In the ongoing India VS England test series, The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has relieved the curator of the Chepauk pitch after the pitch received criticism from Indian skipper Virat Kohli. The pitch was curated by the BCCI central zone curator Taposh Chatterjee but it was heavily criticised for not giving bowlers any opportunity in the first Test against England. The ongoing India VS England Test series is a 4-Test series with the visitors already leading it by 1-0.
The Facts of the Matter
During the first Test match against England, team India commented that by the time their innings came, the pitch had already started to deteriorate. Although, it should be noted that not a single dismissals were caused by the nature of the pitch as team India had already conceded a huge first-inning lead.
Later as the match progressed, it became clearer that Team India and its management remained unhappy with the pitch. Veteran pacer Ishant Sharma, who recently became the third Indian fast-bowler to take 300 Test wickets, labelled the pitch “a road”.
Even England fast-bowler Jofra Archer supported Indian bowlers’ claim and criticized the pitch saying it was the “worst fifth-day surface” he had ever seen. Archer opined in his column for Daily Mail and wrote, “On the fifth day it was probably the worst surface I’ve seen — its orange colour, bits missing, rough patches for the bowlers to aim at,” Archer wrote in his column for the Daily Mail.
Veteran pitch curator Taposh Chatterjee of Central Zone was previously assigned the task of curating the pitch for the second test as well. However, after the massive criticism from both sides, BCCI dismissed him and sent him to work on the pitch preparation in Indore for the upcoming Vijay Hazare Trophy matches.
The Tamil Nadu Cricket Association later confirmed the story with the TNCA secreatary saying, “V Ramesh Kumar will oversee the preparation for the second test.” The development is strange considering Kumar, a businessman, has not prepared a first-class wicket in the past, let alone the wicket for an International Test. According to reports, Kumar will be using the black soil for curating the pitch instead of the previously used red.
Over the past decade, the Chennai pitch has attracted a lot of criticism for behaving strangely due to the mixture of red and black soils after the third day in Test matches and also due to the lack of the grass it comes with.
An official close to the story has said how at grounds in other major Indian cities like Bengaluru, Kolkata, Mumbai, the pitch grass recovers quickly. But in Chennai, due to the fact that there are far too many matches being played there, the grass does not recover as quickly.
Additionally, the Chepauk Stadium groundsmen have been asked to stop watering and thus, it should be interesting to see whether the pitch breaks quickly before the 3rd Day of the Test or not. In the First Test, the pitch was a dry surface that didn’t break till Day 4.
India VS England, 2nd Test, Day 1 Highlights
On the first day of the 2nd Test against Team England, Rohit Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane stitched together a brilliant 100+ run partnership for the fourth wicket and put India in the driver’s seat by the end of the second session of the day.
After disappointing performances in the past few Tests, Sharma seemed to have finally found his form as he went on to bat effortlessly. Sharma’s 7th International Test century came off just 130 balls with an impeccable strike rate. On the other end, Rahane too held on to the pitch with patience and intent to ensure India remained in a comfortable position before lunch.
After the lunch, the batting duo continued displaying their prowess by hitting shots in all directions and kept the England bowlers on their toes. However, Rohit finally fell prey to Jack Leach as he tried to attempt a sweep shot. Sharma played a crucial 161 run knock and gave Indian fans a reason to root for him again. Soon after, Rahane too gave away his wicket to Moin Ali and went to the pavilion with a disappointing look on his face, scoring 67 runs in 149 deliveries.
At the time of writing this article, England looks to be completely dominating as India have lost 6 wickets with 284 runs on board. Rishabh “Spiderman” Pant is not out on 22 runs and he is joined by Axar Patel who is yet to make his first run.
Earlier in the first session, team India got off to a bad start after skipper Kohli won the toss and chose to bat first. Opener Shubham Gill, who impressed Indian fans in his last match lost his wicket in the second over of the innings without scoring a run. Cheteshwar Pujara along with Rohit Sharma tried to steady the boat, however, Pujara got out at a measly 21 runs. Indian fans with bated breath hoped Indian captain Virat Kohli to play an inning to remember, however to their dismay, Kohli also got out on a duck putting India in a disastrous state.