Sri Lanka v England, 1st Test, Galle, 2nd day March 27, 2012

Players defend Galle pitch

After an official warning for the last Test in Galle, the ICC will again look keenly on the pitch after 17 wickets fell on day two
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Games dominated by bowlers make for the most absorbing contests in Test cricket and the opening two days of this match have been compelling viewing for those inside the Galle stadium, those watching from the Dutch Fort and the millions glued to television sets. However, one beleaguered observer was wishing that batsmen hadn't donated quite so many wickets so cheaply.

Jayananda Warnaweera, the Galle groundsman and a former Sri Lanka offspinner who tormented England 19 years ago, was under as much scrutiny as England's floundering top order heading into this match. The previous pitch he had produced, for last August's Test against Australia, resulted in an official warning from the ICC for excessive early turn. The square had to undergo remedial work and another poor surface would have threatened the ground's Test status.

That would have been a huge blow to the city which, ticket disputes notwithstanding, has been a popular choice for visiting fans - especially, but not just, England's.

"I'm happy with the pitch," Warnaweera told ESPNcricnfo. "It is has turned a bit but in my opinion neither England nor Sri Lanka batted very well on the second day. You shouldn't produce dead Test pitches just to get scores of 600, that's my motto."

Two Test batting sides should not have lost 25 wickets in two days. England's quick bowlers exploited a little residual moisture in the first hour and there was increasing help for the spinners as the match moved through the second day with Swann finding sharp turn as he kept England just about alive with four wickets. Warnaweera was grateful for the support his pitch received from the most successful batsmen on either side.

Sri Lanka's captain, Mahela Jayawardene, said: "On day two we've probably had a bit more spin that we are used to but the last four weeks have been very hot so the wickets are unusually dry. But there are no demons in the track like for the Australia game where it was jumping from day one. There is adequate spin, but if you want to dig deep you can bat as well. It's the challenge of Test cricket."

"We wanted to give the bowlers a rest. They have been so consistent and we have let them down but the bowlers will know it's not through lack of effort."
Ian Bell

Ian Bell, the only England batsman to reach fifty, was of similar mind. "To get bowled out for under 200 isn't great on that wicket which is pretty good to be honest," he said. "There's nothing to scare you. Obviously it's starting to dry out a bit more now and it turned towards the back end of the day."

Alarm bells need not ring. This is a Test match pitch on the subcontinent. If pitches are not going to turn here then where will they turn? Within fair limits, it is what home advantage is all about and why winning overseas is the litmus test for any team. Far less fuss is made about the ball seaming around off a green-top than when it spits for the spinners. There is even a school of thought that the ICC warning after the Australia game was harsh. Clearly, the surface had started too dry but pitches like that surely do less harm to the game than when 500 plays 500 and everyone goes home bored.

There are similarities in how this match has developed to the Australia Test but this time the home side are on top. Last year Mike Hussey's 95 pushed Australia to a competitive total before Nathan Lyon's five-wicket haul secured a big lead. This time around, Jayawardene's solo effort pushed Sri Lanka to a good score before Rangana Herath, a conventional spinner like Lyon, claimed the bowling honours.

Herath was given a helping hand during his haul. He is a workmanlike bowler who has carried Sri Lanka's attack since Muttiah Muralitharan's retirement. His average in the low 30s is perfectly respectable for an orthodox left-arm spinner in this era. Sometimes, though, you would have thought that England were facing Murali.

All except Bell had a significant hand in their dismissal: Andrew Strauss, Jonathan Trott and Stuart Broad swept across the line; Matt Prior and Samit Patel were caught on the back foot. Those four lbws, along with Monty Panesar's dismissal and Suranga Lakmal's early capture of Alastair Cook, equalled the most leg-befores England have had in a Test innings and not since 1977-78 in Karachi have they had six.

And the DRS indicated that they were all out, although for Strauss that was only after Jayawardene had successfully used one of his reviews. In contrast, neither Prior or Broad could save themselves by resorting to technology. It was an innings that showed how DRS works well and also showed how, most of the time, the on-field umpires make the correct call.

Bell was left to regret another poor England batting display. "We wanted to give the bowlers a rest," he said. "They have been so consistent and in a way we have let them down. The bowlers will know it's not through lack of effort. This game is still on and if we can put in one performance it can be a good Test."

The England bowlers may not be only ones feeling a bit miffed overnight. The supporters will not look entirely happy upon a three-day contest and not just because of what is looking a likely defeat for the visitors. After all the talk about high ticket prices there will not be any refund policy, although they can console themselves with the thought that there are worst places to have a couple of spare days. But while the fans can loll on the beach, England's batsmen could be heading for the nets.

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on March 29, 2012, 14:15 GMT

    @Meety, you are right on the mark. Very well said. Agree with you almost completely except for onething - Warne and MacGill were wrist spinners. Finger spinners won't get any assistance from 'grassbowls'.

  • kumarcoolbuddy on March 29, 2012, 13:02 GMT

    Except ENG all of the teams are in kind of transition stage. We cannot expect much from this ENG team because ENG's best team lost many matches outside of ENG. India is right now very low in confidence for test matches. I still say India is best in ODIs compared to other teams. That's true playing test match with India is like playing with minnow team only until India comes into form. Right now they are in transition stage.

  • on March 29, 2012, 11:16 GMT

    whats the purpose of this article? is there a MAXIMUM no. of wickets that can fall on a day, to be labelled as a 'good' pitch?? Are you trying to make test cricket also BATSMEN-FRIENDLY like the ODIs?

  • brittop on March 29, 2012, 8:31 GMT

    Just looking at this article again. Nowhere in the body of it does it say the ICC are sending anyone or are considering looking closely at wicket. Only in the heading does it suggest they will look at it. Are they doing actually doing anything or is it just speculation that they might? If they are, I presume it can only be because of the warning from last year, as no-one seems to be suggesting it's a bad pitch.

