Testing times on a slow and low pitch

  • N Ananthanarayanan, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • |
  • Updated: Nov 07, 2011 00:48 IST
  • Indian cricket fan

    An Indian cricket team fan during the first Test match between India and West Indies in Delhi. HT Photo by Virendra Singh Gosain.

  • Mahendra Singh Dhoni

    Mahendra Singh Dhoni (L) successfully stumps West Indies cricketer Kraigg Brathwaite (R) during the first day of the first Test match in New Delhi.

  • Umesh Yadav

    Umesh Yadav (L) and cricketer Sachin Tendulkar (R) gesture towards the sightscreen on the first day of the first Test match at the Feroz Shah ...

  • Kraigg Brathwaite

    West Indies cricketer Kraigg Brathwaite raises his bat after his half century (50 runs) during the first day of the first Test match at the ...

  • Mahendra Singh Dhoni

    Mahendra Singh Dhoni stumps West Indies Kraigg Brathwaite during the first day of the first Test match at the Feroze Shah Kotla Stadium in New ...

  • VVS Laxman

    VVS Laxman (L) dives to stop a shot by West Indies cricketer Kraigg Brathwaite (C) on the first day of the first Test match at ...

  • Sachin Tendulkar

    Sachin Tendulkar dives to stop the ball during the first day of their first test cricket match against West Indies in New Delhi.

  • West Indies cricketer Darren Bravo walks back to the pavillion after his dismissal on the first day of the first Test match at the Feroz ...

  • Pragyan Ojha (C) celebrates with his team mates after dismissing West Indies Kieran Powell (L) during the first day of their first Test cricket match ...

  • Mahendra Singh Dhoni (L) as watches West Indies cricketer Kraigg Brathwaite plays a shot during the first day of first the Test match at the ...

With all eyes on whether Sachin Tendulkar will light up the first day's play with his 100th international hundred, the response of the fans at the Ferozshah Kotla was lukewarm on a Sunday after West Indies chose to bat first.

But what stood out was the lacklustre pitch laid out for the series opener that contributed to largely unattractive cricket. It is universally acknowledged that these are testing times for Test cricket. The oldest and longest format is under pressure from the limited-over versions, and fan fatigue is quite evident in India. The team's capitulation in England has not helped, and the 5-0 One-day sweep in the return series does not seem to have done much to change that mood as Day One suggested.

What greeted the few thousands of spectators who did come out to witness action on a holiday was low bounce in the very first hour. The deliveries from Ishant Sharma and Umesh Yadav, who both bowled at a decent pace, kept low. Some reached 'keeper Mahendra Singh Dhoni on second bounce.

Left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha, brought on in the ninth over, bowled creditably to take three wickets but later acknowledged that there was little life in the pitch, a view echoed by fellow spinner and debutant R Ashwin. "It had no bounce, no turn, nothing," said the offie.

With professional sport constantly looking up to packaging, such an insipid track can't help. Although the BCCI points to its rotation policy in choosing venues, what stops the cricket Board from ensuring matches are played only on sporting pitches, especially with India also viewing the series as preparation for the tough tour Down Under.

 

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