Groundskeeper responsible for ‘dangerous’ Gabba wicket admits the deck was NOT good enough for Test cricket – and Marnus Labuschagne agrees
Gabba curator David Sandurski has admitted the surface in Brisbane was not up to scratch with the requirements of Test cricket, after 36 wickets fell in under six sessions.
South Africa were bowled out for 152 on Day One of the first Test on Sunday and were then skittled for 99 shortly after tea on Day Two, leaving Australia needing 34 to win and take a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.
The Aussies, however, still lost four wickets in the second digs, with Kagiso Rabada taking 4-13 to remove David Warner, Usman Khawaja, Steve Smith and Head.
The pitch at the Gabba came under scrutiny after 34 wickets fell in just two days of play
With just 144.2 overs bowled across the four innings, the Test and was the first on Australian soil to end within two days since the West Indies were routed in Melbourne in 1931.
‘The proof is in the pudding,’ he told News Corp.
‘The scorecards are there. You can’t deny it. It is obviously not good enough for a match of this magnitude.
‘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.
Gabba curator David Sandurski admitted the surface in Brisbane was not up to scratch
‘Two really good bowling line-ups have exposed every bit of that wicket that they could.’
Marnus Labuschagne, whose five not out in the second innings helped Australia over the line, admitted the deck at the Gabba was far from ideal for Test cricket.
‘I think everyone understands that this is not what we want, that’s not the ideal scenario,’ he told SEN.
‘We love the pace of the wicket, we love the bounce, we love two fast bowling attacks going at it, but if we’re going to finish in under two days it’s obviously not ideal for Test cricket.’
Marnus Labuschagne said the wicket in Brisbane was not ideal for Test cricket
Labuschagne (left) and Cameron Green (right) eventually saw the Aussies home after the hosts lost four wickets in their second innings while chasing just 34 to win
South Africa captain Dean Elgar, who faced a total of 14 balls across his two innings for a combined score of five, lambasted the surface as a poor advertisement for Test cricket.
‘You’ve got to ask yourself the question, is that a good advertisement for our format?,’ he told ABC.
‘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.’
Steve Smith, who made 36 and 6, described the surface as ‘the most challenging wicket I’ve seen in Australia’.
South Africa skipper Dean Elgar felt the surface could become dangerous for players
But Australia skipper Pat Cummins insisted the pitch ‘was fine’, although he conceded the short-lived nature of the contest was not ideal.
‘It was certainly tricky,’ he said.
‘I don’t think the toss had a big factor in the win because everything happened so quickly. Two days probably isn’t ideal. […] No way [was it dangerous], it was fine.’