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Australia v South Africa Test cricket series 2022: Gabba pitch rating, ICC

The International Cricket Council has hit the Gabba with a grim pitch rating after the first Test between Australia and South Africa ended in less than two days, judging the wicket below average.

In a Test that ended just after tea on day two, South Africa was skittled for 152 and 99, while Australia stumbled to 218 before losing four wickets in a successful fourth-innings pursuit of 34 runs.

Thirty-four wickets fell and only two batters, Australia’s Travis Head and South Africa’s Kyle Verreynne, reached 50, as an extreme layer of grass wreaked havoc.

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Only once before had a Test in Australia finished inside two days, when Sir Donald Bradman and Bert Ironmonger humiliated the West Indies at the MCG in 1931.

After every Test, the ICC rates the pitch and outfield very good, good, average, below average, poor or unfit.

“Overall, the Gabba pitch for this Test match was too much in favour of the bowlers,” said match referee Richie Richardson.

“There was extra bounce and occasional excessive seam movement.

“The odd delivery also kept low on the second day, making it very difficult for batters to build partnerships.

“I found the pitch to be below average as per the ICC guidelines since it was not an even contest between bat and ball.”

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The Gabba has received one demerit point under the ICC’s pitch and outfield monitoring system.

Demerit points remain active for five years and if a venue accumulates five demerit points it’s suspended from hosting any international cricket for 12 months.

Ricky Ponting, Matthew Hayden and Justin Langer were among the cricket greats who said they’d never seen a greener Gabba pitch.

But Dale Steyn directed attention away from the green top on the Fox Cricket broadcast, pointing out Head’s innings of 92 and lamenting the inability of the South African batters to apply themselves.

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