Former India skipper Sourav Ganguly has come down heavily on the pitches that were used in the first two Tests of the ongoing four-match series between India and Australia.
The first two games at Pune and Bengaluru ended inside three and four days respectively with batsmen finding it absolutely tough to survive on wickets which provided ample turn in addition to variable bounce. In the series opener at Pune, Australia spinner Steve O’Keefe took 12 wickets for 70 runs as the visitors bowled out India for 105 and 107 in both innings to register a massive 333-run win. The pitch was later rated ‘poor’ by match referee Chris Board.
The M Chinnaswamy stadium also offered a similar pitch as Nathan Lyon took 8/50 on the very first day to help his team bowl the hosts out for only 189. India went on to win the match by 75 runs after dismissing Australia for 113 on the fourth day.
“I am disappointed to look at the surfaces, Bengaluru was poor. Bengaluru was poorer than Pune. Pune just spun but Bengaluru spun, it was up and down and it was hitting the boot. In Pune, the bounce for the fast bowlers was consistent but in Bengaluru.. I have never seen this sort of a wicket. Ranchi will turn but it will not be up and down. Spinners will remain in the game and Day 4 and Day 5 will be very very crucial,” Ganguly told India Today.
Former Australia skipper Michael Clarke also expressed his surprise over the way the Bengaluru pitch behaved. The pitch has been given a ‘below average‘ rating by match referee Chris Broad for offering variable bounce.
“Pune was a poor pitch. Bengaluru was a surprise for me. I expected that day 1 and 2 it will be a fantastic pitch and then you will see a deterioration. If I was the Indian captain, I would want the same wicket in Ranchi,” Clarke said.
With the series locked at 1-1, the teams will fight it out to gain an upper hand when they lock horns at Ranchi, where the third Test starts on Thursday (March 16).