  • redneck on March 28, 2012, 23:34 GMT

    @adrianct1971 haha mate the mcg is a football ground from march every year! not that your conspiricy theory wasnt a fun read. adelaide is about as sub continent friendly as you find in aus!

  • hhillbumper on March 28, 2012, 18:54 GMT

    Do we feel that some people like to say an east vs west issue in every part of cricket.The pitch is fine and not hearing any complaints from English players.

  • YorkshirePudding on March 28, 2012, 14:08 GMT

    @Fast_Track_Bull, not from me you wont, we failed in the first innings through the batsmens own stupid shot selections.

  • YorkshirePudding on March 28, 2012, 12:51 GMT

    @adrianct1971, in regards to the UK, SA, Aus,NZ, the problem of excessive swing is often due more to overhead conditions than it is the pitch. In England when you win the toss the general advice is look up rather than down. Most English pitches are considered flat on sunny days, but the ball can bend swing dramatically on overcast/humid days. IMHO, Pitches should spin in the first session of a test as it did last year, neither should they have cracks that aid seamers until the 3rd/4th day.

  • Fast_Track_Bully on March 28, 2012, 12:19 GMT

    @YorkshirePudding. Wait for the test result and then you can hear that. lol.

  • nat._ on March 28, 2012, 12:09 GMT

    Congratulations to Jayananda Warnaweera on producing two fantastic test pitches in a row. Quality pitches don't emasculate bowlers. Two of the best wickets in the world in my opinion are the Gabba and Galle.

  • Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on March 29, 2012, 14:15 GMT

    @Meety, you are right on the mark. Very well said. Agree with you almost completely except for onething - Warne and MacGill were wrist spinners. Finger spinners won't get any assistance from 'grassbowls'.

  • kumarcoolbuddy on March 29, 2012, 13:02 GMT

    Except ENG all of the teams are in kind of transition stage. We cannot expect much from this ENG team because ENG's best team lost many matches outside of ENG. India is right now very low in confidence for test matches. I still say India is best in ODIs compared to other teams. That's true playing test match with India is like playing with minnow team only until India comes into form. Right now they are in transition stage.

  • on March 29, 2012, 11:16 GMT

    whats the purpose of this article? is there a MAXIMUM no. of wickets that can fall on a day, to be labelled as a 'good' pitch?? Are you trying to make test cricket also BATSMEN-FRIENDLY like the ODIs?

  • brittop on March 29, 2012, 8:31 GMT

    Just looking at this article again. Nowhere in the body of it does it say the ICC are sending anyone or are considering looking closely at wicket. Only in the heading does it suggest they will look at it. Are they doing actually doing anything or is it just speculation that they might? If they are, I presume it can only be because of the warning from last year, as no-one seems to be suggesting it's a bad pitch.

  • redneck on March 28, 2012, 23:34 GMT

    @adrianct1971 haha mate the mcg is a football ground from march every year! not that your conspiricy theory wasnt a fun read. adelaide is about as sub continent friendly as you find in aus!

  • hhillbumper on March 28, 2012, 18:54 GMT

    Do we feel that some people like to say an east vs west issue in every part of cricket.The pitch is fine and not hearing any complaints from English players.

  • YorkshirePudding on March 28, 2012, 14:08 GMT

    @Fast_Track_Bull, not from me you wont, we failed in the first innings through the batsmens own stupid shot selections.

  • YorkshirePudding on March 28, 2012, 12:51 GMT

    @adrianct1971, in regards to the UK, SA, Aus,NZ, the problem of excessive swing is often due more to overhead conditions than it is the pitch. In England when you win the toss the general advice is look up rather than down. Most English pitches are considered flat on sunny days, but the ball can bend swing dramatically on overcast/humid days. IMHO, Pitches should spin in the first session of a test as it did last year, neither should they have cracks that aid seamers until the 3rd/4th day.

  • Fast_Track_Bully on March 28, 2012, 12:19 GMT

    @YorkshirePudding. Wait for the test result and then you can hear that. lol.

  • nat._ on March 28, 2012, 12:09 GMT

    Congratulations to Jayananda Warnaweera on producing two fantastic test pitches in a row. Quality pitches don't emasculate bowlers. Two of the best wickets in the world in my opinion are the Gabba and Galle.

  • murthydn16 on March 28, 2012, 11:50 GMT

    ICC should grow up. Why it did not warn SAF curator when a test match against aussies ended in just two days!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! A slight hint of turn and ICC jumps upon curators from subcontinents. Infact it is the bouncy pitches which is dangerous for batting and not spinning tracks. Spinning tracks are also sporting tracks. Only tracks with bounce and pace cannot be termed as sporting tracks which obviously suits non subcontinent teams. So as per ICC, any kind of spinning track in favor of subcontinent teams are dangerous and any pace and bouncy track in favor of non asian team is a sporting one. Great logic by the dumb council. If one goes by ICC's way of thinking, then all tracks all over the world should be flat tracks to get some sense of sanity.

  • rkannancrown on March 28, 2012, 10:36 GMT

    Is it not typical of ICC that it overlooks tailormade seaming wickets in England & Australia but warns subcontinental boards if there is a hint of a turn ? Cricket is far more enjoyable watching the spinners on a helpful track as compared to fast bowlers on a green top. It just so happens that England & Australia are not so comfortable at playing spin.

  • on March 28, 2012, 10:35 GMT

    No problem with the pitch although it will tend to deteriorate faster if players keep running on it!

  • on March 28, 2012, 9:22 GMT

    These contests are the most exciting to follow. More of the same and test cricket would be far more appealing to far more people the world over. Wouldn't mind 4 day tests to be honest and the test rankings to encourage results over draws.

