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India v Australia 2022/23

‘Not up to Test standard’ – Indore pitch questioned after sharp turn, low bounce in first session

The nature of the spinning Indore pitch garnered plenty of criticism
by Wisden Staff 2 minute read

The eventful first session of the Indore Test saw India lose their first seven wickets for 84 runs, and restarted the debate around the nature of pitches on offer in the ongoing Border-Gavaskar Trophy Test series.

Discussions around the pitch began long before the first ball of the series was bowled as considerable media attention directed towards the look of the surface in Nagpur. The debate extended to the Delhi Test, where Australia suffered an implosion, losing nine wickets for 48 runs to inside three days. However, the larger criticism was directed more towards Australia’s dodgy approach against spin and less at the surface.

That changed in the first session in Indore, the venue of the shifted third Test after it was moved out of Dharamsala during the series. Upon first inspection, the pitch appeared to have a patch of green in the middle with bareness all around it.


There was considerable turn on offer in the first hour itself, as highlighted by Cheteshwar Pujara’s dismissal. The ball also kept sharply low on occasion, and produced puffs of dust early in the day.

Matthew Hayden, who did the pitch report for the broadcasters, noted that the surface looked like a “day three type wicket” with cracks quite evident around the surface.

Australia brought on Matt Kuhnemann as early as in the sixth over. The left-arm spinner dismissed Rohit Sharma with his sixth ball and Shubman Gill with his eighth, and went on to take a maiden five-wicket haul as India were all out for 109.

“This is why I’ve got a problem with these conditions,” Hayden told Fox. “There’s no way in the world that a spin bowler should come on in the sixth over.

“4.8 degrees [average turn in the first hour in Indore], that’s massive turn. That’s the sort of turn you’d expect [on] day three. You’ve got to give batters a chance… Day one, day two should be about batting.”

“It shouldn’t be a spin bowler’s paradise necessarily, it shouldn’t be keeping low and turning a mile on day one.”

To which, Ravi Shastri replied: “Home conditions”.

Hayden’s former teammate Mark Waugh, on Fox Cricket, said: “The pitch is not up to Test standard.”

Not everyone was complaining though:

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