December 2, 2000

Faislabad pitch is good for nothing, players claim

Staff and Agencies

Players from England and Pakistan are resigned to either a draw or contriving a result in the second Test at Faislabad after a 'horrible' Iqbal Stadium pitch denied both batters and bowlers the chance to shine.

All-rounders Craig White and Wasim Akram criticised the wicket, which for the second time in two Tests proved to be lifeless and unlikely to produce a result.

"We don't want a full house here to get bored watching slow cricket - we have to start preparing result-orientated wickets not just for Pakistan's sake but for the good of Test cricket in Pakistan," Wasim insisted.

"I wanted to pull out something special in my 100th Test, I was very focused and wanted to do well, but it's very hard bowling on a pitch like that - just ask Darren Gough how he feels about bowling out there."

White provided one of the day's only highlights when he took England beyond Pakistan's first innings total and gave them with a 26 run lead. His 41 from 46 deliveries, including two sixes and three other boundaries, helped England add 60 in the first 70 minutes play and he forged a 47-run partnership with last man Gough in only nine overs.

"It's a dead, horrible pitch which is no good for Test cricket and no good for anybody," stressed White.

"`It's horrible to watch, not great to play and it's all down to the pitch. You can score when the ball is new because it comes on to the bat, but as soon as that wears off it gets pretty dead and pretty boring for everyone involved.

"It's vital we get a good wicket for the last Test, not just for this series but for cricket as a whole. We have to sort the pitches out, it makes for better cricket, better to play, better to watch and better results.

"I feel sorry for the people watching this game," added White.

"We were just trying to do our job and tried to keep it tight today, but it must have been horrible to watch.

"We couldn't go out there and blast them out on a pitch like that and it didn't reverse much and we just tried to make them come at us by bowling tight and straight and let them take the risks."