Cricket world blasts farce
- Publish Date
- Monday, 13 March 2023, 9:35AM
The fourth test is going to day five with Australia’s second innings only just beginning six overs before stumps were called in Ahmedabad.
It leaves the test heading for an almost certain draw after it took nearly four days to complete a first innings for each team.
Virat Kohli hit a wonderful century, his 28th, ending a 1206-day drought since his last test hundred as he was the final man dismissed for 186.
But it once again raises questions about the pitch for the fourth and final test.
Pitches have been a hot topic in this series between Australia and India after the three tests were finished inside three days.
Crumbling dustbowls, including the Indore wicket which appeared to be little more than rubble from day one, are what the world has come to expect when touring India.
As a traditionally spin friendly nation, why wouldn’t the nation play to its strengths?
Australia pitches have their own flavour, with Aussies choosing to highlight the pace and bounce our quick bowlers prefer.
As frustrating as it was for Australian fans, particularly in the first two tests which saw monumental collapses hand the visitors’ crushing losses, at least it had been a battle between the sides’ spin bowlers.
Brutal batting conditions saw wickets fall at any moment with variable bounce and movement meaning batters were making little more than a guess at where the ball was going.
But with the series 2-1, Australia were hoping to win to draw the Border-Gavaskar series, after the humiliating losses in the opening two tests.
However, with India needing a win to secure its place in the World Test Championship final — a draw would allow Sri Lanka the possibility of sneaking in via two wins in its two-test series against New Zealand — the Ahmedabad curators went way too far in the opposite direction.
It’s been a road with Usman Khawaja, Cameron Green, Shubman Gill and Virat Kohli all smashing big centuries.
Talking to Dinesh Karthik and Ravi Shastri just before the third new ball, Harsha Bhogle said he felt the pendulum had swung too far the other way.
“15 wickets have fallen over four days, we’ve gone the other extreme,” Bhogle said.
Karthik replied: “We need to talk about these numbers — 91 wickets over 7 days and 15 wickets over 4 days.”
“So what do you want, this kind of a pitch or the other pitches?” Shastri said. “You don’t want to finish in three days yes, totally agree, but that could also be because of incompetent batting.”
Bhogle replied: “I think we went too far the other side.”
But Shastri wasn’t done.
“I hope all those whingers about Indian pitches are happy now,” he said.
It comes after the Indore pitch was rated “poor” after the Nagpur and Delhi pitches were both rated “average”.
While most cricket fans prefer a battle between bat and ball where either could dominate, rarely do those pitches seem to truly eventuate.
And fans were left fuming over a boring four days of the fourth test between the world’s two top ranked cricket nations.
However, there could still be a result in the match, although there is almost no chance of Australia wrestling a result.
India were finally dismissed for 571 when Kohli holed out on 186.
It’s a lead of 91 and Australia would have to get ahead and then pile on enough runs to try and bowl India out, which proved exceedingly difficult in the first innings.
Axar Patel’s 79 off 113 balls showed just how true the wicket was, hitting four sixes and five fours before his stumps were skittled by Mitchell Starc.
As for India, there is hope.
At lunch, Brad Haddin said on Fox Cricket that India are trying to bat long enough that “when Australia go into bat, they have nothing to play for.”
He said that could be all that decides a result as “it’s dangerous to bat when there’s nothing to play for.”
Australia finished the day 0/3 with Travis Head on 3 alongside nightwatchman Matt Kuhnemann on 0, 88 runs behind India.
This article was first published on nzherald.co.nz and is republished here with permission
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