India in England 2014 August 4, 2014

ICC warns Trent Bridge over pitch

ESPNcricinfo staff

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'We want a fair contest between bat and ball' - James Anderson after day one at Trent Bridge

Trent Bridge has escaped with a warning from the ICC after their pitch for the first Investec Test against India was rated "poor" with the ICC adding it was "an unacceptable standard for Test cricket".

It was within the ICC's remit to hand a fine of up to $US15,000 to Nottinghamshire, but limited the punishment having taken into account the history of good Test wickets at the venue, the county's openness in admitting the surface was far from ideal - Steve Birks, the groundsman, acknowledged he had not got it right during the Test - and the fact that ECB followed guidelines ahead of the match.

Lisa Pursehouse, the Nottinghamshire chief executive, confirmed that the pitch will be relayed before next year's Ashes series when Trent Bridge will host the fourth Test from August 6

"We accept the ruling of the ICC and we now plan to relay our primary Test wicket ahead of our 2015 Investec Ashes Test," she said.

"We're pleased that our record of producing consistently good pitches for international cricket has been reflected in this judgement. The ECB have been in close contact with our head groundsman throughout this process and I would like to thank them for their ongoing support."

The India Test was played on a lifeless surface where the ball regularly failed to carry to the wicketkeeper and slips from the first day. The match featured two huge final-wicket stands - India added 111 and England a world record 198 - as the teams traded first-innings scores of 457 and 496 over much of the first four days before India batted to a draw.

An ICC statement said: "In reaching the verdict, the ICC observed that the pitch did not provide a fair contest between bat and ball throughout, and concluded that the pitch prepared for the match was of an unacceptable standard for Test cricket."

The decision was made by the ICC's general manager - Cricket, Geoff Allardice, and the ICC's chief match referee, Ranjan Madugalle, after David Boon, who was the match referee for the Trent Bridge Test, gave the pitch the "poor" rating.

It is the first time an international pitch in the UK has been rated as "poor" since a new process for grading pitches was introduced by the ICC in 2010, though pitches in Galle and St Kitts have also been rated poor. In extreme cases, the ICC can also describe a surface as "unfit."

If any venue that has had a surface rated "poor" suffers a repeat within a five-year period they facing an automatic sanction of a $US30,000 fine

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Ray on August 5, 2014, 7:54 GMT

    @Cpt.Meanster: I see that you are still promoting the joys of 'fast food'. Save your breathe, mate. Seems lie a lot of us prefer fine dining.

  • Owen on August 5, 2014, 7:41 GMT

    @jmc - liked the first comment!!

    For your second, I think you are right in saying variation is the key. Both in how the pitch plays for day 1 vs day 5, and between the pitches throughout the series. S'hampton was a cracker, as was Lords, two good pitches which provided 5 good days as well as the peculiarity that India won on a seamer and England won on a relative spinner! These are the subtleties that test cricket brings, just one of the factors you need to be able to understand to not find it boring ;)

  • Tim on August 5, 2014, 7:36 GMT

    And the sensible action for the ECB is to take account the quality of the pitches produced as part of the decision process when allocating Test matches - rather than simply going with which grounds bid the most money. Trent Bridge is one of the best grounds in England, but the quality of that first Test wicket was appalling; it deserves a second chance - but not a third.

    And in assessing the quality of wickets, the ECB should also look at those regularly produced for county cricket. We want wickets with pace and bounce, a little to help the seamers on day one and help for the spinners on days four and five. Help for the swing bowlers is outside any groundsman's control!

  • thomas on August 5, 2014, 7:26 GMT

    @Cpt.Meanster: The pitch was reported by an ICC official (the Australian Boon if I am correct), not the ECB.

    And I for one will take test cricket (5-day test cricket) ANY DAY over the 20/20 circus where players are wearing microphones and other totally irrelevant stuff - particularly the IPL variant where which celebrities are in crowd apparently is more important that what's going on in the game (at least that was the case in the few games I watched on TV a few years back - and which finally put me totally off 20/20). It's well known on this site that you APPARENTLY don't care about test cricket. But still you find the time to comment on test cricket articles - so you must care (albeit negative).

  • John on August 5, 2014, 5:04 GMT

    @landl47 on (August 5, 2014, 2:40 GMT), couldn't agree more. Both the pitches for games 2 and 3 have been good for Test cricket. I'm sure there were a few Indians who had a mild heart attack when they saw the Lords pitch but it wasn't the bowlers paradise that the initial colour would have suggested, albeit that England really did waste what help it would have provided. The Ageas Bowl provided close to the ideal Test pitch, with help for the quicks early, the spinners late and good for batting in between. Hopefully that pitch shows why fans not from the subcontinent are critical of subcontinental dust-bowls. Not many England fans want a pitch that seams around a lot on day 5 any more than one that turns square on day 1. It's about the character of the pitch changing over the course of the game. Obviously some variation around that ideal is good but if more than the odd pitch is too extreme in either direction then it detracts from the game as a whole.

  • John on August 5, 2014, 4:56 GMT

    @Cpt.Meanster on (August 4, 2014, 18:28 GMT), boring is in the eye of the beholder, and I have just beheld another of your anti-Test cricket comments.

  • John on August 5, 2014, 2:40 GMT

    Actually, the pitch was good for neither batsmen or bowlers. It was easy enough for batsmen to stay in, but the wicket was so slow and dead that they couldn't score at anything approaching a decent rate. If the ball is just dying after it hits the pitch it's virtually impossible to time it.

    I'm glad the ICC has come down on a lifeless pitch. While noone wants dangerous pitches, there must be something for both bowlers and batsmen. When a 5-day game not only doesn't produce a result, but doesn't even get into the 4th innings, it's not acceptable entertainment even for knowledgeable fans.

    The wicket at Southampton was excellent- something for seamers early on and spinners later in the game and with nice bounce and carry to encourage strokeplay. The result was a good contest until the 5th day. We need more wickets like that.

  • Dummy4 on August 5, 2014, 1:54 GMT

    Very encouraging to hear this. Trent Bridge has been notably good in the recent past for producing excellent cricket pitches. This one was awful. It did raise one point in my mind though.... does this mean that all the lifeless pitches we see in the sub-continent will now be subject to an ICC warning?

  • Dummy4 on August 4, 2014, 20:25 GMT

    This is a really great step forward from ICC. I hope this sets a precedent and deters further placid pitches for tests anywhere.

  • Jonathan on August 4, 2014, 19:00 GMT

    So, how "poor" was the wicket for the Lords Test Match of 1990 where Gooch got his 333?

    Oh wait, in that match there was actually at least one bowler good enough to bowl a side out. Other bowlers got tonked around at 4 an over or worse and none took more than 2 wickets in an innings, but Angus Fraser took 5 in the first and 3 in the second, and went for about 2 an over all told. Never mind Gooch's brilliance, Big Gus should have been man of the match...

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