Ahmedabad, March 2
England should brace themselves for another trial by spin in the fourth and final Test against India from Thursday, with the home side’s vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane expecting a similar pitch to those in the previous two matches.
England made a bright start to the four-match series, defeating India by 227 runs in the opening Test, but the hosts rallied strongly with comprehensive wins in the second and third matches for a 2-1 lead.
India defeated England by 317 runs in the second Test in Chennai and then completed an extraordinary 10-wicket win inside two days in the day-night Test in Ahmedabad, with spinners from both sides running riot on a helpful surface.
The world’s largest cricket stadium in Ahmedabad will also host the final Test from Thursday, played this time with the traditional red ball.
“I think the wicket will be similar to the last two Test matches. It will be a spinning track,” Rahane told reporters on a video conference on Tuesday.
Rahane, 32, felt it was the pink ball, rather than the pitch, that made it difficult for batsmen to score runs during the third Test.
“Pink ball made the difference, it was coming much quicker off the wicket compared to the red ball. That’s the adjustment we had to make,” said the middle-order batsman.
The Ahmedabad pitch has been heavily criticised by a section of former England cricketers and pundits, but Rahane said the Indian team is not bothered by the comments.
“See, let people speak what they want to. The wickets, when we tour abroad, no one speaks about how seaming they are. They always speak about the technique of the Indian batsmen, I don’t feel we need to take seriously what people say,” Rahane was sharp in his response.
“…You see, when we tour abroad, the first day wicket is damp. When wicket becomes grassy and behaves up and down, then the pitch becomes dangerous but we haven’t complained about it or we have never spoken about it.”
A draw in the fourth Test will be enough for the hosts to seal their spot against New Zealand in the June final of the inaugural World Test Championship, but Rahane said India were thinking only about a win.
“We respect the England team. They are a very good, balanced team,” he said. “We played good cricket in the last two Test matches, England played really well in the first test.
“We are not taking them lightly. It’s another match. We just want to go out there and give our best.” Agencies