Turning Tracks Are Criticized More Often Than Seaming Ones: Pragyan Ojha
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Turning Tracks Are Criticized More Often Than Seaming Ones: Pragyan Ojha

Pragyan Ojha questioned the reason behind seaming tracks that assist pacers in England, where Tests sometimes finish inside 2 or 3 days, are considered to be good, and turning tracks in India favouring spinners are slammed on a consistent basis.

Former off-spinner Pragyan Ojha on Thursday hit back at critics who have been slamming the pitch and conditions in Ahmedabad where India won inside 2 days against England to go 2-1 up in the four-match series.

Pragyan Ojha (AFP PHOTO)
Pragyan Ojha (AFP PHOTO)

Pragyan Ojha: Definition Of A Test Match Is One Have To Be Tested On Any Surface

India beat England by 10 wickets in the final session on the second day of the Pink-ball Test to knock the visitors out of the race to qualify for the ICC World Test Championship final.

Experts and former England cricketers like Kevin Pietersen and Michael Vaughan have been vocal about the pitch conditions in the Test series so far in offering at Chennai and Ahmedabad. But Pragyan Ojha questioned why seaming tracks are considered to be good and turning tracks in India are slammed on a consistent basis.

“Please talk about Stuart Broad’s 8 for 15, the wicket that he was bowling on in that match. What kind of a wicket was that? If the Test finishes in 2 or 3 days in seaming conditions where there is grass that’s absolutely fine. But the moment it starts turning and bouncing, that’s when you say its not a 5-day wicket or a Test-match wicket.”

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)

“Definition of a Test match is – you have to be tested on any surface. It is not written that you will be tested on seaming track and not on tracks which is assisting the spinners,” Ojha said on Sports Today.

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’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.

Pragyan Ojha: Indian Bowlers Were Focussed On The Line And Length

Pragyan Ojha explained that Indian spinners were more successful than their English counterparts because they stuck to better lines and lengths on the turning surface. 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.

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

“Our bowlers were brilliant but if you see the line and length, every ball that Ashwin and Axar were bowling it was hitting the stumps. When you’re playing on a turning or seaming track, when you see the ball jumping and turning, it is easy for you to get distracted. But our bowlers, they focussed on the line and length, that’s when you get the LBW and that’s when the ball which turns away or comes in will be more effective,” Ojha concluded.

Team India now needs only a draw in the final Test, also in Ahmedabad from March 4, to reach the WTC final against New Zealand in June. England is out of the race while Australia may go through if India loses the 4th Test.