The first Test at Chittagong is drawn and it was evident from Day 1. Overall, the Chittagong track prepared by local curator Zahid Reza produced five days of dull cricket and deserves to be rated as poor by ICC.
At 3:20 pm local time, Mahmudullah Riyad and Dinesh Chandimal shook hands and called it a draw. And, with that, the painstaking first Test ended. Apart from some nervy moments gifted by the poor shot selection of Bangladesh batsmen in the final session of Day 4 and second session of Day 5, the rest of the day only witnessed a hard toil for the bowlers. The track was like a road which offered absolutely nothing for the bowlers and only let the batsmen reach personal milestones.
The Bangladeshi and Sri Lankan batsmen scored heavily and easily on this track. Mominul Haque, Dhananjaya de Silva, Kusal Mendis and Roshen Silva cashed in big time to notch up hundreds while the likes of Dinesh Chandimal, Tamim Iqbal, Mushfiqur Rahim and Liton Das had to regret not getting a hundred on this easy deck. Meanwhile, Dimuth Karunaratne would be kicking himself for not opening his account on this deck.
Mominul Haque has become the first Bangladesh batsman to notch up tons in both innings of the same Test. A nice feat to cherish, but I wish he achieved such on a more testing track. Still, Mominul’s problem with the back lift persist. The bat is still not coming straight, but from third slip and gully – a technical chink, which might trouble him on challenging tracks.
You can shower all the praises on Mominul and keep bashing Chandika Hathurusingha, but as a matter of fact, there is nothing to celebrate about such feats on such a dead deck.
The first Test at Chittagong was an absolute poor advertisement for Test cricket. In five days, it only killed Test cricket each second and each minute. The local curator Zahid Reza prepared a wicket which could only fetch 24 wickets in five days at the cost of 1533 runs.
Now let us know about how the International Cricket Council (ICC) rates pitches and deems them unfit to play on. There are certain conditions that the ICC has laid out in order for a pitch to meet their requirements. They are listed below:
The objective of a Test pitch shall be to allow all the individual skills of the game to be demonstrated by the players at various stages of the match. If anything, the balance of the contest between bat and ball in a Test match should slightly favour the bowling team,
A pitch should be expected to deteriorate as the match progresses, and as a consequence, the bounce could become more inconsistent, and the ball could deviate more (seam and spin) off the wearing surface.
The pitches can be rated:
Very Good: (if there is) Good carry, limited seam movement and consistent good bounce early in the match and as the pitch wears as the match progresses, with an acceptable amount of turn on the first two days but natural wear sufficient to be responsive to spin later in the game
Good: (if there is) Average carry, moderate seam movement and consistent bounce both early in the match and as the pitch wears as the match progresses, natural wear sufficient to be responsive to spin from day 1, though not quite meeting the criteria for carry and bounce for a “very good” pitch.
Average: (If it) Lacks carry, and/or bounce and/or occasional seam movement, but consistent in carry and bounce. A degree of turn, but with average bounce for the spinner. Falling significantly short of “very good” with respect to carry, bounce and turn.
Below Average: (If there is) Either very little carry and/or bounce and/or more than occasional seam movement, or occasional variable (but not excessive or dangerous) bounce and/or occasional variable carry. If a pitch demonstrates these features, then the pitch cannot be rated in a higher category regardless of the amount of turn the pitch displays at any stage of the match.
Poor: A Poor pitch is one that does not allow an even contest between bat and ball, either by favouring the batters too much, and not giving the bowlers (seam and spin) from either team sufficient opportunity to take wickets, or by favouring the bowlers too much (seam or spin), and not giving the batters from either team the opportunity to make runs. If any of the following criteria apply, a pitch may be rated “poor”:- The pitch offers excessive seam movement at any stage of the match- The pitch displays excessive unevenness of bounce for any bowler at any stage of the match- The pitch offers excessive assistance to spin bowlers, especially early in the match- The pitch displays little or no seam movement or turn at any stage in the match together with no significant bounce or carry, thereby depriving the bowlers of a fair contest between bat and ball.- The pitch offers excessive assistance to spin bowlers, especially early in the match
Unfit: A pitch may be rated ‘unfit’ if it is dangerous.