  • adrianct1971 on March 28, 2012, 9:12 GMT

    First up its test match and both teams have an equal opportunity - going by commentary, cause of 25 wickets falling was not because the pitch played a part in all 25 dismissals, it is 90% of batsmen playing the wrong line! period. secondly, haven't we seen such situations in England / Australia/ S.Africa? why have they not been reported to ICC. Just like all others, its a bias and discriminatory treatment by the power that be! Personally, a game like this will revive test cricket and let me remind that Pakistan Australia have won games at Galle and not been a situation where the home teams keeps winning. Does anyone wonder why the famous 3 teams series finals in Australia and now played at Gabba and Adelaide? and not at famous MCG and SCG anymore? it is a fact that the Gabba and Adelaide are more suited to favour aussies - does the ICC investigate these? Nope they are too busy plotting the downfall of Asian Dominance albeit with the help of Asian at the top!Test cricket needs results

  • on March 28, 2012, 8:48 GMT

    Why is so much fuss made about the track?Honestly the track was a decent batting track with some moisture for the fast bowlers early on and expected to crumble to dust as the match goes on due to the excess heat.England are awful against spin and Sri Lanka played in T20 mode.This kind of track is way better than feather-beds and low bounce tracks where you only get 5 boring days of cricket with 1500 to 2000 runs being scored or long drawn attrition.As an Indian Fan I would like it if India start preparing rank turners and spinning tops again instead of the low bounce tracks which we have now.This will revive spin bowling which is India's traditional strength.Such pitches will also help seamers if they can hit the rough.At the end of the day the batsman will be tested to survive 5 days which is what test cricket is about!

  • northumbriannomad on March 28, 2012, 8:47 GMT

    I wish there were more groundsmen like him. If there were, there wouldn't be so many Tests played in front of five spectators, four of them seagulls.

  • on March 28, 2012, 8:26 GMT

    Not sure what the problem with the pitch is. it'll get a result. Which is better than a pitch that runs out to a tame draw. the game should be brought back to the bowlers a bit

  • YorkshirePudding on March 28, 2012, 7:18 GMT

    @Fast_Track_Bully, the England team arent complaining about the pitch at all, Ian bell said it was a good surface to bat on an 193 was a poor score. Even as an England fan, I'm not complaining this is test cricket and players should be tested, something that is happening all be it a test by spin rather than a test by seam which generally happens in the UK, SA, WI, Aus.

  • RandyOZ on March 28, 2012, 7:16 GMT

    Haha Swann must love this pitch, its the only one he can take wickets on.

  • Ksaminda on March 28, 2012, 7:11 GMT

    This is what you call "TEST" its truly awsme test....its not easy to bat its not easy to bwling...its not a flat batting track like in india not (a wicket to make batting hero's) it will test the class of the bats men...class of the bwlrs..in all it will check the class of the team..England truly a good test cricket team but they cant stay as the no 1 team..only from playing in there home soil. the real no 1 team need to play well in every condition. :D i really love this match and this pitch because it tested all...its all about high class batting and bwling to win a game in galle..when we tour England they will test our talent to play in there green tracks...so now its time to check there talent to play in dry tracks................

  • riyaz6399 on March 28, 2012, 6:14 GMT

    Why are all complaining about pitch? in sub continent everyone expect that kind of pitch. that's our strength. we don't complain about pitches outside the subcontinent. so they shouldn't be. everyone has the right to go with their strength and don't forget in this pitch mahela score a classic.

  • on March 28, 2012, 5:53 GMT

    The odd ball has turned sharply but mostly its hardly been alarming turn. I'm all for games of this sort and makes sure only the best batsman thrive. Sadly they're not English here...

  • Fast_Track_Bully on March 28, 2012, 5:49 GMT

    Eng will complaint against the spinning track and will ask for a ban.

  • satish619chandar on March 28, 2012, 5:34 GMT

    @FatBoysCanBat : The kind of pitch that you said - Fast bowling first day, batting wicket for day 2 and day 3 and spin for last couple will massively support the team wins toss and bowls as the seaming advantage they get won't be available for other team.. If at all a pitch is sporting, it should be liek the ones in Durban or the old NZ seaming tracks or wickets like Galle or Mumbai where it tests from ball one and till the end.. We should stop complaining as long as we get closely fought matches with good balance between batting and bowling and not care about which style of bowling the pitch flavors..

  • johntycodes on March 28, 2012, 5:27 GMT

    I can't believe the groundsman got a warning because it turned to much early in last years test. Surely then whoever was in charge of the first 3 one dayers between aus and wind should be sacked. They were the worst prepared wickets for a one day game I've ever seen being so slow and it turned a mile plus balls kept low because the pitch broke up.

  • on March 28, 2012, 5:15 GMT

    The English team sux. Can only play spinners such as Doherty and thinks they r no. 1.

  • Meety on March 28, 2012, 5:11 GMT

    Man some of the comments on here are annoying. I don't think anybody really minds a pitch that turns, however even Mahela said the pitch that they played Oz on was not good. Whether it deserved an ICC reprimand, that can be debated, but to then whinge about seaming pitches is not a good analogy. Often on seaming pitches, the pitch favours spin later on, see Warne & MacGills exploits at the "Grass Bowls" of the Gabba. I like seeing pitches that have some sort of challenge with lateral movement, I don't care if it seams or spins, I prefer to have a bit of bounce to reward pace bowlers (however spinners like bounce too). What is a poor wicket, is a pitch where the ball explodes out of nowhere, which is what was happening last year at Galle. That type of pitch leads to poor cricket. Yes Asia should have pitches that tend to turn more, but disintegrating 1st day pitches = poor cricket. Well done to Warnaweera for correcting his mistakes, I applaud him!

  • RoJayao on March 28, 2012, 5:03 GMT

    Nothing wrong with this pitch, it's chalk and cheese comparing with last years disgrace. I take the point that pitches which ensure a likely result are far better than the roads that produce bore fests. But there has to be a balance and Galle 2011 did not go near being fair, for either side. Give the curator some credit though, he's obviously worked hard to do a better job. It's not his fault England are simply playing spin like it Shane Warne and Murali in tandem out there! How good would THAT have been?!

