South Africa captain Dean Elgar said he asked the umpires if the green Gabba wicket was unsafe for playing after his team crumbled and suffered a six-wicket loss to Australia within two days in the first test on Sunday.
South Africa were bowled out for 152 in the first innings at the formerly-named Brisbane Cricket Ground. They were then routed for 99 shortly after tea on day two, leaving Australia needing just 34 runs for a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.
The state of the pitch, which played into the home bowlers’ hands, raised questions after 19 wickets fell on day two and 15 on day one.
“You’ve got to ask yourself if that’s a good advertisement for our format. 34 wickets in two days, pretty one-sided affair I would say,” the Proteas captain told reporters. “I don’t think it was a very good test wicket, no.”
The wicket, which was so green it was indiscernible from the outfield on day one, quickened on day two and became pock-marked with divots as the match wore on.
“I did ask the umpires when KG (Kagiso Rabada) got hit at down leg. I said how long does it go on for until it’s potentially unsafe?” added Elgar.
“I know the game was dead and buried. It was never to try and change or put a halt to the game, no doubt. But I don’t know, that’s obviously where the umpire’s discretion comes into play, not us as players.”
Australia were 24-4 when Rabada claimed four quick wickets but Marnus Labuschagne (five not out) and a scoreless Cameron Green survived as they saw out the win.
Elgar felt there could have been a different outcome had South Africa set Australia another 60 runs to chase.
“I’m still trying to wrap my brain around what’s happened the last two days,” he added.
The Gabba has long been a fortress for Australia, who have lost just once at the ground since 1988. South Africa have now failed to win a test at the Gabba in five attempts.
The teams will meet next at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Boxing Day for the second test.