The playing conditions at Holkar Stadium in Indore has become the talk of the town. The pitch demons have surfaced out and has made batters from both the sides viz. hosts India and visitors Australia, toil for every run. Despite the unplayable conditions, Usman Khawaja and CheteshwarPujara have displayed good application that needs to be applauded. Barring them, most of the batters failed to apply themselves.
Experts feel that this pitch offers nothing for the batters. This became evident when 14 wickets fell on Day-1. The trend continued on day-2 as well as we witnessed a fall of 16 wickets. This results to ending of three innings inside two days. Indians boast of playing spinner-friendly conditions well but have we ever seen this type of wicket in Ranji matches?
On the other hand, the Australian spinners led by Nathan Lyon and Matthew Kuhnemann have utilised this condition to their best. This wicket isn’t suitable for Test cricket at all. However, this is also true that all the home teams across the globe make pitches that suits their strengths and India is no exception. The hosts made full use of similar conditions in Nagpur and Delhi Tests but the tables turned in favour of the visitors in Indore, where they not only made a strong comeback in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.
The wicket at Holkar Stadium has so far favoured the spinners heavily where the batters struggled to apply themselves. We can expect that the wicket at the NarendraModi Stadium in Ahmedabad favours the batters better, where the fourth and final Test is scheduled to be played from March 9. Cricket fans visit the stadiums with an anticipation to see a quality fight between the bat and the ball, which, unfortunately wasn’t seen in Indore.
Both Indian and Australian batters have had to take risks while they batted; resulting in them getting dismissed cheaply. The wicket during the ongoing Test has remained uneven; where some balls have remained low while some have exhibited too much of turn and bounce. The Indian team management despite knowing this fact included two fast bowlers. This remains unexplained! Had India included one extra batter, then perhaps it would have benefitted Rohit Sharma & co.
(The writer is ViratKohli’s childhood coach and a Dronacharya awardee)