Dangerous pitch curtails India's final one-dayer

Physios see plenty of action as batsmen suffer on lottery of Delhi pitch yesterday
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The Independent Online

Match referee Alan Hurst described the wicket at the Feroz Shah Kotla ground in Delhi as "too dangerous" after the fifth and final one-day international between India and Sri Lanka was abandoned yesterday.

A switch to a second pitch was also deemed "impractical" after play was halted midway through Sri Lanka's innings. The Board of Control for Cricket in India reacted quickly by disbanding its Grounds and Pitches Committee.

The tourists were put in to bat on a surface that had an uneven sprinkling of grass on it, and they were 83 for 5 after 23.3 overs when match officials decided the pitch was too treacherous for play to continue.

Things came to a head when a delivery from debutant Sudeep Tyagi again took off from a good length and flew well over Thilina Kandamby's head, wicketkeeper Mahendra Singh Dhoni only managing to collect with a timely leap.

Earlier, Tillakaratne Dilshan was rapped on the elbow by a delivery from Ashish Nehra that took off from a good length, resulting in a delay in proceedings as he received treatment. Sanath Jayasuriya was also hit on the gloves by a delivery and play was stopped again as he was tended to by the physio.

Following a midfield conference between Sri Lanka captain Kumar Sangakkara, his India counterpart Mahendra Singh Dhoni, the on-field umpires and match referee Hurst, play was temporarily suspended. The officials, who were joined by members of the staging association, headed for the pavilion for a closed-room discussion before the match was eventually called off, meaning India won the five-match series 3-1.

Hurst said in an International Cricket Council statement: "The decision to abandon the match was taken by myself, in consultation with the on-field umpires Marais Erasmus and Shavir Tarapore, and both captains as it was clear that the pitch had extremely variable bounce and was too dangerous for further play."