Tue, 31 Jan 2023

Dubai [UAE], January 23 (ANI): The demerit point handed to the Rawalpindi pitch after the first match of the ICC World Test Championship series between Pakistan and England has now been rescinded.

The decision was taken following an appeal from the Pakistan Cricket Board. The Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium was given a 'below average' pitch rating after the first Test of the series in early December.

The Test saw some electrifying batting with England winning by 74 runs. Then PCB chairman Ramiz Raja had then labelled the pitch as 'embarrassing' and Andy Pycroft of the Emirates ICC Elite Panel of Match Referees agreed with his prognosis.'"It was a very flat pitch which gave almost no assistance to any type of bowler," Pycroft said as quoted by ICC.

"That was the main reason why batters scored very fast and both sides posted huge totals.""The pitch hardly deteriorated during the course of the match. Since there was very little in it for the bowlers, I found the pitch to be 'below average' as per the ICC guidelines," concluded Pycroft.

However, after reviewing the footage from the Test Match, the ICC appeal panel unanimously felt that the pitch had several 'redeeming features', which included the fact that a result was possible and that 37 out of 39 wickets were taken.

As a result, the appeal panel felt that the pitch did not deserve the 'below average' rating that was handed earlier.

Earlier, the demerit point accumulated had meant the venue was under threat of being suspended from hosting international cricket if it collected another demerit point. It being rescinded is a shot in the arm for the venue that has hosted 14 international matches across formats since 2019 when cricket returned to the country.

Coming to the Test, England had touched the 500-run mark on the very first day of the match, with Zak Crawley (122), Ben Duckett (107), Ollie Pope (108), Harry Brook (153) going on to make centuries that helped England put up 657 on the board in first innings.

Pakistan scored 579 runs in their first innings, with tons from Abdullah Shafique (114), Imam-ul-Haq (121) and skipper Babar Azam (136) coming in handy. They trailed by 78 runs.

England declared their third innings at 264/7 in just 35.5 overs, with Crawley, Joe Root and Harry Brook scoring fifties. They had a 342-run lead in the match.

Chasing 343, Pakistan was bundled out for 268 and the match went right into the final session. A half-century from Saud Shakeel could not prevent the loss as pacers James Anderson and Ollie Robinson made merry, taking four wickets each.

Pakistan had a dismal home season last year, which saw them fail to win a Test match at home. They lost 3-0 to England at home in Tests in December last year. Following this came losses in Tests (1-0) and ODIs (2-1) to New Zealand.

Pakistan's next assignment will be the home series consisting of five T20Is and five ODIs against New Zealand, starting from April 13 onwards. (ANI)

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