It is recognised that a limited amount of seam movement is acceptable early in the match and that a pitch may develop some unevenness of bounce for seam bowlers as the match progresses. This is acceptable, but should not develop to a point where they would be described as “excessive”.
It is acceptable for a pitch to offer some degree of turn on the first day of a match, particularly in the sub-continent, though anything more than occasional unevenness of bounce at this stage of the match is not acceptable. It is to be expected that a pitch will turn steadily more as a match progresses, and it is recognised that a greater degree of unevenness of bounce may develop.
It is impossible to quantify the amount that a ball is “allowed” to turn as bowlers will turn the ball differing amounts. The type and identity of bowler shall be taken into account when assessing this factor.
In no circumstances should the pitch ‘explode’.
Now, considering the ratings and their criteria given above, the track at Chittagong can be rated as poor. As because, there was hardly any contest between bat and ball. It favoured the batters too much and gave bowlers absolutely no opportunities. The bounce of the track was medium and got slower as the day progressed. The nature of the deck hardly changed in five days and gave no evidence of natural deterioration.
Last year, during the Boxing Day Test at Melbourne Cricket Ground, The ICC has officially put Cricket Australia (CA) on notice about the docile drop-in deck, which hardly broke up at all as Australia and England battled to a dull draw. It was the first time an Australian Test pitch has suffered the ignominy of being dubbed ‘poor’ by the sport’s global governing body.
They say day-3 is the moving day but this Test is moving nowhere. 317 runs today for the loss of 2 wickets. Match aggregate: 1017 runs for 13 wickets. 78.28 runs per wicket. #BDvSL
— Mazher Arshad (@MazherArshad) February 2, 2018
Like Chittagong, only 24 wickets fell at MCG in five days. Only 1081 runs in five days which ultimately killed the excitement of a Boxing Day Test. The ICC match referee did not even bother to think about the reputation of MCG and acted accordingly to report and the ICC rated the pitch of historic ground as poor.
If the track at Melbourne can be rated as poor, then why not the Chittagong one? The local curator has delivered a track similar to Bangladesh’s National Cricket League, which heavily favours the batsmen. Yes, the home team enjoys the benefits of home advantage, but that does not mean to dish out a deck which is harmful for Test cricket and also, there is no meaning to put the reputation of Bangladesh at stake.
To understand how smooth and easy is the pitch in Chittagong for batting and keeping, TRY THIS FACT!
Bangladesh's 513 yesterday was the first ever 500+ total in Test history without a leg-bye and bye. So far in this Test, 808 runs have been scored without byes. #BDvSL
— Mazher Arshad (@MazherArshad) February 2, 2018
Last week, Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) called up Gamini Silva to seek an explanation about the Mirpur track where Bangladesh lost the final of Tri-series. It was a track where there was no demon underneath, but Bangladesh’s defeat was more about their lack of temperament, still, fingers were pointed towards Gamini.
If BCB seeks an explanation from Gamini then why not Zahid?
Judgments should not be biased.
Preparing such tracks won’t help Bangladesh to improve. Bangladesh’s improvement in Test cricket in recent times has been due to the tracks which offered help for the bowlers. Bangladesh’s success on home soil against England and Australia in five-day matches were on turning tracks. Any critic would rate Tamim Iqbal’s hundred at Mirpur against England in 2016 than Mominul’s milestone at Chittagong against Sri Lanka.
For a team to improve in Test cricket, they need to shun playing on such dead decks. Preparing such decks only indicate, the team is afraid to lose and they found themselves at bay while touring abroad.
If Bangladesh think-tank and fans want the Tigers to improve, they should not support on playing such poor decks.