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ICC rates Wanderers pitch 'poor'

Johannesburg venue the latest to receive substandard rating following third Test between South Africa and India

South Africa's Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg has received a 'poor' rating from the ICC for the pitch prepared for the third Test between the Proteas and India last week.

The surface received widespread condemnation throughout the Test from both players and commentators, and ultimately the ICC handed the venue three demerit points alongside the poor rating.

The demerit points will remain active for a rolling five-year period and if during this five-year period the Wanderers Stadium reaches the threshold of five demerit points, then it will be suspended from staging any international cricket for 12 months.

Stumps called early on 'dangerous' Wanderers pitch

"The pitch prepared for the final Test was a poor one," said ICC match referee Andy Pycroft. "It had excessively steep and unpredictable bounce, and excessive seam movement.

"It deteriorated quickly as the match progressed, which made batting extremely difficult and hazardous, resulting in the medical staff from both the sides having to come onto the field of play multiple times to treat their batsmen.

"As the on-field umpires are also responsible for the players' safety, they expressed concerns about the behavior of the pitch, and debated after day three if it was appropriate to continue the match.

"In the end, the umpires made the decision to continue and the Test reached its natural conclusion on day four. However, there was still excessive variable bounce and seam movement when the Test match ended."

India conquer SA to secure No.1 ranking

South African batsman Dean Elgar said the pitch was a "freak" that posed physical danger and could have caused serious injury or even death.

After battling for close on six hours to make 86 not out in South Africa's 63-run defeat, Elgar said the umpires would have been justified in calling off the match when several balls behaved unpredictably on day four.

Referring to the incident that led to the death of Australian batsman Phillip Hughes in 2014, the opening batsman said: "We had an incident of being hit in the head, where we could have had an incident of what happened in Australia. People want to watch Test cricket but we are also human beings – the situation could have been addressed earlier."

Qantas tour of South Africa

Australia squad: Steve Smith (c), David Warner (vc), Cameron Bancroft, Jackson Bird, Pat Cummins, Peter Handscomb, Josh Hazlewood, Jon Holland, Usman Khawaja, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Marsh, Shaun Marsh, Tim Paine, Jhye Richardson, Mitchell Starc.

Warm-up match v SA Invitational XI, Sahara Park, Benoni, Feb 22-24

First Test Kingsmead, Durban, March 1-5

Second Test St George's Park, Port Elizabeth, March 9-13

Third Test Newlands, Cape Town, March 22-26

Fourth Test Wanderers, Johannesburg, March 30-April 3

Visit cricket.com.au/travel for more information