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When the pitch played spoilsport

Last updated on: December 27, 2009 20:47 IST

When the pitch played spoilsport

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The fifth and final One-Day International between Sri Lanka and India was abandoned after 23.3 overs on Sunday as the pitch at the Ferozeshah Kotla in Delhi was deemed too dangerous to play on.

Sri Lanka had toiled on the tricky surface to post 83 for 5, after being put in to bat in foggy conditions, before play was abandoned.

Tillakaratne Dilshan (20) suffered a painful blow on his left elbow off pacer Ashish Nehra but bravely carried on after treatment before he became spearhead fast bowler Zaheer Khan's second victim.

Sanath Jayasuriya (31), celebrating his 21st year in international cricket, was also hit on his finger as he fended at a delivery from debutant pacer Sudeep Tyagi as some deliveries shot up from a good length while others kept low.

India thus earned the dubious distinction of being involved in the only two abandoned One-day Internationals because of bad playing conditions. Earlier, against the same opposition, the second ODI of the series in Indore, on December 25, 1997, was called off after just 19 minutes of play.

Here's a look at matches abandoned due to poor pitch conditions.


Image: Tillakaratne Dilshan grimaces in pain after being hit by Ashish Nehra
Photographs: Reuters
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1st Test, West Indies v England, Kingston, January 29, 1998

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England (1st innings): 17-3

Play was suspended after 10.1 overs (56 minutes) after the batsmen were struck several times by balls that lifted dangerously off a length.

England physio Wayne Morton came on to the field six times to attend to the batsmen, hit by deliveries from Curtly Ambrose and Courtney Walsh though neither bowled exceptionally well by their standards.

Lengthy discussions ensued and after another 10 minutes, the players left the field. The match was abandoned an hour-and-a-half later.

An additional Test was scheduled from February 5-9 in Port-of-Spain.


Image: The Kingston pitch shows huge cracks

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1st Test, West Indies v England, North Sound, February 13, 2009

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England (1st innings): 7-0 (in 1.4 overs)

To the huge embarrassment of the West Indies Cricket Board, a Test match was abandoned for the second time in the Caribbeans, this time at the newly-developed Sir Vivian Richards stadium in Antigua.

Interestingly, England were made to have their pre-match practice on the old ground, Antigua Recreation Ground in St John's, and they did not have a chance to take a deep look at the wicket on newly-laid ground.

The match had to be abandoned after just ten deliveries, as the sand-based outfield was deemed a safety risk to the bowlers. Fidel Edwards flung the ball away in disgust after failing thrice successively as he entered on his delivery stride.

After a lengthy discussion between the captains, Chris Gayle and Andrew Strauss, and the on-field umpires, Daryl Harper and Tony Hill, ICC match referee Alan Hurst was left to make the difficult decision.

The run-ups were hastily dug immediately after the close, but it was a futile exercise. The only option available to the authorities was an outright abandonment.


Image: Groundsman dig up the bowler's run up at the Sir Vivian Richards stadium

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2nd ODI, India v Sri Lanka, Indore, December 25, 1997

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Sri Lanka: 17-1 in 3 overs.

For the first time an international match was called off because the pitch was adjudged unsafe. Both teams had been surprised by its dry and cracked look, but Sri Lanka batted, believing the pitch could only deteriorate with use.

They lost Kaluwitharana in the first over, and after off-spinner Chauhan bowled the second, Mahanama was hit on the knuckles by Srinath.

At the end of the third over, the batsmen appealed to umpire Porel, who immediately summoned referee Ahmed Ebrahim of Zimbabwe.

Play was suspended and, an hour later, called off, on the grounds that the pitch was crumbling so fast that batting was dangerous. Madhya Pradesh officials were upset with the haste of the decision, saying they had offered to prepare an alternative strip.


Image: India and Sri Lanka were involved in another abandoned ODI in Indore

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5th ODI, India v Sri Lanka, Delhi, December 27, 2009

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Sri Lanka: 83-5 in 23.3 overs

The match was abandoned after the Sri Lanka captain Kumar Sangakkara refused to continue their innings on a pitch with variable bounce.

And after a long discussion between umpires, captains and match referee Alan Hurst, the match was officially called off.

The Ferozeshah Kotla wicket had been in news for quite sometime since the Champions League matches in October to the match against Australia last month. Eyebrows were raised about its quality.

That no one from the DDCA gave it any consideration, resulted in this farce.


Image: Tillakaratne Dilshan was at the receiving end

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