AHMEDABAD: England have been beaten inside two days in the second Test in Ahmedabad, with some avid watchers of the game describing the 140-over match as the shortest completed Test since World War II.
The response was predictable: former captain Michael Vaughan slammed the 'awful' pitch, as a staggering 17 wickets fell on Thursday. Vaughan, who was also highly critical of the pitch prepared for the second Test in Chennai, declared with a degree of finality: Let's be honest this is not a 5 day Test pitch!! If we are going to see these pitches ... I have an answer how it could work ... Give the Teams 3 innings!!!’’
The pitch indeed looked more like a construction site with puffs of dust rising, and the surface crumbling at both batting ends, even though the five-day pink ball Test was barely into its second day.
The ground-staff was summoned in the fifth over of the second day's play and again later to sweep the dust created around the bowlers' footholds.
Andrew Strauss agreed with Vaughan, describing the strip as a 'lottery.' Several former Indian players like Harbhajan Singh and VVS Laxman demurred but Sunil Gavaskar felt otherwise. He said the overtly defensive mindset of the batsmen was responsible for their dismissals as most of them got out to straighter deliveries. Former England spinner Graeme Swann slammed the visitors for playing just one spinner in a Test match in India where pitches are generally spin-friendly. "You cannot come to India and play just one spinner in a Test match and get away on this wicket," he said.
Joining the criticism of the track was Kevin Pietersen. "To have a pitch like this for one match is fine as batsmen's skill is put to test. But I would not like to see a pitch like this again and I think none of the other players want to see it either. Well done India," he posted.
Of the 30 wickets falling in the three completed innings, 28 went to spinners. In the last 72 years, only on two occasions have England fallen for a lower total than 112 after winning the toss and electing to bat.
The second Test pitch survived scrutiny as Rohit Sharma played a blinder and Ravichandran Ashwin scored a century as well. But it will be interesting to see the rating that match referee here in Ahmedabad, former India fast bowler Javagal Srinath, gives to this surface considering that according to the ICC rules, a pitch that helps spin from early on especially from first session has points docked.
(Input: Khurram Habib, IANS/Ahmedabad)