Image Source: Twitter/ Indore Pitch/BCCI
On Friday (March 3), the International Cricket Council rated the playing surface at the Holkar Stadium in Indore, where India and Australia were playing their third Test, as 'poor'. The pitch had been under scrutiny since the morning session of the opening day when India lost seven wickets and were eventually all out for 109. Australia batted for nearly 77 overs in their first innings, but India collapsed for 163 in their second innings. Consequently, on the third morning, the visitors needed only 76 runs to win the match, which lasted less than 200 overs.
In the first innings, the Australian spin trio took nine wickets, while Nathan Lyon picked up eight wickets in the second innings. As a result of the pitch being evaluated as poor under the ICC Pitch and Outfield Monitoring Process, the venue was given three demerit points following the submission of a report by match referee Chris Broad.
"The pitch, which was very dry, did not provide a balance between bat and ball, favouring spinners from the start," Broad said. "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."
The ICC has stated that the BCCI has a two-week window to appeal the sanction, if they so desire. Interestingly, neither of the captains had any significant reservations about the surface after the game.
"Honestly this pitch talk is just getting too much," Rohit had said after the game. "Everytime we play in India, there's only the focus on the pitch. Why are people not asking me about Nathan Lyon, how well he bowled. How Pujara played in the second innings? How well Usman Khawaja played. Those are the things , if you ask me, I can give you details of. Not the pitch. We focus too much on the pitch here in India. I don't think it's necessary."
The demerit points will remain active for a rolling five-year period. When a venue accumulates five or more demerit points, it will be suspended from hosting any international games for a 12-month period. An accumulation of 10 demerit points will result in the venue being suspended from hosting international cricket for 24 months.