3rd Test - England Vs India - Ahmedabad - Post Match Review
England captain Joe Root and India skipper Virat Kohli had been warned of the challenges of playing during the twilight zone in day-night Tests ahead of their third Test in Ahmedabad, but neither would have ever imagined that the contest would end in just two days.
Victorious India and dejected England players took a rest on Friday in what should have been the third day of a key five-day clash, with warnings that the farcical result had tarnished the Test cricket format.
Left arm spinner Axar Patel took 11 wickets in only his second Test as India cruised to a 10-wicket victory that put them 2-1 up in the four-match series.
Patel now holds the best match figures in a Day-Night Test going past Pat Cummins who took 10 for 62 against Sri Lanka in Brisbane.
The Ahmedabad Test aggregate of 387 runs is the lowest in a completed Test match in Asia and the lowest overall in the last 74 years.
But the first Test at the new Narendra Modi stadium will be remembered as the shortest one ever played in India.
The first first-class match played at the ground since 2013, it will also be remembered as the shortest completed Test globally since 1935.
The match finished 98 minutes before the end of play on day two, forcing Kohli to term it as the most "bizzare" Test he had played in his career.
Many commentators said Test cricket had been damaged by its 22nd two-day match in Test history, as the longer format fights the mounting popularity of Twenty20 cricket.
"Finished in two days. Not sure if that's good for Test cricket," said former India batsman Yuvraj Singh on Twitter.
Kohli said after the match that batsmen on both sides were beaten for pace rather than turn with the ball skidding on as quickly as it did.
But the debate will continue to rage on about the state of the Ahmedabad pitch where batting, in short, was treacherous.
The batsmen expected the ball to turn on the devilish track, but it kept going straight with 28 of the wickets going to spinners and 21 of them were straight balls that went on to fox the batsmen.
England captain Joe Root, who took five wickets with his part-time off spin, said he felt for the fans.
"They have come to watch Virat Kohli face Jimmy Anderson and Stuart Broad or Jack Leach, and watch Ashwin against our top batters like Ben Stokes. I almost feel like they have been robbed," he said.
Former Australian international Mark Waugh called the pitch "unacceptable".
England great Geoffrey Boycott agreed that his country could not blame the pitch for their humiliating defeat.
"There is nothing in the rules that says what type of pitch should be prepared," Boycott wrote on Twitter. "We had first choice of the surface and they were better than us. Simple."
But Kohli defended the wicket, saying both sides were let down by their batting whilst Rohit Sharma insisted there were "no demons" in the pitch.
Two former England captains - Andrew Strauss and Alastair Cook – did not agree with Kohli.
"We saw a stat that says this pitch has spun more than any other pitch in India," said Cook who led England to a 2-1 series victory on the 2012-13 tour in India. "There's been so many other balls that have gone straight on as well. So that means when it is turning, it is turning miles."
Strauss echoed his former opening partner's remarks and used England captain Root as an example. "We know he is a great player of spin. He is in great form as well. What did he get today - 19? And by the way, that's day two of a Test match," Strauss said.
Former India captain Gavaskar said the pitch was "challenging" but not insurmountable. "It was a challenging pitch, no question about it because the odd ball was turning, the other ones were coming straight," Gavaskar told Star Sports after India's victory.
In case the Ahmedabad pitch is rated poor by the ICC, it will lead to the ground being given three demerit points, but India won't be docked any points on the World Test Championship table.
The 4th Test match starts on the 4th of March 2021 also in Ahmedabad.