Indian captain Rohit Sharma won the toss and opted to bat first in the third Test against Australia at the Holkar Stadium in Indore on Wednesday. The pitch report suggested that it would facilitate spin, just like in the first two Test matches. "This is a very overcooked wicket, it is dry and has started to crumble," said Mathew Hayden.
Indian top order exposed on rank turner
The Australian captain, Steven Smith, who was seen meticulously analysing the pitch on the eve of the Test match, predicted that the Indore pitch would be another rank-turner.
The first hour of the day's proceedings didn't waver much from what the Australian captain reckoned. Nathan Lyon and Matthew Kuhnemann were in spin control to send the Indian top-order packing in the first hour of play itself.
With Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ravindra Jadeja, and Shreyas Iyer all departing to the spinners, India was reduced to 45/5 in 11 overs. The vicious turn Lyon extracted to dismiss Pujara suggested the pitch had plenty of spin demons.
Mathew Hayden, on commentary, wasn't impressed with the nature of the pitch despite his side being on the prowl and exposing the Indian tail in the first hour of play itself. "The first day should be for batting; it shouldn't be spinning that early in the game," he said.
Pitches in India are known to change with their demographics. If red soil pitches are mostly dominant in the south, black soil is the preferred one in the north. While bounce can be a factor in the west, in the eastern parts the low surfaces can challenge batsmen.
There were mixed feelings and suggestions on what the Indore pitch was going to offer. Some cited the red patches on the pitch, suggesting it is a red soil pitch. Others who had the fortune of looking at the pitch said it was black. A mixture of both black and red soil was that a case of doctoring?
In India, pitch curators are known to mix both soils in order to create balance in the play. Red soil pitches offer considerable bounce, which makes them a paradise for spin bowlers, whereas black soil pitches offer low bounce, and when watered, the clay tends to hold the surface together, making it a batter's paradise.
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