Colombo, Oct 7 (IANS): Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) has been officially warned by the International Cricket Council (ICC) for preparing a poor quality pitch for the first Test between Sri Lanka and Australia at Galle Aug 21-Sep 4.
The ICC's pitch consultant Andy Atkinson will now carry out an inspection of the square at the end of this month and make recommendations on any corrective action that may be required.
SLC, in turn, is to submit a report to the ICC confirming that the corrective action, as advised by Atkinson, had been carried out prior to the staging of the next international match at the venue.
"We have come to a decision that the pitch prepared for the match should be rated as 'poor'," ICC's general manager-cricket, David Richardson Richardson said in a statement.
"It was clear from the video footage of the match that the amount of turn, especially early in the match, was excessive and there were occasions (even on the first day) where the ball went through the surface of the pitch, bouncing unusually steeply from a good length.
"Whilst it is understandable and acceptable for a pitch to deteriorate over the course of the match, for a pitch to exhibit this type of behavior at relatively early stages of the match was not acceptable. Whilst we do not wish to see a pitch that is too heavily weighted in favour of the batsmen, in this instance, the balance was just too much in favour of the bowler."
Richardson said since it is for the first time Galle pitch has been rated "poor", it was being let off with a warning.
"Taking into account that it was the first time that a pitch at Galle has been rated as "poor" and given the intention of the curator to prepare a pitch that provided a fair balance between the bat and ball, we have decided to impose a warning as the sanction," he said.
ICC match referee Chris Broad had submitted a report to the ICC expressing his concerns over the quality of the pitch prepared for the match that Australia won by 125 runs.
Richardson and the ICC's chief match referee Ranjan Madugalle then considered the match referee's report, a response from SLC and the video footage of the match, before passing judgment.
The ICC had the power to impose a sanction ranging from a warning and/or fine (for a first offence) to a suspension of the international status of the venue in the case of repeated offences.