Sri Lanka v India, 2nd Test, SSC July 31, 2010

Curator defends SSC pitch for second Test


Anurudda Polonowita, Sri Lanka's national curator, has defended the pitch at the SSC, blaming the weak bowling line-ups for a dull draw. "I am quite happy [with the pitch]," Poloniwata said. "You take the Indian side. Six or seven world-class batsmen. Top level. Better than England or Australia. What is Sri Lankan batting? Same. All record holders. What is their bowling? We had Murali, we had [Chaminda] Vaas - 800 wickets, 400 wickets. Where are they now? Now see the side. Why don't you talk about bowling rather than the pitch?

"The captains have nothing to say, and say it's a batting wicket, bowlers have no chance. They don't have the bowlers to have a chance. If Sri Lanka had those bowlers at the SSC, they would have won the match. If they took [Sachin] Tendulkar's catch, it would have been 180 for 5, anything could have happened."

The Indian bowling attack, Polonowita said, was even worse. "They played a practice game at Colts Club. The A team hammered 514 for 9," he said. "They played at Galle, and Sri Lanka we got 520 for 8. At SSC, 642 for 4. What are you talking about the pitch? Why don't you talk about the bowling? Both sides have weak bowling, both sides have brilliant batting.

"Why do crowds pay and come? To see cricket. If you want it to finish in three days, I can fix the pitch for three days. That's not cricket."

Polonowita has been involved with Sri Lankan cricket for the last 50 years. He played until 1973-74, was the team manager on Sri Lanka's first Test tour, was a selector for 15 years, vice-president of the board, and chairman of umpire committees and tour organising committees.

"I know what I am doing," Polonowita said. "If you are a bowler, you must be able to bowl on any pitch. If a bowler is bowling bumpers, batsmen don't leave their bat and go. If you face a batting pitch, you have to take the challenge.

"Any time the reporters and commentators have nothing to say, they say this is not a pitch for Test cricket. You must talk about bowling too. Murali used to turn the ball on any wicket."

Asked if the absence of Murali and Malinga had any bearing on the kind of pitch prepared at the SSC, Polonowita said it was the absence of those bowlers that made the pitch look flat. "Always similar pitch, even if we had Murali and Malinga.

"Against South Africa [on the same track] Sri Lanka hammered all the records, and still won the match. They lost because Sri Lanka had the bowlers to get the wickets."

The pitch at the P Sara Oval, Polonowita said, will make for a more even contest. "More life in this pitch for both fast bowlers and spinners," he said. "That's the natural character of the pitch. This will be a much better pitch for bowlers than the SSC. With batting also, if one fellow puts his head down and bats, he will score."

Sidharth Monga is a staff writer at Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on August 7, 2010, 11:53 GMT

    srilanka should stop over expressing themselves. Why should srilanka maintain a ground which produces scores over 500every time

  • Dummy4 on August 5, 2010, 15:51 GMT

    Someone should tell Polonwita that the SSC pitch in this match is exactly the reason why SL have never one a test match outside their home turf.

  • Reza on August 3, 2010, 3:28 GMT

    @zxaar, u understood wrong. I just told that this indian bowling line up is very weak. I have been watching and supporting indian team for more than two decades now. I dont hv any prob to accept the truth. Thats why I gave example from first test where SL bowlers troubled every indian batters. Its been indias pattern to have an ordinary bowling line up as oppose to excellent batting line up. Again I agree with the curator for his bold comment.

  • arjun on August 2, 2010, 21:20 GMT

    "Its really incredible how you guys hold such bigoted views about pitches in SL." ----------------- You mean the difference in averages outside of sri lanka and in sri lanka for these sri lankans players is just a fairy talk. Talk about bigoted views. Sangakawa averages 34 in india, 30 in England. How many centuries jaya has hit outside sri lanka??? Bigoted views, huh.

