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Pitch for 4th Test has better binding, likely to hold for longer

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By Khurram Habib

Ahmedabad, March 4 (IANS) Thanks to a bit of grass, the pitch for the fourth and final Test is likely to hold up for a bit longer than the surfaces did in the preceding two Tests which had led to a lot of debate.

The first day’s play in the fourth Test here showed that batting was a bit easier and puffs of dust did not emanate as much as they had done in the preceding Tests early on.

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The ongoing fourth Test is being played on a red soil pitch just like the previous Test which was played on the centre-strip, the sixth strip on the 11-pitch square. The current match’s surface is the seventh pitch from the Adani End – the pavilion end – and is just to the right of the centre strip.

“There is grass binding. It won’t play that bad. Green tinge is there, the root (of the grass) is holding the soil so it will not play funny like it did in the last match. Because the grip of the grass with the soil is there, cracks will also not develop so much. There is no crack at the start. It won’t become dusty,” an official in the know of pitch preparation told IANS.

Some puffs of dust though were evident right after tea even on the first day but it didn’t seem bad.

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However, the pitch will continue to help spinners more as the match progresses making it difficult for batsmen.

Despite a better pitch, spinners had a dominant presence on the first day’s play of this Test.

Left-arm spinner Axar Patel was brought in as early as the sixth over of the day and he managed a wicket in his first over again. The first session saw spinners bowling almost 50 per cent of the overs – 12 out of 25.

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The three spinners – Patel, R. Ashwin and Washington Sundar – bowled 70.6 per cent of overs in England’s first innings that ended just after tea. The trio combined to pick eight of the 10 wickets.

The newly-built stadium at Motera, that has been renamed as the Narendra Modi Stadium, has 11 strips with six of them red soil and five black soil.

There had been criticism from former players and experts of the pitches dished out for the first second and third Tests that saw the ball spinning from the first session onwards.

The players from the two sides had, however, refrained from lashing out at the pitches.

–IANS

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