  • senthil25 on March 28, 2012, 4:52 GMT

    ha ah aha hah ah Now the Fast Track Bullies are Strugling in Flat track.....................Now what are U going to Say about it, Now anyone tell Subcontinent pitch are poor & flat ?, So Ur guys(England, Australia) are very poor in spining track that is true......India, Srilanka are poor in Fast track that is true.....So dont blame each others......Fast track bullies & Flat track bullies.

  • Sumeet.Gupta on March 28, 2012, 4:21 GMT

    Would love to see such a pitch in India. But BCCI, in connivance with the official broadcaster Neo Cricket, will never allow a 3-day test match to happen. It's all about commerce......isn't it? Too bad, since there's no point watching 500 runs each innings and a tame bore draw. The pitches in Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Chennai (only recently) and even Kolkata are notoriously bad (read flat).

  • on March 28, 2012, 4:06 GMT

    I see nothing wrong in the wicket........ if SL start preparing green tops , what will be their home advantage ? England have played poorly and that is the truth

  • satish619chandar on March 28, 2012, 3:56 GMT

    Lol.. Time for spineless ICC to act.. They can't speak anything about the swinging Headingly or a bouncing Perth or a 40+ all out scores in test and even ODI but act with immediate effect on the spinning tracks.. And, people still ICC is bullied by a subcontinent country.. Shame oon you ICC if there is any warning for this lovely pitch..

  • randikaayya on March 28, 2012, 3:42 GMT

    @FatBoysCanBat: Mate, you seem to be suggesting that turning pitches are bad for cricket. Now ehile it maybe bad for your game it suits us well therefore we should make it thus. If you noted Trott missed a fulltoss whish had nothing to do with turn and then KP got castled off a pacie. Several Others got stuck on teh crease and got LBW, there really wasn't exagerated spin, or lack of bounce either. All in all a sporting wicket. The groundsman can't be blamed for England dropping Mahela all of 4 times!

  • Dashgar on March 28, 2012, 3:18 GMT

    The pitch has very little to do with most of Englands dismissals. Trott ran down the pitch and missed a full toss! Strauss was beaten by one that didn't turn at all. Just because teams make a low score doesn't mean the pitch is bad. Sometimes teams bat poorly. And I think the players agree with this.

  • jmcilhinney on March 28, 2012, 3:04 GMT

    Yet again, people need to understand the difference between a pitch that offers assistance to seam bowlers and one that offers assistance to spin bowlers. Ideally, a Test wicket should assist seam bowlers early, get easier for batsmen through days 2 & 3 and offer increasing assistance to spinners on days 4 & 5. A pitch that offers the sort of assistance to spinners on days 1 & 2 that you wouldn't expect until day 4 & 5 is bad, just like a pitch that still offers the sort of assistance to seamers on day 3 and later that you'd expect on day 1 is bad. That said, while I didn't see the Australia game, I don't see an issue with this pitch. There's been some good bowling, some bad batting and just occasionally some big turn. Look at Samaraweera's dismissal, stumped off a good arm ball. Many of the England dismissals were due to playing the wrong shot for the length of the ball, just as in UAE.

  • agupta429 on March 28, 2012, 2:59 GMT

    well well welll.. Looks like England is going the tattle tale way in the sub continent.. It's fine when they prepare PACE pitches... but when their batsmen get out to spin elsewhere, the pitch's gotta get inspected!! .. Lovely!

  • mikey76 on March 28, 2012, 2:47 GMT

    In the 60's or 70's this pitch would have not been seen as anything other than a normal test match wicket. Boycott would have probably batted throughout the day on that. A lot of fuss over nothing. Jayawardena aside, the batsmen showed a basic lack of application and some poor shot selection, nothing to do with the pitch. The best matches over the past year have been where there has been a 50/50 split between bat and ball. Glad Bell and Swann has returned to form, one in the eye for RandyOz and Jonesy2 who made the ludicrous suggestion Swann was over and that Bell was a weak No. 5. Form is temporary, Class is permanent. It's a cliche but its still true.

  • samincolumbia on March 28, 2012, 2:10 GMT

    @Kumarcoolbuddy - Blaming India for the SL team free-falling into mediocrity is not going to help the Sri lankan team get any better. The SL fans here have been blaming India for the thrashing in the WC final, having eggs on their faces for announcing SPL and then finding not a single international player was interested and as of last week, losing all the 3 games in the Asia Cup.

  • on March 28, 2012, 1:25 GMT

    @kumarcoolbuddy: I totally agree with India making England over confident... just see what happens to Australia in future... they are thinking they have put together a decent test side... only later will they realize that it was India who made them look good... A word of caution for all team playing test matches against India in future... treat beating India like beating B'desh and not get overconfident after that

  • S305 on March 28, 2012, 0:35 GMT

    Cric info: Please be good enough to do a write-up of how synthetic (net) tracks compare to the real turfs. Are the synthetics closer to the greener faster tracks (likely so), or do they turn? - Need this info in the USA, where there are only a handful of real turf tracks.

  • Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on March 27, 2012, 23:24 GMT

    As expected Bell, the Champion that he is, is talking sense. As we all know, no fuss is made when wickets tumble on a grassbowl but all hell breaks loose when batsmen can't bat on a spin friendly track. Bravo JG. As usual, well balanced.

  • kumarcoolbuddy on March 27, 2012, 22:47 GMT

    Atleast ICC is giving warning but if ENG had dominated this crikcet then it wud have changed the rules right away. If ENG are the king of this cricket then it wud have come up with new rules saying. "Not much cricket in sub-continent", "Not much cricket outside of ENG but sometimes in AUS is fine only when AUS is in bad form", "Very few no. of ODIs should be played", "but more T20s if possible", "No spin and flat pitches at all", finally, "whatever ENG is not good at...that should be cut down". I blame Indian team for making ENG over-confident.

