Pune pitch ‘poor’, says match referee

Australia's Steve O'Keefe (C) celebrates after the dismissal of India's Ajinkya Rahane during the second day of the first cricket Test match between India and Australia at The Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Pune on February 24, 2017.

Match referee Chris Broad has rated the Pune track as poor after the first Test between India and Australia ended inside three days on a sharply turning wicket, the ICC said on Tuesday.

Australia won the Test by 333 runs with spinner Steve O’Keefe claiming 12 wickets at Pune’s Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium, which was hosting its first-ever Test.

India, the world’s number one Test side, were bowled out for 105 and 107 on a pitch which took spin from day one, sparking criticism of the quality of the track.

“Broad, in accordance with Clause 3 of the ICC Pitch and Outfield Monitoring Process, submitted his report to the ICC in which he expressed concern over the quality of the pitch,” the International Cricket Council (ICC) said in a statement.

Broad’s report has been forwarded to the Board of Control for Cricket in India, which has 14 days to respond.

Its response will be studied by Geoff Allardice, the ICC’s General Manager – Cricket, and Ranjan Madugalle, a member of the elite panel of match referees, before a final ruling on whether the pitch was sub-standard.

Pune could escape with a warning since it was hosting a Test for the first time, or a fine of not more than $15,000 along with a directive to take corrective action.

The second Test starts in Bangalore on Saturday followed by matches in Ranchi and Dharamsala.