  • grace on August 2, 2010, 14:23 GMT

    it's not about Sri Lanka or the poor curator. the organizers want to maximize ticket sales over five days. money is again killing cricket. at this rate, test cricket will not exist for too long. bad pitches will produce a toothless bowling attack and untested batters. love the pitches in England, Australia. the matches are either result oriented, or exciting draws. test match cricket needs good pitches, to develop more attacking bowlers and more skilful batters without needing to toy with the format and play day/night etc. why are the 'powers that supposedly be' missing this? is it that complicated?

  • Dummy4 on August 2, 2010, 11:54 GMT

    The curator is required to prepare a pitch to last 5 days of test match cricket.We have seen sub-standard pitches been prepared all over the world to help the home to win at any cost . some of them had boomarranged on them too.The bowling in the second test from both teams were putrid and was of a very low standard . They were just going through the motions and given up on a masterful batting display by both teams.The bowlers must be able to bowl wicket to wicket on any pitch and batsmen required to play on any pitch.That is what cricket is all about.Some of the test cricketers have many excuses when they are unable to perform and produce results. Take a cue from Murali or Sachin as shining examples of how you should play the game and attain those high standards which will be hard to beat by the present day professionals.In this case I'm strongly of the view that the test match pitch was excellent.

  • Dummy4 on August 2, 2010, 10:20 GMT

    I was expecting this typical emotional and over-reaction from Indian fans and thats the purpose of my earlier comments, to get you started! So does it sound absurd when I say that Tendulkar scored loads of runs only because your curators prepared pitches to suit him? Then thats how it is when you guys use terms such as SL is "scared" and that curator "followed orders from the SL captain", etc. Its really incredible how you guys hold such bigoted views about pitches in SL. Just because of this draw at SSC, you guys are going to extreme levels suggesting the venue be banned. Have you guys never seen test matches end in draw in India? Would you call for such venues to be banned as well? In that case only Chennai, Bangalore and Mumbai would be your test venues. Get over your bigoted views and accept the fact that SL pitches have produced more results (that means less draws, in case you dont understand English) than Indian pitches in the last 10 years - check CRICINFO stats.

  • spirit on August 2, 2010, 9:52 GMT

    @Dasith Sean Wijesiriwardena,india in their last two tours to england had won one and drawn the other,in aus its only india who's giving them a tough competition apart from SA in da last one decade(infact SA won only one series against aussie both home and away included in 19yrs),in SA,india lost a closely fough series by 2-1 and not to forget india won almost everything at home and thats y india is no.1 and compare this to SL outside SL,lol u don even come close....sehwag averages 58 in aus,and averages much more outside india lol unlike ur mahela and co. who can play only in SL.U have only sangakarra and no one...india won da maximum away tests after australia since 2000,so better dont talk about india's record in tests and their performance...accept dat SL prepared a very flat pitch and ur curator is only giving excuses,and yeah india did won a test series in SL in 1993,but SL not even a test in india leave alone a series..

  • arjun on August 2, 2010, 8:44 GMT

    "To be honest curator indicated a true picture which should be taken seriously. look at the indian bowlers, when at first test SL's bowlers troubled the super indian batters all the way, " -------------------------

    which match you were watching???? Are we talking of same match. Can you count how many innings indians played in this test. If sri lankan bowlers were any good they could have defeated indians after scoring 640. All we got is tame draw. Have you face of sri lankans when sehwag was hitting them all around. If pitch was alright , then sri lanka also has equally rubbish bowling as indians. You can not have both ways.

  • Simon on August 2, 2010, 8:35 GMT

    While the bowling line ups that played the game are pretty poor you must, at least partially blame the wicket. While he blames the absence of a Vaas and a Murali for Sri Lanka they still have Mendis who has already danced his way through the Indian order in a warm up game. Any game that only loses 17 wickets (5 to part timers) has to attribute it to the wicket. Sri Lankas batsmen are only 'world class' in Sri Lanka, likewise Indian batsmen often struggle away from the subcontinent.

    If those sides were regularly scoring like that in the UK, Australia, South Africa or New Zealand maybe he'd have a bigger point.

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