‘The character of the pitch hardly changed over the course of five days. There was no shift in balance between bat and ball as the game progressed.’
Ranjan Madugalle, the ICC’s most experienced match referee, has rated the pitch at the Pallekele International stadium in Kandy as “below average” after nearly 1300 runs were scored in the recently-concluded Test between Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.
According to a statement from the ICC, “the venue has received one demerit point under the ICC Pitch and Outfield Monitoring Process”.
Bangladesh scored 541 for 7 declared in their first innings and 100 for 2 in their second. Sri Lanka batted once and piled up 648 for 8 declared after a career-best double hundred by skipper Dimuth Karunaratne.
“The character of the pitch hardly changed over the course of five days. There was no shift in balance between bat and ball as the game progressed,” former Sri Lanka captain Madugalle said.
“The pitch remained batting-friendly throughout, resulting in a total of 1289 runs scored in the match for the loss of 17 wickets at an average of 75.82 runs per wicket, which is very high. Therefore, in keeping with the ICC guidelines I rate this pitch as below average,” he further wrote.
As per revised pitch and outfield monitoring regulations, one demerit point will be awarded to venues whose pitches are rated by the match referees as “below average”, while three and five demerit points will be awarded to venues whose pitches are marked as “poor” and “unfit”, respectively.
Demerit points will remain active for a rolling five-year period.
When a venue accumulates five demerit points (or crosses that threshold), it is suspended from hosting any international cricket for a period of 12 months, while a venue will be suspended from staging any international cricket for 24 months when it reaches the threshold of 10 demerit points.
Madugalle’s report has been forwarded to Sri Lanka Cricket.
While the norm is to have neutral match referees but since the resumption of international bilateral cricket, the ICC is allowing its Elite Panel match referees officiate in their home country.
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