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HindustanTimes Mon,22 Dec 2014
Aussies left hopping on 'foreign' turf
Khurram Habib, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, March 25, 2013
First Published: 00:39 IST(25/3/2013)
Last Updated: 00:48 IST(25/3/2013)

Someone from the Delhi cricket association had confided during this Test that there wasn't a clamour for fifth day tickets/passes. In a Test series that saw four-day games, no one fancied this going the distance. But poor Aussie batting and a difficult wicket saw even fourth day tickets going waste.

Fans, who couldn't be a part of the Sunday crowd, and were awaiting Monday, were annoyed after the game ended early.

In the lead-up to this game, HT had mentioned that the wicket may not cop all the blame since the Australia batting lacked spine.

This is exactly what happened with captains MS Dhoni and Shane Watson differing in views. "What does a bad (wicket) mean... When four fast bowlers play it is strategy, when three spinners play it becomes a bad wicket," said Dhoni. One wonders what he told Chetan Chauhan, chairman of the Delhi pitch committee, when the two chatted later.

No doubt, while Cheteshwar Pujara and Virat Kohli were batting, it looked a good surface.

Visitors psyched out
But the track psyched the Aussies out. Overheard at the ground, "Allan Border wanted to know the man responsible for it in his commentary cubicle and Sunil Gavaskar sheepishly named his former opening partner."

Watson's first part of the 19-minute long presser had a fair chunk of wicket talk. "Wicket was doing a hell of a lot. Some balls were keeping very low and some were taking off. Conditions were very foreign. It had inconsistent bounce for spinners," he said. Though, he like some others in his team fell to a bad shot.

The cracks were visible two days before the Test. Daljit Singh, the head of BCCI's pitch committee, had refused to speak then.

But an official explained on Sunday. "It had not been watered for long. They had even used a rake and filled the cracks temporarily."  Others added the home team wanted a turning track. Whatever the case, the deprived fans and Aussies felt cheated, but those in the stands, MSD's boys and local officials had no complaints. "Leave it. Glad this venue saw a historic 4-0," said DDCA vice-president CK Khanna.


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