The pitch debate has reignited again after India registered a comprehensive 10-wicket win over England on Thursday at the Narendra Modi Stadium, Ahmedabad. It took less than 2 days for the match to get over. With the pitch being a major talking point even before the start of the match, the result and the manner in which it came has only amplified the same. Most of the former English cricketers had criticised the pitch in Chennai after their 317-run defeat in the second Test. And the noise has only increased after Pink-ball Test at the world’s largest cricket facility.
As a result of India’s win, the hosts have taken an unassailable 2-1 lead in the series. Meanwhile, England have been eliminated from the race to the ICC World Test Championship final. Despite Joe Root winning a crucial toss, England were bowled out for 112 in the first innings.
However, they seemingly made a comeback into the match after bowling India out for 145. But the English batters had another batting collapse in the second innings as they were dismissed for 81. Indian openers Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill then finished the job in 8 overs.
Coming out in defence of the pitch, Virat said that it was, in fact, the quality of batting which wasn’t up to the mark from both the teams. He said that the match ending in two days was “bizzare” even going on to term the pitch as “very good.”
“[It was] a very good pitch to bat on – especially in the first innings – and it felt like the ball was coming on nicely with the odd-ball turning. It was just, I would say, below-par batting from both teams. Our bowlers were much more effective and that’s why we got the result,” Kohli said after the match.
Alastair Cook, Andrew Strauss slam the Indian skipper
But former England captain Alastair Cook and Andrew Strauss were not impressed with Kohli’s statement and in fact had a completely different assessment of the pitch. They criticised the pitch and suggested that the Indian skipper was perhaps speaking on behalf of the BCCI and the groundsmen.
“We saw a stat that says this pitch has spun more than any other pitch in India. There’s been so many other balls that have gone straight on as well. So that means when it is turning, it is turning miles. When you see the highlights and the ball skidding on you, we don’t see the build-up: when the exact same ball is spinning miles,” Cook told Channel 4.
“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 today. So hard. Take the wicket out and blame the batsmen? We’ve got Virat Kohli, Joe Root, we have some great players of spin, ” he further said.
“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. To me it’d be great to have that game with the red ball to see the difference when the ball is skidding on. Today trying to play properly, it was nigh-on impossible,” he added.
Strauss also echoed same sentiments saying that an in form Joe Root managed a total of 19 in the second innings and might have even got out a couple of times on his way to reaching that score. Strauss also highlighted that Root is a great player of spin and it was only a Day 2 pitch which seemed to assist the spinners a lot.
“Look at Joe Root for a moment. We know he is a great player of spin. He is in great form as well. What did he get – 19 today? Might have been out two or three times en route to getting that score. And by the way, that’s day two of a Test match. To say the pitch has no fault to play, I totally agree with Cooky. Kohli’s looking after the groundsmen there to a certain degree,” Strauss said.