Daniel Vettori, the New Zealand captain, is not impressed with the use of the same pitch for Tuesday's semi-final as the one that was used for the quarter-final against England on Saturday. "They've told us we're playing on the same one as England, which is very surprising for us," Vettori said on the eve of the first semi-final against Sri Lanka. "Playing a World Cup semi-final on a used wicket; we would have thought it would be mandatory to prepare a fresh wicket, but obviously not." Sri Lanka won their quarter-final easily, strangulating England's scoring through clever use of slow bowlers and Lasith Malinga at the death, and went on to win comfortably by 10 wickets.
Vettori is spot on with his observation that it is not mandatory to play a semi-final on a fresh pitch. However, the pitch to be used for the semi-final is relatively fresh; it was used for the first time in the tournament during the quarter-final. The call on which pitch is to be used is the groundsman's, and Anuruddha Polonowita, Sri Lanka's chief groundsman, said that he has chosen the most-fair strip.
An ICC source said the choice of the exact pitch remains with the venue, as long as it complies with the ICC's guidelines for fair pitches. The choice, the source said, was between the pitch used for the Australia-Pakistan game and the one used for the quarter-final. The first one had more inconsistent bounce, hence this pitch was chosen.