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KARACHI: Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium’s pitch, where the first Test between Pakistan and Australia ended in a tame draw on Tuesday, has officially been rated “below average” by the match referee and given a demerit point.

In all, 1,187 runs were scored for the loss of only 14 wickets in the Test, as bowlers toiled and batters dominated on a lifeless flat track.

“The character of the pitch hardly changed over the course of five days,” match referee Ranjan Madugalle said in his report.

“There has been no deterioration apart from the bounce getting slightly lower. In my view, this does not represent an even contest between bat and ball.”

Madugalle added: “In keeping with the ICC guidelines I rate this pitch as below average.”

Fans and commentators said the lifeless pitch spoiled Australia’s first Test in Pakistan for 24 years, after the team had previously declined to visit on security grounds.

Under ICC rules, demerit points remain active for a rolling five-year period and if a venue accumulates five it is suspended from hosting international cricket for a year.

Australia open to hosting series with Pakistan and India: Cricket Australia

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) accepted the admonishment and said a “massive project” was already underway to improve the country’s Test pitches.

“This is the first time any Pakistan venue has received a demerit point,” the board said in a statement.

“The PCB remains confident and optimistic that we will not only see good contests in the Karachi and Lahore Tests, but in all future international matches as well.”

The second Test in the three-match Australia series starts in Karachi on Saturday.

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