AHMEDABAD: The grandeur of the Narendra Modi Stadium will dwarf most things. For the last two days, focus has only been on the state of the art facilities. In less than two days the focus has shifted to the heart of the ground the pitch. A strip with spin and unpredictability produced a match that ended in less than two days giving it the moniker the shortest Test in post-War era.
The wicket around the batsmen looked like a patch of dust where any spinner who could land the ball would get a wicket. No wonder Joe Root got five wickets giving away just eight runs. And the England captain summed it up perfectly after the match, which India won by 10 wickets.
“It is a real shame. It is a fantastic stadium and 60,000 people came to watch and I feel for them. They came here to see a James Anderson, Jofra Archer, Virat Kohli and instead they saw me taking wickets.” This was far from an ideal Test wicket. Seventeen wickets fell on Thursday. It was a turner from the first day and was turning blind on second.
And with modern-day batsmen, especially the English, lacking skill to bat on turning wickets, the script is foretold. After the first Test in Chennai, there were talks about India utilising its home advantage. But that they have opted for these kind of surfaces, especially after outplaying Australia there, was a surprise. Barring the 2015 series against South Africa, India have resorted to this kind of surface only once at home against Australia in Pune 2017.
The World Test Championships has been designed to bring new fans and to provide context to bilateral series. Also let spectators and players rejoice at the romance of the competition between bat and ball. Ironically, this Test failed to do just that. In this, it can be argued that it was loaded too much in favour of the ball. Tests are not meant to get over in two days.