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ICC clarifies choice of SL-NZ pitch

"The reason the same pitch is being used is because it played well during the quarterfinal," the ICC spokesman said.

Trevor Chesterfield |March 28, 2011, 4:52 PM IST
ICC clarifies choice of SL-NZ pitch

Colombo: It is not so much a complaint as a surprise. New Zealand captain Daniel Vettori, however, has queried the use of the quarterfinal pitch for the World Cup semi-final on Tuesday against host team Sri Lanka.

There is of course a simple reason, as explained by an International Cricket Council (ICC) spokesman James Fitzgerald who is handling media queries.

"The reason the same pitch is being used is because it played well during the quarterfinal," he said. "It was evenly paced and the decision was made to play the game on a surface which would make for a good contest."

Which is fair enough as it is, after all, an ICC tournament and they would want to have a pitch where the there was good bounce and pace, if a tad slow. It was noticeable how the surface was "stopping" during part of the England innings and it is a tribute to Sri Lanka's bowling as well as their general ground-fielding, despite dropped catches and some clumsy inner circle efforts.

While Sri Lanka's captain, Kumar Sangakkara made no comment on the pitch, Vettori commented how he found it, "Pretty surprising that we are playing on the same pitch (used for the quarterfinal) which is being used for a semi final."

Vettori added how, "It is the fact that it is a used surface that may allow us to play a third spinner."

More interesting in the Sri Lanka camp is the fitness issue of Muttiah Muralitharan, whether he will play or "rested for the final" which assumes already that Sri Lanka will meet either India or Pakistan in the final.

Asanka Gurusinghe, a member of the 1996 World Cup winning side, suggests in a comment in the Monday issue of The Island "So that he would be fully fit to play in Saturday's final (if Sri Lanka go through).

"I guess we could beat New Zealand without Murali," he is quoted as saying. "I don't know whether that's an overstatement, but Murali will be vital against India or Pakistan, who play spin well.

"I don't know about the injury too much, but I don't think he's going to be fit in two days to play the semi-final. He was really struggling the other day (against England). The umpires aren't going to permit a substitute either, if something happens and we'll be really struggling. New Zealand will make sure that they tell the match referee (Chris Broad) and umpires that in case he aggravates the injury, a substitute should not be allowed," Gurusinghe added.

Team Rankings

Rank Team Points Rating
1 India 5046 120
2 New Zealand 3241 112
3 South Africa 3177 102
4 England 4593 102
5 Australia 3672 102
see more
Rank Team Points Rating
1 England 6745 125
2 India 7364 121
3 New Zealand 4837 112
4 Australia 5543 111
5 South Africa 5193 110
see more
Rank Team Points Rating
1 Pakistan 8366 270
2 Australia 6986 269
3 England 5568 265
4 South Africa 4720 262
5 India 10071 258
see more