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Another 'rank turner' awaits South Africa in Delhi Test

You call it a rank turner, dustbowl or a dedicated spin track, pitches undoubtedly played a key role in India’s success against South Africa in the ongoing four-Test series.

Cricketnext Staff |November 30, 2015, 2:47 PM IST
Another 'rank turner' awaits South Africa in Delhi Test

You call it a rank turner, dustbowl or a dedicated spin track, pitches undoubtedly played a key role in India’s success against South Africa in the ongoing four-Test series, where the hosts have already sealed the affairs, taking an unassailable 2-0 lead.

As the Ferozeshah Kotla ground in the Capital is set to host the last Test of the series from Thursday, there is a strong possibility that the visitors may find themselves in a spot of bother as they are most likely to get a rank turner in the final Test as well.

As DNA newspaper reported on Monday, with Daljit Singh, the pitch curator in Mohali Test where the ball started turning from Day 1 itself, taking control of the Kotla pitch on Saturday, the possibility of a dry rank turner looms large.

Ankit Dutta, the pitch curator at the Delhi & District Cricket Association, is preparing the centre pitch at Kotla and if he is to be believed, a dry wicket is a certainty in the fourth Test. “This pitch can also produce turn from the first session but for that this wicket needs to be kept dry for the next three days with a hope of bright sunshine,” Dutta was quoted as saying by DNA.

A DDCA official’s statement reaffirmed the belief of a spin track at Kotla. "This is an international series and you get the instructions from the team management only once. You won't be reminded twice about the nature of pitches that the hosts want. It will be a result-oriented track. If you can't apply yourself against the spin, then there's something wrong with the technical skills of batsmen. Don't complain about the wicket on offer. Put Sachin (Tendulkar), Rahul (Dravid) or VVS (Laxman) on these tracks and they will show the required patience and application to negate the turn."

Ranji players got assistance from the Kotla wicket during Delhi’s two matches at the ground this season. But they may not get the same wicket as the pitch will be prepared to suit spin attack of Team India. However, meteorological department's prediction of cloudy conditions during the Test can whitewash Kotla curator’s ambitions of a spin-friendly wicket.

Indian spin attack, led by Chennai wizard Ravichandran Ashwin, pushed the South African batsmen to limit in all three Tests. The hosts won the first Test by 108 runs and third by 124 runs. The rain-curtailed second Test at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru ended in a draw.

Impressed by the success of Indian team in the series, team director Ravi Shastri made no bones about a rank turner at Kotla too.

"Nothing wrong with it," the former allrounder was quoted as saying by ESPNcricinfo. "I would hope the one in Delhi is absolutely the same. I have no qualms about it.

"(The pitch was) absolutely not (a problem). It's on both sides...You have to stop cribbing and get on with the job at hand."

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