What's the story?
The International Cricket Council (ICC) has given 'very good' rating to the pitch used in the second Test between India and Australia at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru. According to TOI reports, the game’s governing body rated the surface just below ‘excellent’ mark but above other categories such as ‘good’, ‘above average’, ‘below average’, ‘poor’ and ‘unfit’.
In accordance with Clause 3 of the ICC Pitch and Outfield Monitoring Process, match referee Chris Board submitted the report to ICC. He was understood to be satisfied with the pitch despite the prevalence of variable bounce right throughout the game. The former England opener expressed happiness that the match lasted four days unlike the first Test in Pune.
Interestingly, it was Broad himself who gave ‘poor’ rating to the pitch utilised for the opening Test at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Pune. With vicious turn from the very first session, the match ended within three days as Australia wrapped up a 333-run victory.
The heart of the matter
The second Test in Bengaluru saw a pitch which was difficult for run-making. No batsman could register three-figures as both seamers as well as spinners made merry on the inconsistent bounce on offer. Defending 188 runs in the fourth innings, India rode on the euphoria generated by a raucous crowd and registered a 75-run triumph to storm back into the series.
ICC’s regulations for rating a pitch ‘very good’ state, “Good carry, limited seam movement and consistent bounce throughout, little or no turn on the first two days but natural wear sufficient to be responsive to spin later in the game”. However, there was sharp turn available for spinners from the first day as evidenced by Nathan Lyon’s record-breaking haul in the first innings. As the game progressed, the ball kept increasingly low which made wicket-keeping quite difficult too.
Early reports suggest that the surface for the third Test in Ranchi may turn from the first over onwards. With the series locked in at 1-1, another low-scoring thriller could be on the cards.
In comparison to the rank turner in Pune, the Bengaluru pitch played much better. Although the battle between bat and ball was skewed in the latter’s favour, the fast bowlers had something going for them as well. The intense action drove home the point that bowler-friendly surfaces make for riveting cricket. On the flip-side, such pitches also see the toss becoming extremely influential.