A whopping 17 wickets fell in just over two sessions on day two as India was dismissed for 145, rolled England for 81, and then chased down 49 to win.
One ball turned, the next did not — and England was left utterly powerless to tame the unpredictable conditions in a contest that was entertaining but, ultimately, a bad look for Test cricket long-term.
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While much of the post-Test commentary has been about the pitch — and rightly so — Pietersen didn’t want to make any excuses for either side.
“The batting from both teams was awful!” he tweeted. “The wicket wasn’t horrendous! It’s just that the batting was dreadful!
“21/30 wickets were from straight balls! Nothing dangerous!”
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Former England captain Nasser Hussain said the conditions were poor, but said India found a way to better exploit them, while England can’t be excused for another woeful batting display.
“I don’t believe the Ahmedabad pitch provided a fair contest between bat and ball – but neither do I believe England can use that as an excuse for losing the third Test,” he wrote in a column for the Daily Mail.
“England ought to have been more alert to what (Axar) Patel was trying to do.
“You try to protect yourself from the danger delivery, and it felt as if England kept repeating the same mistake against Patel.”
He added: “The bottom line for England is that they won a good toss, and collapsed from 74 for two to 112 in their first innings. In the end, that’s what cost them the Test.”
Understandably, others couldn’t refrain from slamming the pitch that produced near-unplayable batting conditions.
“Entertaining .. YES .. but this is an awful pitch for Test cricket .. !!!! Complete lottery on day 2 !!” Michael Vaughan tweeted.
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Former England international and commentator David Lloyd echoed Vaughan’s sentiments, and warned that there could be “huge ramifications” for Test cricket.
He wrote for the Daily Mail: “I’m really not bothered who wins when it’s a lottery like this. It’s just not a contest.
“Yes, techniques have been poor but if this pitch is acceptable to the ICC and there’s more of this there will be huge ramifications for world Test cricket.
“Boards make the bulk of their revenue from the length of play, certainly in England. Short Tests are a financial disaster.”
Sky Sports pundit Rob Key said the Test was entertaining, but the pitch was “not fit for Test cricket”.
“People can say we are moaning because we are England fans and we want them to do well but this does not stack up against what you are meant to do to prepare a surface for Test cricket,” he wrote.
“If we want to see cricket that is over quickly and every ball is an event – going out of the park or getting a wicket – then we have got T20 cricket. That’s what The Hundred is going to be there for. This is Test cricket; it should not be this extreme.”
‘WHY ARE WE ROTATING?’
Meanwhile, England’s rotation policy once again came under fire after the two players who likely would have been its biggest weapons in Ahmedabad — Dom Bess and Moeen Ali — didn’t play.
Bess was taken out for an extra seamer while Ali was granted leave from the tour to spend time with his family back in England.
Ian Bell said England was guilty of looking too far ahead and planning its squad for the Ashes when greater focus needs to be on the India series.
“This is bigger than the Ashes, this is probably as big as the Ashes, why are we rotating in one of the biggest Test series you can play in?” he said.
“For me that’s where I think we need to be honest and say we got that a little bit wrong.”
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