When a home team, playing with three medium pacers, is forced to resort to spin in the first hour of a match and introduces an all-spin attack an hour before lunch, there is something wrong with the surface.
And if the match happens to be a Ranji Trophy final, there is all the more reason to worry.The new ball hardly created problems for the Rajasthan batsmen, and barring the odd ball turning, even the spinners had little to look forward to. Still, the track could not be termed a batsman’s paradise as the ball did not rush on to the bat.
While credit needs to be given to the way openers Aakash Chopra and Vineet Saxena batted on the opening day, the two were the first to admit that the wicket had nothing in it for the bowlers, and all they needed was patience.
“There was no movement for the bowlers or carry. But the wicket was very slow and the ball was not even coming on to the bat. So, we needed to show patience and not attempt to score freely,” said Saxena after getting his second century of the season.
There were worries over the slow scoring rate, but the 31-year-old said they could not do much since the wicket was not conducive to stroke-play. “In the first hour after lunch, we scored only 20 runs. They were bowling a tight line and we kept telling ourselves to stay on the wicket,” he added.
Chopra braves a hit
At the other end, Chopra was troubled more by an aching jaw and left cheek after the ball got stuck in his helmet visor while attempting a pull off J Kaushik. “Apart from the odd ball staying low, there was hardly anything in the wicket. It took me sometime to play with the pain. But once I settled down, it was not that tough,” said Chopra, who stopped short of wondering if a wicket like this was a good advertisement for first-class cricket.
Mukund, Das injured
There was further trouble for Tamil Nadu with opener Abhinav Mukund and Vasudeva Das in doubt for Friday’s play.
While Mukund was injured in an attempt to stop a boundary and limped off the field, Das did not take the field after tea.
“Mukund has a contusion in the right hip, while Das has acute back problem. Both are unsure of taking the field,” the Tamil Nadu Cricket Association’s media manager told reporters.