While England was expecting a competitive red-ball contest against Pakistan in their first Test in the South Asian Country in 17 years, Englishmen were welcomed on a lifeless wicket at Rawalpindi. The first day of the first Test saw enough runs on the board to raise questions over the authenticity of the surface as it was exposed for the second time this year.
Earlier, Pakistan hosted Australia in a Test match series, and some 1,187 runs were scored for the loss of just 14 wickets as Pakistan and Australia played out a tame draw. A similar sight was visible months after on November 1 and 2 (Thursday), as visitors went on to accumulate 657-runs in the 1st innings at a rapid pace of 6.5 an over with four of its five top batters – Harry Brook, Zak Crawley, Ben Duckett and Ollie Pope – smashing centuries. In response, Pakistan openers - Abdullah Shafique (89*) and Imam-ul-Haq (90*) - also scored easy runs.
While the cricket fraternity started trolling Pakistan cricket for failing to produce a competitive surface while hosting some of the best teams in the world, Pakistan Cricket Board chief Ramiz Raja too appeared 'not-so-pleased' with the surface.
"We live in the dark ages of pitches in Pakistan. It's really embarrassing for us, especially if you have a cricketer as a chairman," he said to reporters.
"I think our way out is for drop-in-pitches. If you want to nail England, for example, we have got to prepare a drop-in pitch that turns from ball number one. It is better than having this hodge-podge where you get a half-baked pitch which is neither quick nor spin. I have never seen batting like England's one day one," the PCB Chief added.
Earlier, Rawalpindi was termed 'below average' by International Cricket Council match referee Ranjan Madugalle, who also awarded it a demerit point. A venue gets banned for 12 months if it accumulates five demerit points over five years. Notably, PCB Chief Ramiz Raja has brought in Australian specialist Damien Hough, who suggested the removal of drop-in pitches as a solution.