DUBAI: Further merit has been added to Steve Smith’s hundred in Pune after the ICC officially reported the Pune pitch as unacceptable. India has been put on notice for the “poor” condition of the wicket and the BCCI is now under intense pressure not to prepare another rank turner for the rest of this series. It’s an embarrassing turn of events for the BCCI, who have not only been exposed for their pitch doctoring ways, but have copped a taste of their own medicine. India’s attempts to order a turning pitch in Pune backfired spectacularly, with Virat Kohli and their batsmen becoming victims of the BCCI’s own attempts to control conditions and undermine their opposition. All eyes will be on the Bangalore wicket for the second Test, which will be unveiled to both teams later today. The ICC last night announced that match referee Chris Broad had lodged a rating of “poor” for the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Pune, expressing concern over the quality of the pitch. Indian officials now have 14 days to respond to the notice, but a heavy fine is likely.
Australian captain Smith was shocked when he first caught sight of the Pune wicket and his fears were reinforced by commentators led by Shane Warne who labelled the surface as resembling an “eighth-day” pitch. Now the ICC has officially confirmed Smith’s fears. But despite the almost unplayable nature of the surface, Smith managed to score an 18th Test hundred which effectively sealed the match for Australia. Smith’s second innings ton outscored the two totals Indian batsmen were able to put together in the match. Australia are preparing for a much flatter pitch in Bangalore which is expected to favour India because spinners Nathan Lyon and Steve O’Keefe will be forced to work even harder for their wickets. However, reverse swing is expected to become a major factor bringing Australian pacemen Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Mitchell Marsh into the game.