  • redneck on March 27, 2012, 22:45 GMT

    i agree with Harvey. its about making sure winning the toss isnt all that you need to win the match. the team batting second shouldnt be out of the match only because their captain lost the toss. @Stark62 cant handle them? did aus not win the test played in galle??? more like the sub continent cant handle aus, eng and sa are better travellers than any of their sides.

  • Truemans_Ghost on March 27, 2012, 22:31 GMT

    Sri Lanka scored 300 despite England bowling quite well. England were out for 200 because they deserved to be. What has the pitch to do with Trott missing a full toss? Sounds like a proper test match to me. Why would anyone complain?

  • on March 27, 2012, 22:08 GMT

    In reply to nzcricket174, unfortunately the stats do not support what you say. Sri Lankan pitches have one of the highest result to games played ratios in the world. For some reason its a common complaint that sub continent wickets are roads, but this has not been the case in Sri Lanka, and the numbers show this quite clearly. You would do well to consider the stats before making erroneous claims.

  • Chris_P on March 27, 2012, 22:07 GMT

    The pitch is a sporting one. England only got themselves to blame as they did drop Mahela 4 times on his way to 180. This is what makes test matches intriguing, this is the reason why ODI form should be discounted, they don't get to bat on anything resembling sporting pitches.

  • on March 27, 2012, 22:03 GMT

    A fantastic wicket; a true testament to the game.

  • Harry_Kool on March 27, 2012, 21:50 GMT

    @Vilander To put in perspective, when green pitches are perpared they invariably support the spinners on day 4 & 5 meaning ALL bowlers benefit, when spinning pitches are prepared from the first session what does that tell you? Anyway, the Aussies didn't complain about Galle in the first test, that was strictly an independent ICC decision.

  • FatBoysCanBat on March 27, 2012, 21:50 GMT

    @Vilander: Come on mate. Australia provide the best Test match pitches in the world with a bit of seam movement on the first day followed by perfect batting conditions for the next 2-3 days before it spins on day 5 [or day 4 in Sydney]. You can't get better conditions for a Test match then that. As for England; their wickets have become a lot better in the last 5 years and when they have been a bit green it is because of the weather in the days leading up to the test. You have to water a pitch before a game to avoid it breaking up too early and you need sun on it in the days leading up to the first ball for it to dry a bit and become a true surface. I just don't see why groundsmen in the sub-continent can't just leave more grass on the pitch so it won't turn as much as early.

  • CricketFanInLosAngles on March 27, 2012, 21:46 GMT

    There was nothing wrong in the pitch. It had good turn but not alarming turn. England makes pitches suited to their strengths. I don't see anything wrong with the good turning pitch until all countries fall between the boundaries of a good pitch that in essence helps both sides equally.

  • on March 27, 2012, 21:40 GMT

    The ICC or any country has NEVER been against spinning pitches in history. Why, even Australia has spinning pitches in Adelaide and Sydney where I have seen 3 spinners bowl in an innings! The problem is with dustbowls - did anyone see the last Galle pitch? Turning from the first ball is OK. But when your get a mini sand-storm every time the ball pitches, it is a health hazard and no-one wants the ball spitting square like Mahela said. All the Indians complaining about green pitches in Aus, let me tell you that you got very bare strips this summer and NZ had the real green tracks. The equivalent of dust-bowls for pace bowlers is seeing a pitch with monstrous cracks in it like the old WACA. There's obviously a reason why we don't get pitches like that anymore so it is only logical that dustbowls should also be avoided. And Aus had zero home advantage by hosting India in Adelaide or SCG.

  • Test-is-the-best on March 27, 2012, 21:23 GMT

    This pitch seems to be a very good pitch for test cricket. Do ICC need to make pithes where both team score above 600 and ends up with a boring finish?????. I belive test cricket needs pitches like this. probably ODI games needs batsmen friendly wickets to score over 300.

  • Vilander on March 27, 2012, 20:32 GMT

    When Aus,Eng prepare green pitches its lively,sporting. When sub continent teams prepare spinnig tracks ICC complains. Hmm..

  • JG2704 on March 27, 2012, 20:28 GMT

    To be honest English batsmen could find a way to mess up on a road of a pitch. I believe the pitch will deteriorate so I believe our side are already in trouble even if SL add less than 50 more runs. Remember this was a batting line up which failed to chase down less than 150 in UAE and right now is possibly the worst batting line up out there - and this from an England fan. If our batting was half as good as our bowling I believe we'd have won in the UAE and we'd be on top in this match. My 5 man bowling attack idea still stands (more than ever now). I believe we could have a team full of players who can bat (on paper) and we'd still post inadequate totals. I hope our batsmen prove me wrong in the 2nd inns - it's about time

  • on March 27, 2012, 20:04 GMT

    Well on one hand ICC says we need to find ways to get audiences and have results and on the other hand you are complaining against it. I don't understand wht is ICC looking for, faster and more wickets, more results and thus more Audience!

  • ved_mishra on March 27, 2012, 19:57 GMT

    It is good sign that players are defending Galle pitch. ICC sometimes behave a little different when it comes to sub-continent countries. I haven't heard of any incident when they raised alarm for green pitches in Australia.

  • phermon on March 27, 2012, 19:47 GMT

    I reckon 5string's analysis puts most of the rest of you to shame. You lot tend to make big predictions while ignoring the facts. There are two good cricket teams "enjoying" an absorbing battle in similar conditions for both sides - apart from home climate advantage.

    Oh, maybe I am wrong and the SLs are appalling players of spin, seam, swing, short-stuff and beamers except when they're not. And did Andrew really have to use the sentence: Alarm bells need not ring - precisely where he did?

  • nzcricket174 on March 27, 2012, 19:39 GMT

    It is a great pitch. For too long we have seen 600 v 600 go to a draw in Sri Lanka. its about time India followed suit and started making pitches like this.

