India-England T20 series goes behind closed doors due to rise in COVID-19 cases

The three remaining Twenty20 matches between India and England in Ahmedabad will be held behind closed doors due to a rise in COVID-19 cases in Gujarat, the state’s cricket association said on Monday.

A sizeable crowd attended the world’s biggest cricket stadium for the first two matches of the series, with most fans in the stands not wearing masks.

Virat Kohli plays a shot during Sunday’s T20 clash with England.Credit:Getty

The series is tied at 1-1 and the final three games of the five-match series will be played on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.

Dhanraj Nathwani, vice-president of the GCA, said on Twitter that fans who have bought tickets for the three matches would get a refund and urged those who received complimentary tickets to stay away.

England won the first match by eight wickets while India won the second by seven wickets.

Joe Root criticised the pitch after England’s two-day Test defeat in Ahmedabad.Credit:Getty

Meanwhile, the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad has avoided being hit with demerit points after the pitch for the pink-ball Test between India and England was rated as “average” despite the match lasting only two days.

Venues can be suspended for a year if they pick up five demerit points and for two years if they pick up 10.

A “below average” rating by the International Cricket Council’s match referee brings one point, a “poor” rating brings three while the lowest rating of “unfit” comes with five.

Demerit points remain active for a rolling five years.

India won the third Test inside two days after 30 wickets tumbled in five sessions on a turning track at the new stadium, which is the world’s biggest cricket venue with a capacity of seating 132,000 people.

Former India fast bowler Javagal Srinath was the match referee for the four-match series, which the hosts won 3-1.

England collapsed for 81 in their second innings, and neither side reached 150 runs in what was the shortest completed Test match since 1935.

Several former England players and pundits questioned the suitability of the pitch while their Indian counterparts said the poor batting was due to the pink ball, which replaces the traditional red balls for day-night Test matches.

The pitch for the second test at Chennai’s MA Chidambaram Stadium, which assisted spinners from the first session and ended on the fourth day when India sealed a 317-run win, also earned an “average” rating.

Chennai’s pitch for the opening test, which saw an England victory, was rated “very good” while the playing surface for the fourth and final match in Ahmedabad was marked “good”.


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