Pragyan Ojha hits back at critics slamming Motera pitch: You have to be tested on any surface

3 months ago 6

Former off-spinner Pragyan Ojha on Thursday hit back at critics who have been slamming the pitch and conditions in Ahmedabad where India won inside 2 days against England to go 2-1 up in the four-match series.

India beat England by 10 wickets in the final session on Day 2 of the Pink-ball Test to knock the visitors out of the race to qualify for the ICC World Test Championship final.

English cricket experts and former players like Kevin Pietersen and Michael Vaughan have been vocal about the pitch conditions in the Test series so far in Chennai and Ahmedabad.

But Ojha questioned why seaming tracks where Tests sometimes finish inside 2 or 3 days are considered to be good and turning tracks in India are slammed on a consistent basis.

India vs England Pink-ball Test Day 2: Highlights

"Please talk about Stuart Broad's 8 for 15, the wicket that he was bowling on in that match. What kind of a wicket was that? If the Test finishes in 2 or 3 days in seaming conditions where there is grass that's absolutely fine. But the moment it starts turning and bouncing, that's when you say its not a 5-day wicket or a Test-match wicket.

"Definition of a Test match is - you have to be tested on any surface. It is not written that you will be tested on seaming track and not on tracks which is assisting the spinners," Ojha said on Sports Today.

England had been on the back foot since being skittled out for 112 in their first innings on a turning track at the world's largest cricket stadium. Even Indian batsmen struggled against Joe Root and Jack Leach on Day 2 with the hosts collapsing from 99 for 3 to 145 in the first session thanks to the England captain's maiden five-wicket haul.

England then got shot out for 81 in their second innings, lasting just 30.4 overs with all 10 batsmen falling to spin. Rohit Sharma (25*) and Shubman Gill (15*) knocked off the 49-run target in just 7.4 overs to win the match for India.


Ojha explained that Indian spinners were more successful than their English counterparts because they stuck to better line and lengths on the turning surface.

"Our bowlers were brilliant but if you see the line and length, every ball that Ashwin and Axar were bowling it was hitting the stumps. When you're playing on a turning or seaming track, when you see the ball jumping and turning, it is easy for you to get distracted.

"But our bowlers, they focussed on the line and length, that's when you get the LBW and that's when the ball which turns away or comes in will be more effective," Ojha said.

Team India now need only a draw in the final Test, also in Ahmedabad from March 4, to reach the WTC final against New Zealand in June.

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