India and England are both bracing themselves for a square turner in the fourth and final Test – a surface that will be dry with puffs of dust.
After England’s Ben Foakes said on Sunday that the pitch would aid vicious turn from the start in the fourth Test, India vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane too admitted, “the wicket will be similar to those in the second and third Tests.”
India’s insistence on having a surface like it was in the second and third Tests also confirms that England have not filed any official complaint. The visitors have not even criticised it in media briefings with spinner Jack Leach saying that it will be bad to take anything away from India.
“I think the wicket is very similar compared to what it was in the third Test as also the second Test that we played in Chennai. The wicket (for fourth Test) will be similar. A spinning track,” Rahane told the media on Tuesday.
Things though may not be as tough as it was in the third Test since this Test sees a return to red-ball cricket after the pink ball Test last week ended inside two days.
“The pink ball was coming much quicker off the wicket compared to the red ball. That is the adjustment we made but as I said the wicket will be a lot similar to the ones in the last two matches,” added Rahane.
While Rohit Sharma has been the standout performer, others have struggled to get a big score even though batsmen like Rahane and skipper Virat Kohli have scored some fighting half-centuries.
Rahane attributed it – especially the poor show in third Test’s first innings – to lack of cricket by India at home.
“You know that and we have not played too many games in India in the last 2-3 years. I think we last played a Test (against a top team) in India against South Africa in 2019. When we practiced, we decided to focus on playing spin bowling. Because in India you get those wickets,” he said, and conceded that they have not had enough matches at home under their belt in recent years.
“When you play on spinning tracks, you have to play the line. It all about playing the line rather than thinking about it. Backing your defence and backing your ability on spinning and seaming wickets is the key.”