IND v AUS: ICC rates Bangalore pitch ‘very good’

Cricketers at practice session
David warner inspecting bengaluru surface before the start of second test.

NEW DELHI: After the Pune pitch fiasco that saw India losing the opening Test match against Australia by 333 runs and International Cricket Council (ICC) subsequently rating it as ‘poor’ due to imbalance between bat and ball, the Bangalore wicket has turned out to be a face saver for the Indians in many ways.

According to top sources, the ICC has rated the Bangalore pitch to be ‘very good’, just below the ‘excellent’ rating mark. The other categories of ratings are ‘good, average, below average, poor and unfit’ in accordance with Clause 3 of the ICC pitch and outfield monitoring Process.

Sources also said that match referee Chris Broad, who had rated the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium surface a ‘poor’, was also happy with the fact that the Bangalore Test went on for four days and offered plenty of turn and bounce for the spinners. The Indian team too expressed happiness after levelling the series in Bangalore.

And by opting for a rank turner against Australia in Pune, Virat Kohli’s men wanted to repeat the South African show, which saw the hosts destroying the Proteas completely towards the fag end of 2015 by a 3-0 margin in the four-match Test series. According to sources, the Indian team was looking to put the Aussies on the mat in the very first Test, but India’s decision completely backfired and that forced the team management to have a rethink on their strategy.

Sources also said that the team management was planning to finish the Test within three days like it happened during the 2015 South African series at home. Against South Africa, India won two of their Tests in Mohali and Nagpur within three days on rank turners while the last game in Delhi saw India winning the Test series in five days time. The second Test against the Proteas in Bangalore was a wash-out affair then.

It is now emerging that India don’t mind playing the next two matches in Ranchi and Dharamshala on wickets that would give results by Day Five instead of Day Three. “From Bangalore onwards, the team is looking to play on tracks which would turn from Day Three and not from Day One,” a team source said on Monday.

When TOI tried to get in touch with Indian coach Anil Kumble, he wasn’t available for comments. But a source confirmed India’s way of handling the Aussies in the ongoing series and said that the hosts don’t mind slogging it out there for five days to win the series from here.

“The team decision to play on a turner in Pune was taken to put pressure on the visitors from the word go. But the toss became an important factor. After Pune defeat, the team is banking on kind of tracks which won them Test series against New Zealand and England,” the source added.

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