down bounce, but it was fine. There were no balls jumping off a length or anything like that.
“It was certainly tricky. Two days probably isn’t ideal…personally, I don’t mind it if the groundsman err on the greener side occasionally, [I’ve] played a lot of Tests where they’ve erred on the flatter side. Think it was the same for both teams.”
Certainly, Gabba has come under scrutiny after the game was over. As far as ICC’s pitch monitoring parameters are concerned, it classifies the pitches into six different categories starting from the lowest (unfit). ‘Poor’ and ‘Below Average’ are the other two categories which attract one and three demerit points respectively.
If a ground gets five demerit points in a period of five years, it gets isolated from hosting international matches.