Indore pitch rating upgraded to below average from poor, demerit point reduced to one from three

New Delhi, March 27 : The rating of Indore pitch used for the third Border-Gavaskar Trophy Test between India and Australia from March 1-3 has been upgraded to below average from poor, said the International Cricket Council (ICC) on Monday. It added that the Holkar Stadium will now have only one demerit point, instead of three given previously, following an appeal by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) pursuant to the report submitted by Chris Broad shortly after the match ended on March 3. ICC further said in its official statement that having reviewed footage of the Test match, the appeal panel, consisting of Wasim Khan, ICC General Manager - Cricket, and Roger Harper, ICC Men's Cricket Committee Member, were of the opinion that, "while the guidelines had been followed by the Match Referee in accordance with Appendix A of the Pitch Monitoring Process, it was deemed that there was not enough excessive variable bounce to warrant the 'poor' rating." "Instead, the appeal panel concluded that the pitch should be rated as 'below average'. Consequently, 1 demerit point has been awarded to the venue for the 'below average' rating," it added. Earlier on March 3, shortly after Australia won by nine wickets, Broad expressed his concerns about the pitch in his report, which came after consulting match officials, as well as captains of both teams, Rohit Sharma and Steve Smith. "The pitch, which was very dry, did not provide a balance between bat and ball, favouring spinners from the start. 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," he said at that time. On day one of the Test, India lost seven wickets in the first session after electing to bat first, as Matthew Kuhnemann ran through to pick his maiden five-wicket haul as they were bowled out for meagre 109, as 14 wickets fell on day one, with one delivery getting massive turn of 8.3 degrees. After Australia took an 88-run lead, India were bowled out for 163 in the second innings. Barring top-order batter Cheteshwar Pujara's 59, none of the batters stepped up as Nathan Lyon took an eight-wicket haul to give Australia a target of 76, which they chased down in 18.5 overs on Friday, giving India their third loss in Tests at home in the last ten years. The victory at Indore was Australia's only win on their Test tour of India as the hosts' won the series 2-1, before the visitors took the ODI series with the same margin later in March. /IANS


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