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Page last updated at 08:44 GMT, Sunday, 27 December 2009

India-Sri Lanka one-dayer abandoned due to poor pitch

India v Sri Lanka: Fifth one-day international, Delhi
Match scorecard

India's Gautam Gambhir discusses the pitch with Sri Lankan batsmen Sanath Jayasuriya and Thilan Thushara
India's Gambhir discusses the pitch with two Sri Lankan batsmen

The final one-day international between India and Sri Lanka was called off because of unfit playing conditions at the Feroz Shah Kotla ground in Delhi.

Sri Lanka, sent in to bat, were 83-5 in the 24th over when the umpires stopped play with officials deeming the surface too treacherous for play to continue.

Australian match referee Alan Hurst called off the game after discussions with the umpires and local officials.

The match was academic as India held an unassailable 3-1 lead in the series.

The game came to a head after a ball from debutant India seamer Sudeep Tyagi bounced alarmingly before going head-high to wicketkeeper Mahendra Dhoni.

And following a conference, Sri Lanka captain Kumar Sangakkara and India counterpart Dhoni approached umpires Marais Erasmus and Shavir Tarapore, who agreed to call the game off.

The square had been relaid in April but came in for fierce criticism during both the Champions League and the one-day series against Australia because of its low bounce.


The groundsman had attempted to remedy the situation by binding it with winter grass in time for this game but only succeeded in making matters worse.

As the Delhi and District Cricket Association apologised to spectators, some of whom smashed seats in their fury, and promised to refund all paying ticket-holders, former Indian captains queued up to criticise organisers.

Dilip Vengsarkar, also a former chief selector, laid the blame with the Board of Control for Cricket in India pitch committee and called for the board to react swiftly.

"It is a shameful incident that this kind of pitch is prepared for an international match. [The] BCCI pitch committee must be held responsible and [the] DDCA have to answer a lot of questions. [The] BCCI should take quick action, that is important," he said.

Sunil Gavaskar, who was at the venue, said: "There were tufts of grass on the pitch. Playing was dangerous, and physical safety of the players is important. The ball was rising from the good length, which is quite dangerous."

Former fast bowler Hurst, who played 12 Tests for Australia in the 1970s, and refereed his first Test in 2004, said in a statement: "It was clear that the pitch had extremely variable bounce and was too dangerous for further play.

"I'd like to commend the on-field umpires and captains for continuing as long as they did in the hope that the pitch may settle down. Unfortunately, this did not happen.

"Before abandoning the match, consideration was given to shifting the match to a secondary pitch. However, it was deemed impractical as the secondary pitch was not adequately prepared."

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see also
Century duo seal series for India
24 Dec 09 |  Cricket
Sri Lanka in India 2009
28 Nov 09 |  Cricket

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