'Oval pitch was doctored'

Published: Sunday, August 23, 2009, 11:55 [IST]
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 'Oval pitch was doctored'

London: Former cricketers have criticized the curator of the pitch at the Oval for creating a surface solely for the purpose of ensuring a result in the fifth and final Ashes Test.

Oval Test-Scorecard

By the close of play on day two, 23 wickets had fallen and Australia trailed by 230 runs.

Former West Indies fast bowler Michael Holding was scathing in his assessment of the playing surface.

"I am very disappointed in this pitch. I have never been to The Oval and seen the ball going through the top (of the pitch) like this. Even on day one we have seen this. I played here back in 1976 - in one of the hottest summers ever in England - and it didn't play like this. It can't be the weather," Fox Sports quoted former West Indian fast bowler Michael Holding, as saying.

Scyld Berry, editor of cricket 'bible' Wisden, took aim at a pitch "as pale as a supermodel on an unhealthy diet".

The Oval has the reputation of being a wonderful batting strip. With consistent pace and bounce, it usually encourages attractive stroke play. It can also encourage high-scoring draws, which is just what England does not want.

Shane Warne offered the bluntest, simplest assessment, that groundsman Bill Gordon, had "overbaked it a little bit to make sure there is a result".


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