SA vs Ind – 2nd Test – Newlands pitch receives ‘unsatisfactory’ rating and demerit point

The ICC has handed an “unsatisfactory” rating and one demerit point to the pitch that hosted the New Year’s Test between South Africa and India at Newlands in Cape Town.

Cricket South Africa has confirmed to ESPNcricinfo that it will not appeal the sanction, which an official called a “fair” assessment of the surface.

The match, which India won by seven wickets, ended in less than five sessions and lasted just 642 balls, which made it the shortest result Test in the game’s history. Fast bowlers dominated the game, extracting seam movement and uneven bounce with new ball and old, and neither team bowled a ball of spin.
ICC match referee Chris Broad handed out the “unsatisfactory” rating after consulting with captains Dean Elgar and Rohit Sharma, both of whom, according to an ICC release, felt the pitch “was below standard”.

“The pitch in Newlands was very difficult to bat on,” Broad said. “The ball bounced quickly and sometimes alarmingly throughout the match, making it difficult to play shots. Several batters were hit on the gloves and many wickets also fell due to the awkward bounce.”

Under the ICC’s monitoring process, pitches and outfields can be rated very good, satisfactory, unsatisfactory, or unfit. One demerit point is awarded to venues for an unsatisfactory rating, and three demerit points for an unfit rating.

Demerit points remain active for a rolling five-year period. A venue stands to be suspended from hosting international cricket for a 12-month period if it accumulates six demerit points, and suspended for 24 months if it reaches a threshold of 12 demerit points.

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