Everyone is going to have a point of view. That’s the nature of sport. It’s the nature of cricket. Had Chennai become a dodgy pitch by day two? A BCCI plot, better for growing beetroots than batting? Or the natural product of local conditions, thus, to an extent, providing some home advantage.
You can’t turn the virtual page of any cricket website without finding a point of view. Some are very well argued like George Dobell’s on Cricinfo “English attitudes towards turning pitches need to change”. Others are just typical Cricbait posturing, as authentic as 1970s TV wrestling. And guess who we find in that camp, flinging carefully choreographed mud across the ether at one other. Michael Vaughan and Shane Warne, the Jackie Pallo and Kendo Nagasaki of tweets.
Yet again, Michael Vaughan, former batsman, was scathing in his criticism of the surface for the second Test. Clearly of the view that the pitch did not do much in the first two sessions, but started spinning when the England batsmen got their blades out. He even said that the Indian side could have forced a draw in the first rubber if they had batted in the similar manner as the first innings of the current Test. Vaughan concluded that the pitch was not a good one for Test cricket.
It didn’t do anywhere near as much for 2 sessions … Spun but not like what it’s doing now … India would have drawn the first Test if they had batted anything like in the 1st innings … This isn’t a good Test match pitch … https://t.co/HhK6dYLiHm
— Michael Vaughan (@MichaelVaughan) February 14, 2021
One would hardly expect the leg-spinning legend Shane Warne to agree as he countered that the pitch had started “exploding” when England batted said there were no objections when India were thrashed in the first rubber(not true, Kohli uttered some criticisms).
Australia’s highest wicket-taker in Test cricket also said that the pitch has been exactly the same for both the sides from the first ball. Warne felt that England bowled poorly and the likes of Rohit Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane showed the way to play. He also out rightly said that India batted and bowled much better than their English counterparts. Warne minced no words and concluded by stating that the conditions were exactly the same for both sides.
Come on maaaaaate ! The last few days of the 1st test, the wicket started exploding & no one said a word about the pitch when India had no chance. At least this test it’s been the same for both teams from ball one. Eng bowled poorly & Rohit, Pant and Jinx showed how to bat. https://t.co/lx31k7BqCl
— Shane Warne (@ShaneWarne) February 14, 2021
So, who’s right? In a world of divergent opinions, our Guerillas are, well, divergent. There have even been dark murmurings of Taunton 2017 in some quarters, but let bygones be bygones I say.
ECB pitch inspectors currently boarding a flight Chennai and when they get there, they’re going to take one look at this pitch and dock Somerset 25 points.
— Mike (@mikebirty) February 14, 2021
Balls may have been going through the surface and bouncing more than a batsman has a right to expect. India, though, had the stand out batsman in Rohit in the first innings. England’s spinners did not exhibit the same control that the Indian spinners did. England’s batsmen crumbled to 52 for five until Papal intervention from Ollie and a studied 42 not out from Ben Foakes showed what could be done, but they still registered a well below par 134, collectively 27 below Rohit.
India taking third knock, went on to make 286 to almost certainly put the game out of sight for England, thanks in no small part to the brilliance of Ashwin.
So, a playable but challenging pitch in the first innings, a spitting cobra for the second, then charmed back into its basket by India for the third?
If you’re reading this, you’ve most likely watched the same action we have and will have your own point of view.