New Delhi: The International Cricket Council (ICC) has termed the pitches on which the second and third India-England Test matches were played as "average".
The second Test was played at the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai and the third Test was staged at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Motera near Ahmedabad.
The ICC rates performance of pitches and outfields in six different ways -- very good, good, average, below average, poor, and unfit.
While the ICC termed the outfield for the second Test to be "very good", it was also termed "average" for the third Test. However, the ICC termed the pitch at the Narendra Modi Stadium to be "good" for the fourth Test against England while the outfield rating improved to "very good".
Both the pitch and the outfield were given "very good" ratings for the first Test at the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium.
Pitches for the second, third and fourth Tests of the four-match series against England had come under significant criticism due to the assistance these offered from the first day. The third Test turned out to be one of the shortest in the history of both teams, with India winning by 10 wickets within two days.
England captain Joe Root, a part-time spin bowler who scored a double century in the first Test, ended up with figures of 5/8, the most economical five-wicket haul by an England player on Day 2 of the third Test in Motera.
While that helped England dismiss India for 145 in reply to their first innings total of 112 in the first session, the visitors were then all out for just 81 runs in the next, leaving India to chase a target of 49 runs. India's spinners took all 10 wickets with Axar Patel taking five, Ravichandran Ashwin four and Washington Sundar taking a wicket in the only over he bowled.
Both Root and India captain Virat Kohli had differing views on the conditions, though. While Root said that him getting a five-wicket haul says a lot about the pitch, Kohli termed the match as the match as a "bizarre" one where the pitch was good to bat on but the quality of batting from both sides was poor.
"To be honest, I don't think the quality of batting was at all up to standard from both teams to be honest. They were bundled out and there was lack of application from both the sides. The ball was coming on nicely yesterday and the odd ball was turning and it was a good wicket to bat on in the first innings. The batting was below-par from both sides," said Kohli after the match.
Meanwhile, a number of former players from both India and England criticised 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," tweeted Yuvraj Singh.
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 🇮🇳 @akshar2026 what a spell! congratulations @ashwinravi99 @ImIshant 💯
— Yuvraj Singh (@YUVSTRONG12) February 25, 2021
Former England players like Michael Vaughan and Rob Keys said that the pitch was not worthy of Test cricket.
Meanwhile, England spinner Jack Leach said that all the talk of the pitch was only in the media. "They outbowled us on that wicket, Ashwin is a world-class bowler, Axar was very good on that wicket. All the talk has been in the media, in the dressing room, we just talk about getting better," said Leach.