What’s the story?
As India and Australia gear up for the final showdown in Dharamsala, chief curator Sunil Chauhan revealed that the pitch would assist pacers this time around. He also stressed upon the fact that the movement on the pitch would not be as extravagant it was during the Ranji Trophy matches which took place a few months ago.
“The conditions here are such that you cannot deny the fact that pacers will get assistance in this wicket. But yes, all I can say is that it will not be as excessive as witnessed during domestic matches in the winters. The weather has eased out slightly and you can expect controlled movement,” he said to CricketNext.
“We have tried to prepare a true Test match wicket where the game lasts till the fifth day. There will be help for everyone. The first couple of days you will see pacers dominate before the batsmen take over and the spinners coming into play on the last couple of days,” he continued.
The first two Tests of the Border-Gavaskar series held in Pune and Bangalore saw a lot of assistance for the spinners with Nathan Lyon, Steve O’Keefe, Ravichandran Ashwin, and Ravindra Jadeja making the most of the wicket. However, both the pitches came under scrutiny by the ICC.
While the Pune pitch was rated “poor”, the pitch at the M Chinnaswamy stadium in Bangalore was rated “below average.” The Ranchi pitch was quite different as it gave a lot of assistance to the batsmen with the match ending in a draw.
The pitch at the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association stadium in Dharamsala has always proved to be a paradise for bowlers as has been seen in the IPL as well over the past few years.
Despite Mitchell Starc being ruled out of the series, his replacement Pat Cummins performed exceptionally well in the third Test picking up 4 important wickets in the first innings of the match. If the Dharamsala pitch does happen to assist the pacers, the Indian side would have their task cut out.
The final Test will take place in Dharamsala from 25-29th March at the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association stadium (HPCA)
After two spin-friendly and one batsman-friendly pitch, it would be extremely interesting to see a pitch which assists the pacers. What would be even more interesting to see is what team Kohli fields for the Test. With Mohammed Shami most likely to return, we will have to wait and watch whether India play three pacers or rest Ishant Sharma and play with the extra batsman in the form of Karun Nair.