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Pitch tampering 'a misunderstanding': Lloyd

Repairs illegally made to the pitch for the first Test between New Zealand and South Africa occurred because of a misunderstanding.

india Updated: Mar 12, 2004 12:17 IST

Repairs illegally made to the pitch for the first cricket Test between New Zealand and South Africa occurred because of a misunderstanding between officials and groundstaff, match referee Clive Lloyd said on Friday.

In a four-paragraph statement, Lloyd said "miscommunication" between the ICC "playing control team" and groundstaff led to several loose pieces of turf being fixed with glue before the start of the third day's play.

"The condition of the pitch should not be artificially altered during the match," Lloyd said.

"Before the start of play today, I instructed that the pitch be returned to the condition it was in at the close of play last night."

Lloyd said turf manager or chief groundsman Karl Johnson had misunderstood instructions conveyed to him by match officials after the close of the second day's play.

"There was some miscommunication between the ICC playing control team and the turf manager at the close of play yesterday," he said.

"As a result the turf manager believed he had been instructed to secure several loose pieces of turf back in place."

The loose section of turf was in an area highlighted Thursday when South African fast bowler Andre Nel was cautioned by umpire Russell Tiffin for running on the pitch.

Tiffin, of Zimbabwe, issued his warning after only the second ball of Nel's first over when a small piece of turf, on a good length and near the stumps, appeared to have become dislodged.

Lloyd specified in his statement that neither New Zealand Cricket, nor the New Zealand team had any involvement in the decision to repair the pitch.

First Published: Mar 12, 2004 12:17 IST