The Pitch - India v England 3rd Test

Majorrage said:

One of the worlds besting sporting pundits wholly agrees with me that the last match was nothing short of a complete farce.

I’m not going to pretend that was a role model pitch or that we want a lot of 2 or 3 day tests but the pitch is being bandied about, as is typical nowdays, as the defining reason for a contest which has left one side disappointed and having to cop an ugly loss which extinguishes the opportunity to play for the pinnacle at Lords. And, like everyone nowdays, whenever encountering a disappointment ya gotta blame someone or something else!

Agnew, indeed one of the better pundits, does this, in the voice of General Melchett, in this one piece, but his analysis is paper thin and cherry picked. What DRS and pre match team selection has to do with how the pitch played is beyond me.

So for my own amusement (and not a serious rebuttal mate:thumbs_up: ), let me offer why Agnew is being a whiney biatch.

Agnew in italics

Not every Test must reach the last hour of the fifth day, but it is scheduled to be a five-day match and therefore you are supposed to prepare conditions in which that is possible.

No, Jonathan, and the only way the game goes for any length of time is because of batsmen. That’s the one special ingredient test cricket has. It takes hours to build a score and minutes to knock it down. The best batting performance takes hours and the best bowling is done in minutes. You want 5 day tests (an anomaly these days btw), then the batters better bat for 5 days, otherwise the bowlers will, by necessity wrap it up in minutes.

As I said last week, there is now an opportunity for people in England to watch Test cricket on free-to-air television and I, like many others, need to stick up for the game.

Oh so England has to win for the “game” to flourish? Did you have to “stick up” for cricket after the first test?

I must admit that this pitch was not quite as bad as the Chennai one, where there were great lumps coming out almost from the start.

That’s ahh…umm… the same ground that hosted the first test when England made 578 isn’t it? Only 2 grounds will be used for this 4 test series - covid don’t you know, so let’s begin a cruddy pitch crusade with a sample size of 2 in a global pandemic then?

It is not in Test cricket’s interest to have games end so quickly and played in a way where survival and scoring runs are extremely difficult.

I also mentioned last week that the International Cricket Council (ICC) should act and take points off teams in the World Test Championship if pitches are prepared that are not going to last.

Adelaide’s fucked then! That shitty wicket rolled a team for 36 in about an hour and a half. Aussie no longer a threat to us in Lords as the points stripped from them will plummet their standings.

But the ICC seems to be sitting on its hands and not doing anything.

Let’s be fucken clear here Aggers. That test was ALL about the England 2nd innings of 81. There’s no way in the world you were pissing and moaning at 4:30pm India time on Thursday. At the halfway stage the teams were nigh on equal. A paltry 33 run lead is even stevens for any test match. The bottom lip dragging sulky moaning at the foreigners was all about only managing 81 runs at the business end of a test.

And what about the shots played during that 80 fucking 1? How’s Crawley going back to a forward defence for a king duck? What did the pitch do to Bairstow to compel that god awful swipe first ball while his team was 1 for none (in literal minutes)? Hit in front and surviving through the, later, vaunted DRS? OK Jonny, you get a second chance to show your batting prowess… the cunt couldn’t even play a rudimentary forward defensive shot! A theme that permeated the innings.

So, now, None for 2 after only minutes of play, (fuck we’ve got to go 5 days to finish our “rostered shift”) and it’s time for the most over used cliche in all sport - “it’s called a test because it’s a test of your physical and mental character”.

Ok English batsmen, it’s step up time.

So Root and Sibley showed a glimpse and it was good. The order of the day was different. Quick singles, subdued wristy angles of the bat, playing straight and scampering. Looked good, looked tough too but there’s a baying crowd and it’s “test” time. Sibley impatiently tries to hoik a full ball outside off over midwicket and is caught behind and burns a review and one wonders how the dusty pitch has planted a pathogen in Sibley’s decision making processes. Cue further swipes across the line and “How not to” videos of playing a forward defensive shot - bat behind pad? bat in front of pad? Gap between bat and pad? All the way forward? Little bit forward? Go back to a full one and read it off the pitch?

