Star Australia National Cricket Team batter Marnus Labuschagne, who is the No.1 ranked batter in the ICC Men’s Test Batting Rankings, has stated that the pitch at The Gabba in Brisbane was “not ideal” for Test cricket.
The pitch produced for the first Test between Australia and South Africa provided a bit too much support to the bowlers. Overall, 34 wickets fell in less than 145 overs in the match. South Africa gave a small target of 34 to Australia and while chasing it down the Aussies lost four wickets inside 7 overs as the match got finished inside two days.
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Australia National Cricket Team captain Pat Cummins said that the surface at The Gabba was “fine” but Marnus Labuschagne has acknowledged the pitch was not up to the mark.
“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. But the reality is we’ve played on probably two of those in the last two years.”
It felt a bit like a Shield game – Marnus Labuschagne
Marnus Labuschagne further said that both Australia and South Africa have got top-quality bowling attacks and they demanded a better pitch.
“It felt a bit like a Shield game. We’ve seen a fair few wickets like that (at the Gabba), but obviously, you don’t have two sides with bowling attacks of four or five guys bowling over 150(km/h), that’s probably the difference.
“Test cricket is an endurance battle. Can the batter outlast the bowler? It’s a strategical game and obviously, when you play on a wicket like this it brings the match so close together.”
Marnus Labuschagne added that South Africa did a mistake by fielding a combination of four pacers and one spinner as there was no need for five proper bowlers on the Brisbane pitch.
“It becomes a little bit of a lottery about who gets the upper hand on a wicket like that. With such a good bowling attack, they sacrificed a little bit on their batting because they play the four quicks and a spinner. That played into our advantage this game because you probably didn’t need five bowlers on a wicket like that.”
Meanwhile, Australia National Cricket Team Test vice-captain Steve Smith labelled the pitch in the first Test as “probably the most challenging wicket” he has seen in Australia.
“It was like there were different areas of moisture on the wicket, so some balls were taking divots and going slow off the wicket, others were hitting harder parts of the wicket and zinging through,” Smith told cricket.com.au.
“So once those soft bits are hit, it creates some divots as well. You would’ve seen a lot of the balls that hit the divots and either shot low or took off, so as a batter it’s very difficult to play against.”