After the Mohali Test victory, India skipper Virat Kohli was emphatic that the team was strong enough not to need turning tracks to win matches at home.
However, it is learnt that instructions have been sent by the team management asking for the Wankhede Stadium curators to prepare a ‘bald’ pitch for the fourth Test starting on December 8.
The the pitches for the first three Tests were not rank turners. The Rajkot pitch was batting friendly while the Visakhapatnam track was slow with some uneven bounce. The Mohali pitch was dry but spinners got consistent turn only by the end of the third day. However, India have taken an unassailable 2-0 victory and are expected to win the series in Mumbai.
It is also learnt that it would be a dry wicket. It is expected to be a slow turner, but batsmen will be able to score plenty of runs.
On Friday when HT saw the pitch, with six days left for the Test, there was a bit of grass. Water has been sprinkled and medium rolling done in the last few days.
FULL OF RUNS
The Wankhede wicket has in the last couple of seasons been a batting beauty. In the first Ranji Trophy match this season between Delhi and Maharashtra, 1,283 runs were scored.
Wankhede has also witnessed high-scoring ODIs and T20 Internationals. Nearly 400 runs were scored in the last international here, the World T20 semifinal between India and West Indies in March.
- In a World T20 league match, England chased down South Africa’s 229/4 with two balls to spare.
- In the four WT20 matches at the Wankhede Stadium, 1,593 runs were scored, the most among the seven tournament venues.
- In October 2015, South Africa posted a record 438/4 in an ODI against India
It was at the second Test in Wankhede that Alastair Cook’s men had begun their revival on the 2012 tour, winning by 10 wickets against MS Dhoni’s team on a rank turner. England went on to win the four-match series 2-1.
Coach Anil Kumble and Kohli had sought to end criticism the team depended on turning tracks to win at home. Kohli said in Mohali his team was confident of winning on any track.
“Even when we played in Kolkata (against New Zealand), we showed we are not a side that wants square turners. We have enough skill to play good cricket and win against any team and that’s the kind of belief we have created in the change room.
“And that can only happen when you are not worried about what’s happening outside that door. You focus on your skills and strengths and move along,” he said at the post-match news conference.
Kumble too had said the team management will not interfere in pitch preparation. “We are not making any demands for the pitch. We will play on the pitch that is on offer and we will enter the field thinking that our spinners are better when it comes to experience and quality,” he said.