Wankhede pitch evokes sharp debate & differences

The seemingly unending debate gained momentum after India conceded an 86-run first-innings lead.

Mumbai: The Indian pitch conundrum continued on Sunday when the Wankhede Stadium wicket that was supposedly prepared for the home spinners backfired big time on the home team as England’s Monty Panesar and Graeme Swann performed much better.

That 25 of the 27 wickets have gone to spinners till the end of the third day is probably not as worrying as India’s inability to get the right pitch for home matches.

The seemingly unending debate gained momentum after India conceded an 86-run first-innings lead.

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Opinions raised on the pitch have been as varied as chalk and cheese. Kevin Pietersen, who scored his 22nd Test century, and Gautam Gambhir, who is still batting on 53, gave different opinions.

“It was a pretty difficult wicket. You knew that at some stage the ball had your name on it. To have got them on this track was fun,” said Pietersen.

Gambhir, who could have criticised the pitch, given the position India are in at the moment, differed sharply with the English batsman.

“There was bite and bounce on the wicket, so some balls will turn and some will keep straight,” opined Gambhir. “It is a very good wicket. There is no fun playing Test cricket when one team scores 500 and the other 600.”

Gambhir also said that pitches like the one prepared for this five-day game would encourage fans to go to grounds to watch Test match cricket.

“People will only come and watch when you get results, when you know something is happening on every delivery. Such wickets will revive Test cricket in India. Test cricket is supposed to test the players after all,” he stressed.

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