Glamorgan's Royal London One-Day Cup match with Hampshire at Cardiff was called off yesterday by the umpires after it was deemed that the pitch was too dangerous to continue.
Glamorgan made a respectable 183 in their 50 overs with Colin Ingram top scoring with 51 and the main threat coming from Hampshire’s spinners with all-rounder Liam Dawson, youngster Mason Crane and batsman-turned off spinner Will Smith gaining huge amounts of turn from the surface, taking six wickets between them.
Similarly to the first Ashes test match at the same venue, the Hampshire seamers also bowled a lot of balls which kept surprisingly low.
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Before Hampshire started batting, the pitch was two-paced, uneven and with a lot of turn for the spinners but it only seemed to get worse and worse from that point onwards.
There were three deliveries in particular which really stood out as being dangerous in the Hampshire innings.
Michael Carberry twice facing bouncers from Michael Hogan which hit him right in the gap between the helmet and the grille, drawing uncomfortable comparisons to the ball which ended former Somerset and England wicketkeeper-batsman Craig Kieswetter’s career.
In that instance a bouncer from Northamptonshire’s David Willey was able to go through the gap in his helmet and break his nose, damage his cheekbone and his eye socket.
Luckily for Carberry both deliveries were unable to do the same and it seemed as though they were simply a rogue ball which had just misbehaved.
However not long after, his opening partner Jimmy Adams also faced a ball from Hogan which was not as short as the ones to Carberry but still leapt up at him off the pitch, knocking off one of the extra protective guards on the helmet which have only recently been introduced following the tragic death of Philip Hughes.
That was to be the final ball bowled in the match as the umpires Neil Mallendar and Paul Baldwin consulted with the two captains, James Vince of Hampshire and Jacques Rudolph of Glamorgan, as well as cricket liaison officer Tony Pigott and decided that the match had to be abandoned in order to prevent someone getting seriously injured.
It is not the first time that Glamorgan have been involved in a game with a sub-standard pitch.
They were docked two points going into this year’s competition by the ECB Pitch Panel because of what was deemed a ‘poor’ pitch played on in a 52 run defeat to Durham in last season's edition of the One Day Cup.
Glamorgan head coach Toby Radford gave his assessment of the pitch following that game in 2014.
“Some of the balls were lifting up and hitting the batsmen on the shoulders and others were staying down and hitting them on the shins. There was a lot of uneven bounce and seam movement and it was hard for batters to survive.”
Rudolph told Sky Sports: “We felt quite strongly that [the pitch] was becoming quite dangerous and I think in the end they made the right decision”.
Vince also agreed with the decision saying “it was probably the right call and luckily someone didn’t get hurt badly.”
Hugh Morris, Glamorgan’s Chief Executive, also stated that the umpires were “absolutely right” in their decision before going on to say: “This was a fresh pitch last Friday [when Essex played Glamorgan] . . . and the pitch was marked above average. It is not unusual for us to use a pitch twice in quite quick succession. It looked quite dry today but certainly gave no indication that it was going to play the way it did.”
Shaun Udal gave his thoughts saying: “as there was more sun on [the pitch], it has dried out more and obviously got a bit more dangerous”, going on to call the deliveries which hit Carberry and Adams “dreadful”.
Overall, it is incredibly disappointing that a situation like this has occurred in first class professional cricket, especially at a test match ground which hosted an Ashes match.
Hopefully the resulting enquiry will be able to find out why the pitch played like it did and find a way for groundsman Keith Exton to be able to combat this and produce good cricket wickets which have enough for both batsman and bowler and result in exciting games of cricket where no one will be in any danger.