Runs And Wickets Aside, It’s The Ahmedabad Test Pitch That Matters Most!
It’s a bit of a strange situation here in the ongoing Border Gavaskar series of 2023 featuring India and Australia. And what makes things rather awkward is that no one in particular is talking about a batsman or bowler as such.
Surely, Nathan Lyon has been exceptional, as per normal and India’s Rohit Sharma and Cheteshwar Pujara have been good, in patches.
Axar Patel has been rather unsung and been unbeaten on more than one occasion. All of that’s clear and pretty evident.
Yet, it’s the sort of the situation where the fate of the series, i.e., the series outcome has already been decided but none are talking about it as considerably as the condition of the next game’s pitch.
The fourth and final game takes us to the Ahmedabad Test, where the thing in clear focus is the pitch.
How might it play? Will it hold well for both teams instead of leaning towards a side in particular? Or will the condition of the pitch deteriorate to an extent that cricket would not be seen on each day of the upcoming Test?
More and more questions and perhaps even confusion ensue.
Yet, what one lacks is clarity; just the kind of thing that one may expect after the completion of day 1 of the upcoming Ahmedabad Test.
Still, what’s clear is this
India haven’t earned any brownie points whatsoever by earning not just the ire of the die-hard fans, but also that of the ICC. Surely, when you play as hosts, you expect the conditions to tilt in your favour but to what possible extent?
The last Test, which took place in Indore earned ‘poor’ rating by the storekeepers of the game, i.e., the elite governing body of Cricket.
If that didn’t pinch, then one wonders, what might?
The fact that none of the Tests- and there’ve been three, lest it is forgotten-saw the game reach Day 4 was the serious downer.
Forget about the players who may have missed some serious cricketing action, the game is ought to be responsible for the plight of the ticket buyer; those who invest not only the bucks but their time in a Test match anticipating proper action.
So what about those who would’ve bought with keen interest tickets to day 4 of the Delhi or the Indore Test match?
The fan, in seeing the contests being over on the third of the fifth day, was perhaps rendered ruined. Saying nothing else would suffice.
But here’s the thing that hurts the most
Rather, one should say should sting the most! Some of the most precious contests that have been previously played here at Ahmedabad saw the game getting over on Day 3.
More famously in 2021, when England came calling, the Ahmedabad Test was the third in the series. And the scores- not individual, but collective team efforts- read something like this:
When England came to Ahmedabad in 2021
India, who would eventually win made 145 in their first inning before completing the successful run chase of 49 (without a wicket lost) in their final inning. All of this just prompts to ask what did England manage after all?
Well, scores of 112 and later, 81- would you believe it? This wasn’t a rather ordinary or talent lacking unit; the team comprised stalwarts like Joe Root, Jonny Bairstow and Ben Stokes.
In what proved to be England’s undoing, the Ahmedabad Test pitch was a rank turner, which proved to be Axar Patel’s delight; the left arm spinner picked 11 from the game.
Should such a thing happen this time around again, the entire cricketing fraternity having witnessed abominable quality of pitches insofar, the fourth and final Test, it ought to be said, would be a soulless one.
And as Matt Hayden asked rather puzzlingly at Indore- which Test match sees a spinner being brought on in from the sixth over?
So what do you have in store for us Ahmedabad?