The Chennai pitch for the 2nd Test between India and England has come under severe criticism from all quarters. Chennai was the venue that had hosted the first Test between the two sides too. The first Test pitch had seen England posting a huge first innings score of 578. India responded by scoring 337 in their first innings. The pitch started deteriorating rapidly from the fourth day and batting had become increasingly difficult. India were left to chase 420 runs in the final innings and they went on to lose the match by 227 runs.
The first pitch disappointed the Indian team:
The Indian team weren’t really impressed with the pitch which was used in the first Test. As that wicket remained flat for the first couple of days, it made the toss even more crucial. The Indian team management didn’t want a replica of the same in the 2nd Test. They wanted a pitch that will remain the same throughout the match.
The pitch for the 2nd Test:
In Test matches only if the pitch retains its flavour for the entire duration that both the teams are in with a similar chance of winning the game. And the pitch for the 2nd Test in Chennai was exactly the same. It started offering turn right from ball 1. The bowlers were in the game right from the first session of the Test. It was largely due to Rohit Sharma’s brilliance that India managed to put 329 runs on the board in the first innings. Sharma scored 161 of those runs and his partnership with Ajinkya Rahane set the platform for a huge Indian score.
Spinning and seaming wickets:
The total posted by India was way too much on this kind of a wicket and England proved that right. As they got bowled out for 134 in their first innings in 59 overs. England ended up conceding a lead of 195 runs. This might well prove to be the difference between the two sides eventually.
Hence it is quite strange that the pitch has received so much criticism for being a turner. If the ball swings or seams by a considerable degree in countries like England and New Zealand, it is seen as fair playing conditions but if the same ball starts spinning then it is seen as a poor wicket. The matters get worse when India starts getting the better of the opposition. It is only then when reactions are quite extreme when it comes to the wicket.
The hypocrisy of a few experts:
If you have to keep the conditions a level playing field then the same has to be followed across countries. One can’t term a spinning wicket as poor and a seaming wicket as challenging. It is high time that the hypocrisy of few experts in international cricket is called out!