Brisbane : With the first Test between Australia and South Africa ending within two days, the pitch at the Gabba ground has come in for severe criticism with Proteas skipper Dean Elgar terming it “unsafe” for batters.
A total of 34 wickets fell within two days. South Africa were shot out for 152 and 99 runs in two innings while Australia were bundled out for 216 in their first innings and struggled for 35/4 in their second innings to win the match by six wickets on Sunday.
In all, 19 wickets fell on the second day on a green top wicket that offered a lot of assistance to both teams’ pace attacks. Elgar said the track started developing divots on the first day which dried out and caused further problems on the second day.
‘It’s full of grass, there’s no need for such heavy grass material. Because it is too sealed.’ You have to ask yourself, is this a good advert for our format?”, he told the ABC. “I’m obviously a purist of this format, you want to watch the game for four, five days.”
The nature of the way it started to play with some seriously steep bounce with the old ball — you’re kind of on a hiding to nothing as a batting group,” he added. “The divots definitely played a big role with the sideways movement, the up and down and obviously the steep bounce, which is quite something to face.
And also today the older ball was flying through which really shouldn’t be happening,” Elgar said after the match. The Proteas skipper said he even went to the umpires to enquire whether the pitch was unsafe for the players.
“I did ask the umpires how long it goes on for before it is essentially unsafe. That’s where the umpires’ discretion comes in — it’s not up to us players,” Elgar said. Speaking after the game, Ponting criticised the pitch, saying, “I have never seen one like Green”.
“Matthew Hayden has played here more than me, and he’s never seen one like the green, and Justin Langer said he’s never seen one like the green.  There was too much seam movement. “They are a very, very good bowling team, no doubt, but I don’t think the batting teams are that bad.”
Hayden, for whom Gabba is his home ground, also slammed the playing surface. “In my opinion, it started very green. And this from someone who saw it [pitch] From a very young age,” he said. Australia captain Pat Cummins said the pitch was good and not dangerous.
“There were no balls jumping off a length or anything like that,” he added. “There was a lot of sideways movement and today a little bit of up and down bounce as well.
Personally, I don’t mind if the groundsmen err on the side of a greener surface.”Cummins and the Australian supporters said there was no unfair advantage as the pitch was the same for both teams.