Mohammad Hafeez has criticised the pitch used for the opening Test of Pakistan’s three-match home series against Australia.

The series has been highly anticipated. This is the first time Australia have travelled to Pakistan for a Test series in 24 years and Australia are only the fourth side to tour Pakistan for a Test series since the return of international cricket in the country.

The first two days of play have been attritional. On a slow surface, Pakistan declared on 476-4 after 162 overs – a run rate of less than three per over – with Imam-ul-Haq and Azhar Ali both compiling big hundreds. Bad light on the second evening meant that Australia have faced just the solitary over so far in their response.

Of the four wickets, three are arguably down to batter error rather than anything forced through by the bowlers. Babar Azam was run out by Marnus Labuschagne for 36, Abdullah Shafique was caught trying to hit Nathan Lyon into the stands and Azhar was out attempting to reverse-sweep Labuschagne.

On Twitter, Hafeez, who last played Test cricket in 2018, lamented the quality of the surface. He wrote: “Slow & dead pitch.. above all low intent so far fading out chances of result in this historic test [sic] match. One team have to play very poorly to give a result in this test match. Result oriented cricket is the future of Test cricket not dead drawn games please.”

Lifeless pitches have been penalised in the past by the ICC. In 2014, Trent Bridge was rated ‘poor’ by match official David Boon after a Test between England and India, during which James Anderson scored 81 from No. 11 and Alastair Cook claimed his only ever Test wicket. It is too early to tell whether this Rawalpindi pitch is in any danger of incurring a similar judgement. The pitch used for a high-scoring draw between Sri Lanka and Bangladesh at Pallekele last year was given a ‘Below Average’ rating.

As outlined by the ICC, any pitch that incurs a rating below ‘Average’ is handed a set number of demerit points depending on the severity of the negative rating. Once five demerit points are accrued over a five-year period, that venue can be temporarily suspended from hosting international cricket.