  • x-squire-x on March 27, 2012, 19:01 GMT

    nothing wrong with the pitch if a batsman can score 180... but england are proberbly going to get a new law that allows only one turning delivery per over.

  • 5string on March 27, 2012, 18:53 GMT

    Hang on! I know England aren't great at playing spin, but lets look at BOTH TEAMS here. Without the top score for each 1st innings (Jayawardene's brilliant 180, Bell's pretty good 52) the remaining scores were surprisingly similar: England 141, Sri Lanka 138 - nothing in it, really. Also, 4 of England's batsmen scored 20+, but only 3 Sri Lankans did (again, not counting MJ and IB). Then in Sri Lanka's 2nd innings only 1 of the top 5 scored more than 15. Here's hoping the rest of the batsmen now start to read the pitch and get some runs. Sri Lanka to set 300-ish, England to start playing spin properly, ie. more positive and not off the back foot all the time! Grr! Could be a thriller. Come on England!

  • Nathan_123 on March 27, 2012, 18:44 GMT

    It's good to hear that the players from the English camp acknowledging that the pitch was good and there weren't any demons in it. Isn't that a very familiar story when ever the English perform poorly: their media always find some excuses to cover up the their poor performance. Didn't we all remember when Ajmal bamboosed England in UAE, straight away the media scrutinised his action. Now the wicket in Gale. Admit it! English are not good players of Spin bowling and in Subcontinent.

  • samincolumbia on March 27, 2012, 18:24 GMT

    @johnathanjosephs - Isn't Rajkot the same ground where India thrashed England by a whopping 158 runs in an ODI? No wonder you want to get it banned. You may also want to get the ground in West Indies where England were all out for a paltry 51 less than 3 years ago. LOL.

  • JamesTHEwalldravid on March 27, 2012, 18:21 GMT

    Congrats my Sri Lankan friends :) I hope you win. Eng are a good team and will beat India in India, but untill then I wish that the Lankans have something to cheer about they are true lovers of cricket. I hope SL also adds Eranga and Pradeep to the test side so they will be strong in the pace department. Jaya is a very respectable fellow and I like him as captain. I like Sanga the Batsman (what a player!), but not Sanga as captain. Also I hope people especially Eng, Aus, NZ and RSA stop crying whenever the ball spins. This is a man's game! not every tom, dick and Ryan Harris is supposed to score triple 100 or break Lara's record. Swann has not impressed me and I think he is overrated, but the problem is that Monty drops too many catches. Still Swann was not a threat of note to the Pak and the Aussies also laughed at him in the Ashes so maybe Rashid or another youngster should be tried instead. Rasheed will not get a chance for obvious reasons.

  • itsTIME4ELImination on March 27, 2012, 17:58 GMT

    One player scored 180+, so are the other batsmen, batsmen or not?

  • on March 27, 2012, 17:49 GMT

    With all due respect to the Barmy Army and other diehard fans of English cricket, THE ENGLISH GOOSE IS COOKED! They are atrocious players of spin like it was proved in their 3-0 drubbing by Pakistan!

  • RohanMarkJay on March 27, 2012, 17:48 GMT

    Nothing wrong with the pitch get on with it. England wickets are tumbling because the current England batting line up has serious problems in batting technique against good spin bowling.. I was concerned however and surprised Sri Lanka lost 4 wickets to Swann, Swann maybe a good spin bowler, but Sri Lankan batsman are superb players of spin bowling they are brought up on it, so it is not fun to see them lose wickets to spin bowlers even good ones like Swann. Plus England cricketers struggle in subcontinental conditions especially Sri Lankan. I predict Sri Lanka to win 1-0 or 2-0 this series. Hopefully then England fans on cricinfo will finally realise their overhyped cricket team of 2011 and 2012 is serously over rated! I will admit however England is a very good cricket side in England. However they are hopeless in the subcontinent conditions and spin bowling especially in Sri Lanka as this series will prove.

  • Perera32 on March 27, 2012, 17:35 GMT

    So does the ICC want Completley Green Tracks in Eng, Aus and SA, and flat tracks in the Sub continent that will result in Draws every single time. The groundsman is absoloutley correct!!!. THIS TEST MATCH HAS BEEN THE MOST ENJOYABLE TEST MATCH I'VE SEEN IN THE SUB CONTIENT IN THE LAST 5 YEARS. If the ICC keep telling groundsmen to produce flat tracks that make 600 runs in each inning, then TEST CRICKET WILL MOST SURELY DIE IN THE NEXT 5 YEARS.

  • on March 27, 2012, 17:34 GMT

    Poor batting != bad pitch. Jaya showed how to bat in good turners. So, don't blame the pitch. Blame the batsmen whose patience are going down more and more everyday as 20/20 becomes the most popular version of the game.

  • on March 27, 2012, 17:27 GMT

    I wonder why this comment always come when wickets are taken by spinners. Why do these people dont utter a word when in Yorkshire or in Perth or in Durban Fast bowlers take 15 wickets on day1? And the comment that pitch should turn on day 5 is ridiculous. 90% of matches have results before that.

  • rukii on March 27, 2012, 17:22 GMT

    then what about the newland's pitch in the last year (aus vs RSA) aus all out for 47 and RSA for 96. it didnt had a official warning or even a complain. Though in the last match played in galle lowest was 100. and what about SSC where batsmen score lot of runs even in the 4th inning.(fortunately this time there is no matches)

  • johnathonjosephs on March 27, 2012, 17:20 GMT

    Someone tell the ICC to do their job and ban the lifeless pitches. Rajkot has been asking for it for quite some time

  • Cpt.Meanster on March 27, 2012, 17:12 GMT

    Well.. IF England are true no.1s then let them find a way into this game before the end. No use of offering excuses about a poor quality pitch. According to me, there are 3 kinds of pitches: A fast bowler's paradise, a spinner's paradise, and a batsman's paradise. Galle has always been a spinning wicket. SL had no problems with it and it's not surprising given they are the home team. England have had good successes against a demoralized Indian team last summer. They have already failed 1 examination out of 2 by losing to Pakistan in the UAE. Now let us see if they can pass this one. I hope they do for the sake of that 'no.1' tag hanging around their vulnerable necks.

