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3rd Test: Gavaskar, Boycott defend Motera pitch

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Ahmedabad, Feb 26 (IANS) The pitch that was used for the third Test between India and England here has drawn polarised reactions from commentators and former players. India thrashed England by 10 wickets inside two days. It was the lone day-night Test in the four-match series.

Former India captain Sunil Gavaskar said that the reason for the match ending inside two days is that the batsmen were unable to play spin rather than the pitch.

“You need to use the depth of your crease [to play spin]. So, there comes your footwork. On fast bouncy pitches it is more a matter of your courage. These kinds of pitches, it is a test of your skill,” Gavaskar said during television commentary. “Which is the reason the batsmen who can score runs on these pitches, are the real batsmen.”

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Former India captain Sachin Tendulkar said during the first day’s play that he wouldn’t be surprised if the pitch did not change colour during the match due to the stadium’s proximity to the Sabarmati river.

“I have noticed that the Sabarmati river’s close proximity to the ground, will continue to bring in moisture. As a result of this, don’t be surprised if the colour of the wicket continues to remain the same throughout the game. #INDvENG,” Tendulkar tweeted.

Interestingly, England batting great Geoffrey Boycott said that it was a simple case of India being better than England. “There is nothing in the rules that says what type of pitch should be prepared. We had first choice of the surface and they were better than us. Simple,” the former England captain said in a tweet.

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Former India batsman Yuvraj Singh also commented the pitch. “Finished in 2 days. Not sure if that’s good for test cricket !If @anilkumble1074 and @harbhajan_singh bowled on these kind of wickets they would be sitting on a thousand and 800? However congratulations to (India) @akshar2026 what a spell! congratulations @ashwinravi99 @ImIshant,” Yuvraj tweeted.

Alastair Cook, the last England captain to beat India in a Test series in India, in 2012-13, said that he was surprised to hear India skipper Virat Kohli’s opinion on the pitch being good for batsmen.

“Virat Kohli’s come out and defended the wicket almost as if it’s a BCCI thing — it cannot possibly be the wicket. Yet it was so hard to bat on that today. So hard,” said Cook on Channel 4.

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“Take the wicket out and blame the batsmen? We’ve got Virat Kohli, Joe Root, we have some great players of spin. Yes, we’ve got some people who have got to learn to play spin better, but we have got great players of spin also struggling. To me it would be great to have that game with the red ball to see the difference when the ball is skidding on. Today, trying to play properly, it was nigh-on impossible,” he said.

–IANS

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