The Pink-ball Test was over in 2 days but the pitch debate is still raging on. After England were bundled out for 112 and 81 at the Narendra Modi Stadium, quite a few have questioned the quality of the pitch that was on offer for the 3rd-Test. Both India and England collapsed from comfortable positions in the first innings but England’s second innings implosion proved decisive.
The idea of win-the-toss-and-win-the-match on spin-friendly wickets was proved wrong as Joe Root’s men squandered an opportunity to put pressure on India despite winning the toss and opting to bat at the Narendra Modi Stadium. There was turn on offer right from Day 1 but as many 21 of the 30 wickets fell during the frenetic two days were to straighter deliveries.
India captain Virat Kohli conceded that batting, from both sides, was not upto standards as not once was the 150-mark reached in the Test. England captain Joe Root did not point fingers at the pitch and conceded he visitors were outplayed by India on a ‘very challenging’ wicket at the Motera.
“To be honest, I don’t think the quality of batting was up to standards. We were 100 for 3 and bowled out for less than 150. It was just that the odd ball turning and it was a good wicket to bat in the first innings,” Kohli had said.
‘Take the wicket out and blame the batsmen?’
Taking aim at Virat Kohli’s comments, former England captain Alastair Cook has made what can be called an ‘over-the-top comment.
“Virat Kohli’s come out and defended the wicket almost as if it’s a BCCI thing — it cannot possibly be the wicket. Yet it was so hard to bat on that. So hard,” Cook told Channel 4.
“Take the wicket out and blame the batsmen?” Cook questioned while addressing Kohli’s assessment.
Cook opined that ‘great players of spin’ including Kohli and Root struggled to score runs on the surface and that’s a reflection of the quality of the pitch.
“We’ve got Virat Kohli, Joe Root, we have some great players of spin. Yes, we’ve got some people who have got to learn to play spin better, but we have got great players of spin also struggling. Today trying to play properly, it was nigh-on impossible,” he added.
Was the Ahmedabad pitch a 2-day wicket?
The Ahmedabad pitch, it is safe to say, has left the cricketing fraternity divided. India opener Rohit Sharma, who hit a match-winning 66, though denied there were any demons on the pitch and said batsmen needed to concentrate more to score runs on that pitch.
“The pitch had nothing as such, no such demons as we call. It was a nice pitch to bat on, once you’re in, you can score runs as well,” he added.
Former England cricketer Geoffrey Boycott slammed England for misreading the pitch and getting their selection wrong for the Pink-ball Test.
“I would also like to know who had the bright idea of playing three fast bowlers on a turning pitch. They should be embarrassed. England got sucked into thinking they were playing a pink ball test in Adelaide, not Ahmedabad,” Boycott wrote in his column for the Daily Telegraph.
Meanwhile, former India spinner Pragyan Ojha slammed the pitch critics, asking why the pitches are targetted only when spinners do well.
“It was a competitive wicket, batsmen could have done better but whenever spinners do well why this question, why not when seamers get those wickets. Why not when a batsman gets a 400 or 300,” Ojha told Sports Today.
Meanwhile, former India wicketkeeper Deep Dasgupta, while stressing the pitch was certainly not easy to bat on, pointed fingers at the inability of batsmen to cope with the spin threat.
“What was disappointing for me was, the scores were also a reflection of your batting skills against a turning pitch, whether it was the Indian batsmen or English batsmen. Both set of batsmen should have applied themselves better on a pitch like that,” he said.