The third Test match between India and England ended within two days and the pitch at the newly inaugurated Narendra Modi stadium has come under scrutiny as well as some criticism. While former England captain Nasser Husain held the English batting responsible for the dismal performance, two other ex-skippers don’t agree with him and Indian captain Virat Kohli, whohas defended the Motera pitch.
After Alistair Cook, another former England captain Andrew Strauss has now trained guns, saying there was no reason to believe that the pitch had no fault. On Kohli defending the pitch, Strauss said the Indian skipper was probably looking after the groundsmen.
In the post-match presentation, Kohli said more than the pitch it was the poor application from batsmen of both sides that led to ending the match in only what was the 5th session of the game. The ball was coming on to the bat nicely, especially in the first innings, except for the odd-ball that turned, Kohli said after India’s mammoth 10-wicket victory against Englishmen on the second day of the pink-ball Test. The Ahmedabad game was also the shortest Test in terms of balls bowled since 1935.
Before Strauss, Cook, too, expressed his disagreement with Kohli. Cook said that kohli defended the wicket almost as if it was a BCCI thing, adding it was so hard to bat on that today.
The former England captain asked if the wicket could be taken out of the equation and the problems be parked only at the batsmen’s door. “Take the wicket out and blame the batsmen?" Cook asked.
He added the Test featured Kohli, Root and some other 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," Cook was quoted as saying by ESPNCricinfo.
Agreeing to Cook’s assessment, Strauss said that Kohli was only looking after the groundsmen there.Strauss cited the example ofRoot, one of the best players in the longer version of the game, who struggled on what was just the second day of the match.
Former Indian medium-pacer Ajit Agarkar has also agreed with Cook and Strauss, saying it wasn’t a second-day pitch.He said it was a different kind of challenge without giving a clear opinion on whether it was fair to have such a wicket.
India and England will lock horns in the fourth game, once again in Ahmedabad’s Narendra Modi Stadium, from March 4 to 8. Unlike the day-night third test, this one’s going to be a regular day game. While Indians have taken an unassailable 2-1 lead in the series, England will try to bounce back and level the series.