Colombo, September 7 (AFP): Sri Lanka’s cricket chief insisted on Wednesday there was nothing wrong with the controversial wicket used in the first Test against Australia in Galle, saying no one got hurt.
“In my opinion, the pitch was not dangerous. Nobody got hurt,” Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) chairman Upali Dharmadasa told AFP. “But we hope to start an inquiry next week.”
The International Cricket Council (ICC) this week ordered a probe into the dry, dusty track and asked the SLC for an explanation after match referee Chris Broad described it as a poor pitch.
ICC General Manager (cricket) David Richardson and chief match referee Ranjan Madugalle will consider the evidence, including video footage and Sri Lanka Cricket’s submissions, before reaching their decision.
Australia won the Test by 125 runs last week, which saw 40 wickets fall in under four days, 16 of them on the second day.
Dharmadasa brushed aside criticism of the pitch, saying over 800 runs were scored in the match, with Sri Lanka’s Mahela Jayawardene making 105 and Australia’s Mike Hussey a defiant 95.
“We had one batsman score a century on the last day and another one score 95, so how can the wicket be blamed?” he asked.
“It was due to bad batting that Sri Lanka were bowled out for 105 in the first innings.”
Meanwhile, Sri Lanka’s now-retired world bowling record holder Muttiah Muralitharan said a better wicket should have been prepared for the first Test, where the team batting first held the advantage.
“It was like everything depended on the toss,” Muralitharan told the Colombo-based Island newspaper on Wednesday.
“I thought it backfired in the end.”
The second Test of the three-match series, Australia’s first in Sri Lanka since 2004, starts in Pallekele on Thursday.