The outfield was cleared by the ICC’s independent pitch consultant Andy Atkinson and match referee Javagal Srinath before this game, and was rated “average” for Bangladesh’s win over Afghanistan despite Jonathan Trott’s comments that Mujeeb Ur Rahman had been “lucky” to avoid a serious injury when his knee jammed into the soft, sand-based turf.
Players on both sides were cautious when fielding in the deep during England’s 137-run victory on Tuesday, with some deep fielders opting to escort balls to the boundary rather than diving and risking injury. England’s coaches advised players to be careful in the deep, despite their usual desire for fielders to chase every ball to the boundary.
Dharamsala is due to stage three more games in this tournament – Netherlands vs South Africa (on October 17), India vs New Zealand (October 22) and Australia vs New Zealand (October 28) – and Curran suggested that England’s players are thankful that they will not be involved in any of them.
“It was pretty bad,” Curran said. “We’re pretty happy to get through that game without any injuries – both teams, I think. That’s pretty important, and we don’t have to come back here.” Instead, they will travel to Delhi ahead of a fixture against Afghanistan on Sunday.
Curran played in Dharamsala earlier this year for Punjab Kings, but the outfield’s condition has worsened significantly since due to rain. “Hopefully, the outfield does get better: it’s not very nice, what’s happened to it,” he said. “But I thought the wicket was really good. Luckily, we’re all fit, and will move onto Delhi.”
He confirmed that England’s players had been discouraged from diving: “[The message] was just ‘be careful’ and you saw when Bangladesh fielded, they were pretty careful as well. Nobody wants to see anyone get injured and luckily, there weren’t too many balls we had to sprint after… we’re just pretty happy that no-one’s injured coming into the next game.”
Fast bowlers on both sides reported difficult conditions in their run-ups, with Reece Topley shortening his in order to combat the soft turf. “The legs are a bit heavier than normal on this outfield, for sure,” Topley told Sky Sports. “Running in to bowl, you barely felt like you were making it to the crease.
“I actually had to shorten my run-up as I was getting no distance in each stride, to be honest,” he explained. “But it was a unique challenge at this ground, and we responded in the right way. Jos told us to get on with it, so we did.”
Bangladesh’s Taskin Ahmed said that he had found conditions “tough” under foot: “The outfield was soft. It was tough to run here. Everyone felt that we were a little off-balance, or slipping in the run-up. But the conditions weren’t in our control, so we can’t make it an excuse: we should have adjusted better.”