What’s the story?
Former Australian batsman Matthew Hayden feels that the quality of pitches used in the ongoing India-Australia series has been quite “substandard”. Currently, on the tour as a commentator, Hayden opened up about the series in an interview with The Times Of India.
“I have already said that the Test matches were on substandard pitches. It's strange because India are good enough to play on good surfaces which naturally break up and start to turn. The fact that Lyon took eight in the first innings of a Test match says it all,” said Hayden.
In case you didn’t know...
With the 4 match Test series currently tied at 1-1, the first Test which took place at Pune was completed in 3 days while the Bangalore one was completed in 4 days. While the Pune pitch provided a lot more assistance to the spinners, the pitch at the M Chinnaswamy stadium in Bangalore saw the pacers and spinners perform equally well.
Nathan Lyon created history as he picked up 8 wickets in the first innings of the 2nd Test in Bangalore. His bowling figures of 8-50 also became the best by an opposition bowler on Indian soil. Earlier, in the first match, it was Steve O’Keefe who stunned the Indian batting line-up by taking identical figures of 6-35 in both innings of the test match in Pune.
The heart of the matter
The quality of pitches in India has come under scrutiny over the past couple of years. In 2015, it was the rank turner against South Africa in Nagpur which was rated as poor, and this year, the International Cricket Council rated the pitch in Pune as poor.
Extra Cover: Why Nagpur pitch should not be repeated
Hayden also went on to speak about the “cheatgate” controversy which struck the 2nd Test between the two sides. He said there is a lot which has been spoken about it and he hopes for a peaceful resolution to the issue with cricket being the ultimate winner.
The two sides will take on each other in the third Test in Ranchi from March 16-20 after which they will travel to Dharamsala for the fourth and final Test which begins on March 25th.
Unlike the rank turner produced at Nagpur in 2015 which provided absolutely nothing to the batsmen and saw India thrash their opponents, the pitches in the first two Tests of the ongoing series saw an even contest between the two sides despite the batsmen not getting too much out of the pitch.
With the third Test coming up in Ranchi, it will be interesting to see how the pitch plays out, especially after the curator – SB Singh rubbishing the claims of Virat Kohli having a say in choosing the pitch for the Test.