Motera Pink-Ball Test All Over In Less Than 2 Days As India Crush England By 10 Wickets To Go 2-1 Up!

The pink ball seems to be finding it very hard to have a footing in India despite the enthusiasm and suspense surrounding it! The first ever day-night Test match using this ball was held in November 2019 at the Eden Gardens, Kolkata between India and Bangladesh, and the much-hyped match was all over in two days and 47 minutes with India crushing the visitors and thousands of spectators wanting more, at least 3 days of cricket. And now, the second pink-ball test to happen at the magnificent new Motera stadium, Ahmedabad is over in even less than 2 days, India crushing England by 10 wickets with the India spinners Axar Patel, after his fiver in his debut test in Chennai, taking 11 wickets (two five-wicket hauls) and Ravichandran Ashwin accounting for total 7 wickets thus becoming the second fastest bowler of the world to take 400 Test wickets. Such short-lived pink-ball tests should also raise some concern for the BCCI: with the kind of crowds coming in to watch a cricket test just think of the revenue loss for the days of the game lost!


17 wickets fell today, the second day that is 25th February 2021, compared to 13 on the first day yesterday. Replying to England’s 112 India started the day at 99/3 and just after levelling the score there was a collapse, losing 7 wickets for a final total of 145, yielding a tiny lead of 33 runs. Captain Joe Root made a spectacular display of spin bowling by taking a fiver for only 8 runs, and Jack Leach settled for 4 wickets.  There was much expectation from the famed Indian batting depth to build a match-winning lead on the visitors’ paltry total, but failed in heaps. Therefore, at that point the match was evenly poised.    


England’s second innings turned out to be a bigger disaster with Axar striking with his very first ball and then devouring Bairstow in the same over. England could never recover from those vital blows finally folding up for one of their lowest totals of 81, giving India just 49 runs to get for a win. Openers Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill did that easily enough within one hour of the third session thus ensuring a thumping win by 10 wickets. England is now out of contention for the World Test Championship Final and India only has to make sure of not losing the fourth and last Test match at the same venue to secure its berth.


The hero of the Sydney-save, the hero of the second Test in Chennai Ravichandran Ashwin went on with his outstanding spin bowling completing his 400 wickets in England’s second innings. He has achieved this feat of becoming only the second fastest bowler in world test cricket in his 77th Test, beating Richard Hadley of New Zealand and Dale Steyn of South Africa both of whom took 80 Tests each to complete the capture of 400 wickets. Sri Lankan legend Muralitharan continues to enjoy the first position by capturing 400 wickets in 72 Tests.


Now questions are about how the pitch at the Narendra Modi Cricket Stadium is going to behave in the fourth and last test match between the two countries that starts from the 4th of March 2021. The pitch has been having uneven bounce from the very first day helping the ball turn viciously and it has also been showing cracks or even breaking up at places. Is it the kind of pitch that befits the supposedly the largest and the most modern cricket stadium of the world or is it consciously tailormade for the Indian spinners? Is it going to be more unplayable? How are the curators and groundsmen going to make it ready for the fourth test?  Cricket experts justify it by saying that such a challenging pitch basically tests the application, techniques and the mindset of the players; however, a five-day test match not going beyond two days remains a concern. The first pink-test focused on grass-topped pitches which was a paradigm shift to develop the country’s promising fast bowlers; but the second pink-ball test seems to have put it back to square one. Only time would provide the answers.


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