What's the story?
ICC match referee Chris Broad has given the pitch at M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru, a “below average” rating in his report. As reported by Cricinfo, the variable bounce of the wicket on which the 2nd Test between India and Australia was played was a major factor in Broad’s appraisal of it.
The Bengaluru outfield, on the other hand, was rated “very good” by the former cricketer.
It is interesting to note that the pitch used for the first Test match at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Pune was rated by “poor” by Broad himself. The match had ended in only three days with the pitch assisting sharp turn from the first day itself. Australia went on to thrash the Indian side as they comfortably won by 333 runs.
However, unlike the Test match in Pune, the second match turned out to be quite the thriller. A low scoring affair, the match saw the Indian side make a late comeback to take home a hard earned victory and level the series 1-1. The Virat Kohli-led side dominated on the fourth afternoon and scripted a memorable 75-run victory.
The heart of the matter
The ICC guidelines state that for pitches to be rated “below average”:
"Either very little carry and/or bounce and/or more than occasional seam movement or occasional variable (but not excessive or dangerous) bounce and/or occasional variable carry. If a pitch demonstrates these features, then the pitch cannot be rated in a higher category regardless of the amount of turn the pitch displays at any stage of the match."
Although the match was entertaining, the fact that Nathan Lyon was able to extract spin and bounce off the pitch from the very first day did not bode well with Broad. Lyon would go on to attack a rough patch outside the off-stump to take eight wickets on Day one to rattle the Indian batting line-up.
From the second day, the pacers got quite a few balls to stay low and skid through. Kohli, Mitchel Marsh, Steven Smith and Ravichandran Ashwin were all victims of such deliveries.
The pictures of the pitch in Ranchi, where the third match will be held, have suggested that there might be turn from the very first over. The match starts on Thursday and with the series tied at 1-1, we could be braced for yet another low-scoring thriller.
The Bengaluru pitch (though it did favour the bowlers a slight bit) was better than the rank turner at Pune. However, the variable bounce and spin did not make it an even contest between the bat and the ball. And in these type of wickets, the toss becomes a deciding factor.