  • on March 27, 2012, 16:51 GMT

    I think the scores don't reflect the pitch. this is an average 300+ pitch for first innings and then about 200 for the second innings, which is fair

  • on March 27, 2012, 16:48 GMT

    england are the no ...1 team at the moment...a team capable of winning frm brink of defeat..as they have proved that before..so chances are even ...now..depends hw much lanka could pile on in the third morning..

  • kensohatter on March 27, 2012, 16:41 GMT

    Variety in test pitches makes things far more exciting and home sides should be allowed to prepare tracks that best suit the home team. It adds to the challenge, strategy and drama that is test cricket. As long as the pitch does not place players in danger of injury then play should continue. Jayawadene proved that the pitch can be mastered by those who are patient and highlights his class. Its about time bowlers caught a break the game is favouring the batsmen way too much these days

  • likeintcricket on March 27, 2012, 16:38 GMT

    Sri Lanka, in my opinion. has already have enough on the board and another 50 runs will be handy. Only a solid opening partnership can save England now.

  • yorkslanka on March 27, 2012, 16:38 GMT

    i agree with the comments here, i see nothing wrong with the pitch..its just as difficult to bat on as a green top where the ball seams all over..poor batting from both teams has led to the numerous wickets today...tomorrow is going to be a crucial dayfor the test match, if SL build a lead of 350 then the favour swings their way and if England skittle us for under a 150 in the second innings,the pendulum swings their way..good test cricket a it should be... good luck SL and glad to see the England fans enjoying our beautiful country...

  • Hush78 on March 27, 2012, 16:36 GMT

    He at least this get published.so many comments and all of them kept out..very hard by crikinfo...anywY where are those guys who accuse of flat track bullies.stats will show and reality is there Sri Lanka don't have very flat wickets like they do in India and some other countries.and I believe these types of wickets are good for test cricket than just flat pitches. People like Mage as century values more in these conditions than many other pitches.I think this test will end on 3rd day with Sri Lanka on top..come on lankan lions...

  • r1m2 on March 27, 2012, 16:33 GMT

    I don't think horrendous batting makes for a great test! This batting display by England is not expected from a true no. 1 team. Sorry but Sri Lankan bowling is one of the weakest in the world right now.

    I am glad Swann is back in form, because to me he's one of the greatest thing to happen to England in a long time in the form of a spinner. I am amazed at how the English media often describes him as if he's the new Giles. Giles was the worst spinner England ever had. When Giles was preferred to Panesar that was shameful. But if England now after a few good performances from Monty, ends up preferring Panesar over Swann, that will be just as shameful.

  • Harvey on March 27, 2012, 16:22 GMT

    Although I strongly disagree with the inspectors' obsessive hatred of pitches offering help to the spinners, a pitch should not offer a massive advantage to the team that wins the toss. Unfortunately that does look to be the case with this one, and it's not the first time we've seen such a pitch in Galle.

  • S305 on March 27, 2012, 16:02 GMT

    "likely defeat for the visitors"? it is too early to tell. By the way SL batsmen have lost concentration and thrown their wickets away, if SL gets bowled out soon on day 3, England has a very, very good chance.

  • george204 on March 27, 2012, 16:01 GMT

    "You shouldn't produce dead Test pitches just to get scores of 600, that's my motto" That's exactly the attitude a groundsman SHOULD have. I'm sick to death of modern batsmen filling their boots & games where 550 plays 550 with the 3rd innings barely underway by the 5th day. The penalty for the Aus test was preposterous.

  • on March 27, 2012, 15:57 GMT

    Cricket would be a better game if all pitches took spin and gave less help to pace bowlers. The game is much more interesting when it is a mind game between a decent spinner and a batsman who can play it; it puts the emphasis on higher skills (not to say pace bowlers don't need skill and control).

  • nickydude on March 27, 2012, 15:54 GMT

    Im really amused, warned for excessive early turn, then what about pitches with absolutely no turn!! These are the real culprits hell bent on killing Test Cricket.

  • unbeleaveable on March 27, 2012, 15:51 GMT

    Been to Galle at christmas, the fort is beautiful and the people are so friendly, what a place, what a game, love it when wickets are falling, what an innings - 180 and last out. Its good to see a test match where spin is dominate and shows both side have good spinners. I can dream been at this game in Galle - love Sri Lankan teams just about always play to their ability, lets see if England fight hard and deserve to be number 1.

  • reality_check27 on March 27, 2012, 15:42 GMT

    icc is not a fair sporting body as if it warns again than i have to say might as well stop cricket itself when the ball seems and bounces icc is ok with that even if it happens on from the first day but if it spins they warn curators all subcontinent teams and boards get together and question them and then when 805 of icc income is under threat by india,srilanka,pakistan and bangladesh they will understand

  • Herath-UK on March 27, 2012, 15:40 GMT

    It confirms further what a masterclass that was from Mahela. Ranil Herath -Kent

  • Selassie-I on March 27, 2012, 15:31 GMT

    Nothing wrong with this pitch at all. Poor batting by all really except the brilliant MR Jayawadene and a few peaches from the bowlers. There is a nice bit of turn off the pitch now, fair play to the sub-continent teams for producing turning pitches to have a go at our weakness against spinners, just as we will produce green tops to aid our seamers and the aussies will produce bouncy tracks to support their tall, fast bowlers, like the article says it proves a teams quality to win away from home. Clearly we're not there at the moment as a batting side, although we seem to be able to bowl well anywhere at the moment. Personally I also think it's a shame that there was a warnign handed out for the aus test, we all want to see competetive test cricket, the game has 5 days to end, doesn't mean that it has to last until the 5th day every time.

