What’s the story?
After levelling the four-match Test series 1-1 in Bengaluru, India and Australia are set to play the third Test on a wicket that will start turning from the first over of the Test match. According to reports, there won’t be any bounce on offer for the bowlers. It was also revealed that former Indian skipper MS Dhoni has worked on every single inch of the relevant part of the pitch which will be advantageous to the Indian team.
News from Ranchi is ball will turn square from first over Won't be any bounce in the pitch at all India is likely to include J Yadav— Makarand Waingankar (@wmakarand) March 12, 2017
In case you didn’t know...
The third Test match of the series will be played at the JSCA stadium in Ranchi from March 16. Just to make sure that the wicket assists the Indians, Dhoni visited the stadium to monitor the preparations ahead of the third Test between India and Australia before leaving for Delhi to play for Jharkhand in the 2017 Vijay Hazare trophy quarter-finals.
Unfortunately, the home fans might not get to see their golden boy in the stadium as he will be with his state team playing in the knockouts.
Extra cover: MS Dhoni influencing the wicket in Ranchi ahead of third Test
The heart of the matter
Last week, the JSCA secretary Debashish Chakrabarty confirmed that Dhoni was very cautious about the nature of the wicket for the Test and was constantly visiting the stadium regularly just to keep a tab on the preparations. Chakrabarty also conceded that Dhoni was in touch with the curator and the groundsmen for information about the pitch.
The pitch curator, SB Singh said that he has prepared three pitches for the Test and the match will be played on the wicket that is picked by the Indian team management. According to him, one of the three pitches looks lush green while the other two have uniform grass cover and hardly any grass cover on the surface, respectively.
It looks like the team management chose the third pitch and as per the latest development, the wicket for the third Test is likely to assist the spinners from the first over of the match. Also, there won’t be any bounce in the wicket, something that the Australian bowlers will worry about.
Extra cover: 5 things Australia must do to win in Ranchi
After winning the low-scoring thriller in the second Test in Bengaluru, Virat Kohli and co. will be going into the Ranchi Test with a lot of confidence. They will look to seal the series in Ranchi. In all likelihood, skipper Kohli will shuffle his playing XI as India will look to go into the third Test with three spinners and make life difficult for the Australian batsmen.
The wicket for the first Test between India and Australia in Pune was termed as poor by the ICC as there was a lot of turn on offer. Indian batsmen struggled on that wicket and the bowlers beat the bat of the Australian batsmen often because of the excessive turn. On the other hand, Bangalore had less turn on offer for the bowlers and the Indian spinners came out on top.
Even though India are right to make full use of home conditions, the team management must realise that the Indian team is capable of getting the better of the visitors even on a wicket that does not offer much turn for the bowlers. Given that the wicket will start turning right from the first over, the team winning the toss will look to bat first and put the opposition under pressure.