Chennai: Spinner Ravichandran Ashwin – not the one to look the other way -- has hit back at the criticism of the pitch at Chennai, most of which was directed at him since he was playing on home ground, where the ball spun from the first session and kicked up dust after the ball had landed. Thanks to all the imponderables, he delivered a man-of-the-match performance as India beat England by 317 runs.
Yesteryear England captains Michael Vaughan and Kevin Pietersen were among those who criticised the strip, with the former describing it as a 'stinker', while the latter predicted India would have lost again had the toss not gone Virat Kohli's way.
But Ashwin - who is refusing to rest on his laurels and is behind only Anil Kumble for the most Test wickets in India of any home player - responded to such criticism by stating the country's greats have not complained when they have seen plenty of grass on surfaces overseas.
‘‘I'm completely fine with people having opinions, because we'll also have our opinion when we tour abroad,’’ Ashwin said. ‘‘But we don't complain or crib, we just get on with it. I've never seen any of our greats talk about pitches having a lot of grass, or all these things.’’
Speaking on the BBC's Test Match Social on Sunday, Vaughan was indeed uncharitable: 'Clearly, India have panicked after the first Test; they have picked two spinners and the pitch has exploded. It's not a good Test match wicket. England are trying to be busy and do the right things but it's very difficult on this kind of surface.’’
Shane Warne had the last word: This one was a turner from ball one. England should've bowled India out for 220. It’s no different between spinning and seaming & Rohit [Sharma] showed how to play on this surface.’’