Indian cricket legend Virender Sehwag has joined the chorus of criticism of the Gabba’s pitch after Australia took less than two days to record a Test win over South Africa.
The 44-year-old swashbuckling opener – who would no doubt have struggled himself on the pitch in question despite his 49.34 career average – said the fact there wasn’t more criticism showed ‘mind-boggling hypocrisy’.
Just two players made half centuries across the two frenetic days of Test cricket, with 34 wickets falling and just 504 runs scored in Australia’s six-wicket win.
Aussie skipper Pat Cummins (left) and spinner Nathan Lyon (right) celebrate after getting one of their 20 wickets in less than two days of Test cricket at the Gabba
The Gabba’s VERY green pitch has come under fierce criticism in the cricketing world after the Test lasted just two days
Aussie greats and leading pundits like Mark Waugh, Ricky Pointing and Matthew Hayden were among others to slam the surface.
But it seems the criticism was not enough for Sehwag, who implied there was a hint of racism when the wolves come for the dusty pitches of India but not for Australia’s so-called ‘green mamba’ of a deck.
‘142 overs and not even lasting two days and they have the audacity to lecture on what kind of pitches are needed,’ the 104-Test veteran wrote on Twitter.
‘Had it happened in India, it would have been labelled end of test cricket, ruining test cricket and what not. The hypocrisy is mind-boggling.’
Iconic commentator and former Aussie Test star Kerry O’Keeffe forewarned the pitch itself may be the main talking point rather than the players, towards the end of Fox Cricket’s broadcast of the match.
‘I sense that the pitch is going to be the back page lead… I think that is the story – was it a suitable pitch for these two powerhouses to go at each other on such a green pitch?’ he asked his fellow callers.
Legendary South African allrounder Shaun Pollock replied that he didn’t think it was dangerous – but probably should have been better.
‘I think when it’s misbehaving as much as it is, the sideways movement I’m not overly worried about too much of that, it’s when it starts standing up too steeply or going through the top creating those little divots that you do feel that maybe the curator’s got it slightly wrong,’ he said.
Virender Sehwag salutes the crowd after scoring a century against Australia in 2004. The Indian legend claims there are double standards when it comes to criticising pitches in his native country
Indian pitches, typically dry, dusty and conducive to not much movement, often mean Test matches on the subcontinent heavily favour huge batting totals.
Conversely, bouncy Australian pitches typically favour strong bowling attacks, and both South Africa and Australia can claim to have those.
It’s not ever really been seen as better or worse, just different.
The Gabba pitch had a very green tinge for the two days of the Test, as 34 wickets fell in less than six sessions
Steep bounce and sideways movement made life tough for batters at the Gabba, including South African star Kyle Verreynne, who played and missed at this delivery
This pitch in Brisbane, though, has come in so much criticism that even curator David Sandurski has admitted he wished he did a better job.
‘The proof is in the pudding. The scorecards are there. You can’t deny it. It is obviously not good enough for a match of this magnitude,’ he told News Corp.
‘I am obviously disappointed. No-one wants to have a two day Test. All the signs in the preparation pointed towards it being a reasonable wicket. Two really good bowling line-ups have exposed every bit of that wicket that they could.’
Groundsmen work on the Gabba pitch after the end of the match. Even the curator has since admitted the wicket wasn’t quite up to scratch
It did make for entertaining cricket for the big Brisbane crowd, who lapped up all the action with their customary enthusiasm.
However, South Africa skipper Dean Elgar, who made just five runs in his two innings, claimed the track was dangerous.
‘You’ve got to ask yourself the question, is that a good advertisement for our format?,’ he told ABC Radio after the match.
‘I’m obviously a purist of this format, you want to see the game go four, five days.
‘I did ask the umpires: “How long does it go on for until it potentially is unsafe?” I don’t think it was a very good Test wicket,’ said Elgar.
Pat Cummins (left) celebrates the wicket of South African skipper Dean Elgar with Travis Head (number 62) on the second, and final, day of the Test in Brisbane
His Australian counterpart Pat Cummins refuted those suggestions, though it does bear mentioning he was able to take seven wickets for the game after some lethal spells.
‘I kind of don’t mind when the groundsman err on the greener side occasionally, I’ve played a lot of Test matches when they’ve erred on the flatter side so I think it was the same for both teams,’ he said after the match.
‘No way [was it dangerous], it was fine.’
Cummins’ point that curators often err of the side of creating batting paradise ties nicely in with Sehwag’s complaint.
Bowlers have toiled away on for many years on lifeless Indian pitches that result in either draws or huge batting totals – is one greentop at the Gabba really all that bad?