  • Sinhaya on March 27, 2012, 15:27 GMT

    Test cricket is boring when a side can freely amass 500. If a team can bat first and score 300 plus, then no issues with the pitch.

  • on March 27, 2012, 15:20 GMT

    It's absurd to scrutinise the pitch. It behaved perfectly well, and the groundsman Warnaweera deserves praise for his work and for his attitude. We are fed up with batsmen gorging themselves for days on end and should be delighted to see so many spinners in action and bowling well. I do not see people complaining when seamers get 17 wickets in a day. The hapless batting just shows how much more practice is needed even by top batsmen against good spin bowling. May they get many more opportunities to improve!

  • Stark62 on March 27, 2012, 15:14 GMT

    So.........are the icc going to ban these type of pitches?

    They don't mind dangerous bouncing wickets or green pitches but have an issue against turning and low bounce pitches?!?!

    International clowns committee need to realise, that sub-continent matches would be really, really boring without any turn and would just turn away viewers from watching or are pitches like these questioned because Eng, SA and Aus can't handle them?

  • skuller on March 27, 2012, 15:04 GMT

    Cant understand why the world is so bothered about a turner when they think that a green and mean wicket is good for cricket. If the English and South African teams can produce wickets that bounce, spit and swing venomously from day 1 why cant the Asian team produce a wicket that turns???

    The wicket stays the same for both teams....

    That is what is called playing to HOME ADVANTAGE.....

  • PanGlupek on March 27, 2012, 14:59 GMT

    I know it costs the ICC money every time a test doesn't go 5 days, but maybe it's time they re-asseses what a poor pitch is. As long as it's not dangerous, I'd rather watch a test with wickets falling every 10 minutes than I would watch 2 teams rack up 700 vs 600 first innings bore-draws any day. A bit more exciting, less predictable games in the sub-continent & people might actually watch test cricket there (I haven't watched any of this game, but all none of the cricinfo commentary or tweets from guys at the ground suggest it's a bad wicket).

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  • PanGlupek on March 27, 2012, 14:59 GMT

    I know it costs the ICC money every time a test doesn't go 5 days, but maybe it's time they re-asseses what a poor pitch is. As long as it's not dangerous, I'd rather watch a test with wickets falling every 10 minutes than I would watch 2 teams rack up 700 vs 600 first innings bore-draws any day. A bit more exciting, less predictable games in the sub-continent & people might actually watch test cricket there (I haven't watched any of this game, but all none of the cricinfo commentary or tweets from guys at the ground suggest it's a bad wicket).

  • skuller on March 27, 2012, 15:04 GMT

    Cant understand why the world is so bothered about a turner when they think that a green and mean wicket is good for cricket. If the English and South African teams can produce wickets that bounce, spit and swing venomously from day 1 why cant the Asian team produce a wicket that turns???

    The wicket stays the same for both teams....

    That is what is called playing to HOME ADVANTAGE.....

  • Stark62 on March 27, 2012, 15:14 GMT

    So.........are the icc going to ban these type of pitches?

    They don't mind dangerous bouncing wickets or green pitches but have an issue against turning and low bounce pitches?!?!

    International clowns committee need to realise, that sub-continent matches would be really, really boring without any turn and would just turn away viewers from watching or are pitches like these questioned because Eng, SA and Aus can't handle them?

  • on March 27, 2012, 15:20 GMT

    It's absurd to scrutinise the pitch. It behaved perfectly well, and the groundsman Warnaweera deserves praise for his work and for his attitude. We are fed up with batsmen gorging themselves for days on end and should be delighted to see so many spinners in action and bowling well. I do not see people complaining when seamers get 17 wickets in a day. The hapless batting just shows how much more practice is needed even by top batsmen against good spin bowling. May they get many more opportunities to improve!

  • Sinhaya on March 27, 2012, 15:27 GMT

    Test cricket is boring when a side can freely amass 500. If a team can bat first and score 300 plus, then no issues with the pitch.

  • Selassie-I on March 27, 2012, 15:31 GMT

    Nothing wrong with this pitch at all. Poor batting by all really except the brilliant MR Jayawadene and a few peaches from the bowlers. There is a nice bit of turn off the pitch now, fair play to the sub-continent teams for producing turning pitches to have a go at our weakness against spinners, just as we will produce green tops to aid our seamers and the aussies will produce bouncy tracks to support their tall, fast bowlers, like the article says it proves a teams quality to win away from home. Clearly we're not there at the moment as a batting side, although we seem to be able to bowl well anywhere at the moment. Personally I also think it's a shame that there was a warnign handed out for the aus test, we all want to see competetive test cricket, the game has 5 days to end, doesn't mean that it has to last until the 5th day every time.

  • Herath-UK on March 27, 2012, 15:40 GMT

    It confirms further what a masterclass that was from Mahela. Ranil Herath -Kent

  • reality_check27 on March 27, 2012, 15:42 GMT

    icc is not a fair sporting body as if it warns again than i have to say might as well stop cricket itself when the ball seems and bounces icc is ok with that even if it happens on from the first day but if it spins they warn curators all subcontinent teams and boards get together and question them and then when 805 of icc income is under threat by india,srilanka,pakistan and bangladesh they will understand

  • unbeleaveable on March 27, 2012, 15:51 GMT

    Been to Galle at christmas, the fort is beautiful and the people are so friendly, what a place, what a game, love it when wickets are falling, what an innings - 180 and last out. Its good to see a test match where spin is dominate and shows both side have good spinners. I can dream been at this game in Galle - love Sri Lankan teams just about always play to their ability, lets see if England fight hard and deserve to be number 1.

  • nickydude on March 27, 2012, 15:54 GMT

    Im really amused, warned for excessive early turn, then what about pitches with absolutely no turn!! These are the real culprits hell bent on killing Test Cricket.