England Can't Use Pitch As An Excuse For Losing The Ahmedabad Test: Nasser Hussain

England Can’t Use Pitch As An Excuse For Losing The Ahmedabad Test: Nasser Hussain

Nasser Hussain. (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)
Nasser Hussain. (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)

Nasser Hussain is of the opinion that the pitch for the third India-England Test fell short of providing a fair bout between the bat and ball. However, the former England captain added that the visitors can’t use the Motera pitch as an excuse for the 10-wicket defeat.

Unprecedented scenes unfolded in Ahmedabad as the third Test was finished within two days. Spinners of both teams, including part-time off-spinner Joe Root, wreaked havoc and picked up as many as 28 of the total 30 wickets to fall in the game.

Nasser Hussain
Nasser Hussain (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)

Nasser Hussain Don’t Believe Ahmedabad Pitch Provided A Fair Contest Between Bat And Ball

Writing in his column for the Daily Mail, Nasser Hussain analyzed the ‘exhausting’ Test and commended the Indian spin duo of Axar Patel and Ravichandran Ashwin.

“I don’t believe the Ahmedabad pitch provided a fair contest between bat and ball – but neither do I believe England can use that as an excuse for losing the third Test. India’s two spinners – Axar Patel and Ravichandran Ashwin – exploited the conditions beautifully. Patel with his pace and accuracy, Ashwin with his clever variation. But for batsmen on both sides – and don’t forget India were bowled out for 145 – it was an exhausting business. It was fun to watch, but probably less fun to play. And let’s face it, if Joe Root is taking five for eight, you can hardly say the pitch is a belter,” wrote Nasser Hussain.

Joe Root celebrates taking the wicket of Rishabh Pant with his first ball (Pic: BCCI)
Joe Root celebrates taking the wicket of Rishabh Pant with his first ball (Pic: BCCI)

Nasser Hussain added that irrespective of the discussions surrounding various intangibles, England lost the game because of their horrendous batting collapse in the first innings.

“Having said all that, England should expect little else when they come to India. And they ought to have done better after winning the toss. Above all, this game told us a lot about where England are as a Test side in these conditions.

“There’ll be a lot of discussion about the pitch, and the hasty decision-making of the third umpire, and so on. But that’s for others to discuss. The bottom line for England is that they won a good toss, and collapsed from 74 for two to 112 in their first innings. In the end, that’s what cost them the Test,” added Nasser Hussain.

England was skittled out for 112 in their first innings on a track assisting spinners at the world’s largest cricket stadium. Even Indian batsmen struggled against part-time spinner Joe Root and Jack Leach on the 2nd day with the hosts collapsing from a strong commendable position of 99 for 3 to 145 in the first session mainly due to the England captain Joe Root’s maiden five-wicket haul.

England then was dismissed after scoring only 81 in their second innings, lasting just 30.4 overs with all 10 batsmen falling to spinners Ravichandran Ashwin, Washington Sundar, and Axar Patel. Rohit Sharma (25*) and Shubman Gill (15*) knocked off the required 49-run target in just 7.4 overs to win the match for India.

Nasser Hussain: Axar Patel’s Accuracy Mind-Boggling

Axar Patel, who made his Test debut in the 2nd Test at Chennai, picked up 11 wickets in Ahmedabad. Playing at his home ground, the left-arm spinner got the ball to turn and skid from the same point, creating doubts in the minds of the batsmen. Nasser Hussain called Axar Patel’s accuracy ‘mind-boggling’ while underlining the England batsmen’s lack of application against him as they kept repeating the same mistakes committed earlier.

“England ought to have been more alert to what Patel was trying to do. It’s a bit like when we batted against Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis in their pomp, and they’d get the reverse-swinging yorker going.

“Our plan – and it wasn’t always successful – was to guard against the one that crushed us on the toe. We realized that was the danger ball, rather than the one that went away outside off stump,” Nasser Hussain wrote.

Axar Patel | Pankaj Nangia/ Sportzpics for BCCI
Axar Patel | Pankaj Nangia/ Sportzpics for BCCI

The former England captain Nasser Hussain further added in this regard: “You try to protect yourself from the danger delivery, and it felt as if England kept repeating the same mistake against Patel. Take nothing away from India’s spinners, though. Patel’s accuracy is mind-boggling, and part of England’s problem was that he gave them nothing to hit, which meant natural variation came into play.”

Axar Patel took 11 wickets in both innings combined as he is on a dream run taking 18 wickets in his first two Tests averaging a meagre 9.44. Ravichandran Ashwin is the leading wicket-taker with 24 wickets in 3 Tests while Jack Leach is 3rd on the list with 16 scalps. The 4th and final Test of the series will start on March 4th at the same venue.