CHENNAI: Speaking to reporters at the end of Day 1 of the second Test in Chennai, where he scored a stroke 161, Rohit Sharma nearly gave away India’s game plan. In fact, he went on to list what sort of shots are good to play on the surface which was taking turn. He even went to the extent of revealing why he played the sweep shot, pointing out how England’s plan to bowl outside off, only helped him more as there was no fielder at fine-leg for the shot.
Had England paid attention, they might well be in with a chance in the second Test. On Sunday, with just three more days to go for the third Test, Rohit confirmed that the pitch at the Sardar Patel Stadium in Ahmedabad will be similar to the surface for the second Test, which the hosts won. It shouldn’t come as a surprise, especially given the fact that India cannot afford to lose any of the two remaining Tests should they wish to make it to the final of the World Test Championship.
Although visuals from Ahmedabad have shown the pitch to have a bit of grass cover, it is understood that the pitch will be on the dry side, taking turn from Day 1. “It’s still early days to talk about the pitch but I don’t see anything changing in the pitch (from) what we played in the second Test match. It’s gonna be more or less on the same page. It’s gonna be turning as well.
We are preparing accordingly. When the day comes, we need to still assess what it is doing. It’s been a while since international game has happened on this ground so we need to still assess what it is going to be like,” Rohit said. The pitch India opted for in the second Test, which saw puff of dust coming off as early as Day 1 and taking turn from the word go, came under severe criticism.
Former England players even went on to term it as ‘sandpit’ and ‘beach’ as they accused India of taking advantage of the home advantage. Rohit, clearly sounded less impressed by criticism surrounding the pitch. “All the teams take home advantage. Every team should get the pitch it prefers. That’s what it is when it comes to home advantage. Otherwise, you should get rid of it altogether. The ICC should direct that uniform pitches be made in India or anywhere else,” Rohit said.
“Pitch remains the same for both the teams, so I don’t know why it leads to so much discussion. I don’t think pitches in India have changed, it’s been the same over the years. When we travel, they also make our life difficult. I don’t think pitches should be discussed, instead we should discuss about the game, players, their techniques,” the opener added. Going into the third Test, India’s main worry is the dew. The evening session, which is usually bowler-friendly in daynight Tests as pink ball swings more under lights, could be the opposite here in Ahmedabad because of dew. In that case, bowlers will find it hard to grip.