SSC pitch prepared for the second test of the
on-going series between Sri Lanka and India aroused
much controversy for its flatness which resulted in
a total of 1478 runs being scored for the loss of 17
wickets. This was 11 runs short of the highest ever
aggregate achieved in a Test in Sri Lanka 1489 for
14 wickets in the record breaking match at the R
Premadasa Stadium in 1997 which also involved India.
The SSC pitch came in for some criticism from the
two captains who were not all that happy when it
eventually turned out to be a graveyard for their
Four bowlers from each side sported century
figures with one of them even getting into a double
hundred, while the batsmen enjoyed a record breaking
first four days with two batsmen getting double
hundreds and three scoring centuries with one
missing out by just one run.
Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni said, “On this
kind of a wicket, 99.9 per cent of the time you will
not get a result. This was a placid track nothing in
it for anyone.”
Rival captain Kumar Sangakkara was of the opinion
that the crowds would like to see an even contest
between bat and ball which was not the case at the
SSC with the bat dominant over the ball.
“The wicket at SSC has been always flat. I
remember when we played against Pakistan, we had to
bat out about five sessions to save the Test Match
and at the end we were 424 for four. Still there was
some bite on that wicket in the last session, but it
was a foregone conclusion by then,” he said.
When it was suggested whether play could have been
called off on the final day with both teams having
nothing to play for, Sangakkara replied, “I don’t
know how the sponsors and the TV networks will look
at that. It was not the most interesting final day’s
play. Until the ICC changes rule, you have to wait
Dhoni said that India would love to get an extra
days rest but the ICC will have to decide after we
had one innings each and on the last day nothing is
happening may be to call it off and enjoy some food
From the three Test venues Sri Lanka Cricket has
allocated for the series, SSC has the smaller
percentage of wins 67.64 percent (23 wins, 11 draws)
as compared to the other two venues Galle which has
75 percent (12 wins, 4 draws) and the P. Sara Oval -
venue of the third and final Test beginning on
Tuesday 71.4 percent (10 wins, 4 draws).
Sri Lanka Cricket’s chief curator Anuruddha
Polonowita defended the SSC pitch when he said the
high scoring was due to the bowling attack of both
teams being weak. He said a weak attack against two
sides with world class batsmen had no chance to
exploit the wicket.
Harbhajan Singh was the most experienced bowler in
that Test with 357 wickets from 85 Tests. The next
most experienced bowler was Dilhara Fernando with 89
wickets from 34 Tests.
Now the moot question is are Test match pitches
being prepared to last for five days so that the
sponsors and broadcasters get the maximum mileage.
For a pitch where there is seam and spin for
instance could result in the Test ending inside five
days which would cost the sponsors and broadcasters
The ICC now caught in a catch-22 situation where
they are struggling to make the UDRS (Umpires
Decision Review System) mandatory for all Test
matches will have another problem on their hands
with broadcasters allegedly pushing for flatter
pitches in their eagerness to maximize revenue.
Will the ICC dare to take on the broadcasters and
sponsors whom they are dependent for the survival of