South Africa vs India 2024
South Africa vs India 2024 Credits: Twitter

The International Cricket Council (ICC), on Tuesday (January 9), delivered its verdict on the Newlands pitch after the second Test between South Africa and India ended inside two days.

The first match of the series was held at the SuperSport Park in Centurion. South Africa won the series-opener by an innings and 32 runs before suffering a crushing loss in the second and final Test at the Newlands. Team India registered the quickest victory in the history of Test cricket to become the first Asian team to win a Test in Cape Town.

The match was completed in just 642 balls, the shortest-ever completed Test, beating Australia’s 656-ball victory over South Africa in 1932. The win also helped Team India to level the two-match series. South Africa’s stand-in captain Dean Elgar decided to bat first after winning the toss and it did not take him long to regret the call. India bowled out South Africa for a paltry total of 55 runs with Mohammed Siraj taking 6 wickets for just 15 runs.

In reply, India were comfortably placed at 153 for 4 before losing six wickets for the addition of no runs, the first time that happened in 147 years of red-ball cricket. In the second innings, Aiden Markram scored a stunning counterattacking century for South Africa but could not guide them to a winning total as they were bowled out for 176. India then chased down the target of 79 with ease to earn a famous draw.

ICC delivers verdict on Newlands pitch:

The Newlands pitch came under severe scrutiny after the second SA vs IND Test ended inside two days. And the ICC has now rated the Newlands pitch ‘Unsatisfactory’. According to a statement from the governing body of the game, ICC Match Referee Chris Broad submitted his report, which expressed the concerns of the match officials.

“The pitch in Newlands was very difficult to bat on,” Broad said. “The ball bounced quickly and sometimes alarmingly throughout the match, making it difficult to play shots. Several batters were hit on the gloves and many wickets also fell due to the awkward bounce.”

The venues receive one demerit point if their pitches and outfields are rated by the match referee as unsatisfactory. If a venue reaches six demerit points, it is suspended from hosting any international cricket for 12 months. The penalty is 24 months in case of 12 demerit points. These points remain active for a rolling five-year period.