Kohli and Root Disagree on Ahmedabad Pitch

Crucial third Test ended on day two

Joe Root England

India captain Virat Kohli and England skipper Joe Root had differing opinions on the condition of the Ahmedabad pitch during the third Test.

India secured a 10-wicket win inside two days as spinners took 28 of the 30 wickets to fall.

The clash at the newly named Narendra Modi Stadium only lasted 140.2 overs after a remarkable second day saw 17 wickets fall in just two sessions.

The nature of the conditions have led some to question the playing surface after the home side took a 2-1 series lead with one Test left to play.

Root, who himself took career-best figures of five wickets for eight runs, feels it is the fans that are being short-changed by the situation but said it is up to the ICC to decide if the pitch was up to standard.

When asked about the pitch after the match, he said: “I think that this surface is a very challenging one, a very difficult one to play on. It's not for players to decide if it's fit for purpose. That's up to the ICC. As players we have to try to counter it as best we can.

“It's a real shame because it's a fantastic stadium, 40,000 people have come to watch a brilliant, iconic Test match and I feel for them.

“They came to watch Virat Kohli face Jimmy Anderson, Stuart Broad, Jack Leach and Ravichandran Ashwin against our top batsmen like Ben Stokes. I almost feel like they've been robbed.

“Instead, they had to watch me get wickets on there, which shouldn't be the case. That's a frustration for a lot of people.

“The fact is it was challenging for both teams and credit to India, they outplayed us on that wicket.

“There's always going to be a slight home advantage but it is a shame when you have got so many fantastic players that can't have an input into a Test match.

A Very Good Pitch, says Kohli

Root’s view on the pitch was not shared by Indian counterpart Kohli.

He described the surface as “a very good pitch to bat on” but did admit his pace bowlers were left a little frustrated at not getting to bowl more.

Ishant Sharma was playing his 100th Test match but didn’t get to feature much on the spin-friendly surface.

Kohli said: “[It was] a very good pitch to bat on – especially in the first innings – and it felt like the ball was coming on nicely with the odd-ball turning.

“It was just, I would say, below-par batting from both teams. Our bowlers were much more effective and that's why we got the result,” he said.

“I feel like batsmen need to trust their defence much more than they are presenting at the moment, and Test cricket is all about that – you are not going to get results in two days all the time – and this was a classic example of batsmen not applying themselves enough, and maybe that's why it was such a quick game.”

India’s Pace Bowler Frustration

Kohli also singled out Axar Patel for praise after the spinner took 11 wickets in the match.

However, he did admit that his seamers were frustrated at a lack of action.

“Bumrah said that ‘I'm getting workload management while playing the game' while Ishant said that ‘it's my 100th Test and I can't get to bowl!” Kohli said.

“I said you have to blame this guy [pointing to Axar Patel] who is coming in and bowling in areas that is making life difficult for the batters.

“The spinners were outstanding in this game, and there was no room for the others to come into the game.”

The fourth Test starts on March 4 with India looking to avoid defeat to secure their place at the World Test Championship final at Lord's later this year.

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Chris
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