In the oppressive and dour past the forward defensive shot was the first one learned. Everything came after mastering that one. No “see ball hit ball” when we were nurturing players to bat 5 days. Now, its the opposite. Bash the ball and we’ll sort out defence later. The result, we’ve got Brendon McCullum swash-buckling mixed with his self confessed substandard defence. Why does Pujara stand out in the world as a peculiar style of batsman? How come Steve Smith and Marnus wasted NZ in Australia? What was different about the number of balls faced? Why are Kane’s long innings special? How many forward defensive shots in those?

Nah, mentally, technically and strategically England bottled it in their 2nd innings. They drew level and then bottled it big time. Another 70 runs and they would’ve been in a fine position to exert pressure on India and win. The pitch forced the game to have low scores but it didn’t force England to get half of par in the second dig.

Jofra Archer reviewing his amateur hoik was one example of how England talked themselves out of this one - probably at the 10 minute mark when they watched Bairstow throw the whole thing away. “The pitch has got in their minds” was a rare decent call from Gavaskar in the commentary.

I’m enjoying this rush of pomposity 😃

Is Joe Root, a part-time off-spinner who averaged 47 with the ball before this match, really a bowler who should be taking 5-8?

Did you see the 5 balls that got wickets? Pretty good ones - landed in the right area. Is there a judgement on a bowler’s worth to bowl 5 particular, successful balls in a spell? Joe Root is incapable of getting a bag of wickets? Pesky pitch and conspiracy Indian tailenders.

"England showed a lot of spirit to get back into the game by bowling India out for 145 and limiting the first-innings deficit to 33, but it was also clear to see the tourists had brought with them the scars from the second Test.

On a number of fronts, it was clear they had not recovered from the experience of a 317-run hammering last week - and that contributed to their demise."

Damn pitch has cut them now too!!

England’s batsmen kept getting bowled by the straighter ball off the India spinners, with left-armer Axar finishing with match figures of 11-70 and off-spinner Ashwin 7-72.

Is “forward defensive shot” hate speech in England now? Probably…

"England, for the second consecutive game, also showed their frustrations with some of the third umpire’s decisions.

There were two instances on day one: a slip catch by Ben Stokes which was deemed to have been grounded and a Rohit Sharma stumping appeal in which the TV umpire did not seem to check all the available angles"

Goddam pitch worshippers in the officials box, brainwashed into poor tv screen manipulation by the bloody pitch - won’t someone please stick up for the game"?!

But England were complaining about the third umpire to the people in the middle, who have nothing to do with what the third umpire does. It was quite bizarre behaviour.

Well it’s the pitch Jonathan. Like white noise, LSD and dog whistles, it gets into your mind and the damage is palpable. Something must be done!

"I do not blame them for picking the side they did, with only one frontline spinner in Jack Leach. In England’s strongest XI you would have pace bowlers James Anderson, Stuart Broad and Jofra Archer.

In the planning of this Test they would have just assumed it would swing a lot more and not spin as much."

You don’t blame them for not understanding Indian conditions? No groundsmen or local advice given? Just pretend we’re playing in Brisbane, Adelaide, Hamilton or Headingly?

You know what happens when one “assumes” Aggers? Bloody pitch, shattering assumptions.

But the lack of depth in batting was also a big issue, especially when you have Archer coming in at number eight. Once you are six down, you are pretty much all out.

YYaaayyy you mentioned the batting - but not the performance, just an abstract notion.

So fuck off Agnew. Tea time on Thursday you would have been cock a hoop, then your team batted worse than amateurs (in trying, challenging conditions for sure) and you lost and now it’s “something must be done!!” time.
Piss off with your blame game and I suggest a few more hours for the players to practice, perfect and think about the game - we don’t need you to “stick up for the game” every time you play like weaklings and lose. It’s not called a test for nothing, you know


That was somewhat cathartic 😉

Another angle - imagine a rugby game where it’s 81 nil at halftime. Do we change the rules or take a close look at the fucking tackling?

That pitch ain’t great but the issues of this expedited game aren’t simply one dimensional like “pitch bad”. As we refuse to believe these days, there’s more complexity to things than our bipartisan brains are willing to entertain.

On a unifying and inclusive note, we now have a 2 dog race for our opponent in June. We can cheer for India or Australia (an England win) next Thursday, so choose wisely and don’t be overcome by internal bias and prejudice 😃

cheers rage, rant over

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