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‘It wasn’t a fair contest’ – when Joe Root criticised a home pitch after an England win

by Wisden Staff 2 minute read

After their defeat inside two days in the day/night Test at Ahmedabad, Joe Root and his teammates – amid wider debate around the suitability of the pitch – were careful not to criticise the pitch outright.

Prominent voices in the game from around the world chimed into the debate. Mark Waugh described the pitch as “very questionable” while members of the current India side, most notably Ravichandran Ashwin, defended the conditions.

A video of a Viral Kohli press conference during India’s series defeat in South Africa in 2018 later resurfaced, showing Kohli not to be drawn into criticising the surfaces his side encountered in what was a low-scoring series that saw neither side post a total in excess of 350 all tour. That video had been used by Indian supporters to show that Kohli, who refused to be drawn into criticising the Ahmedabad pitch, has been consistent in not blaming surfaces for low-scoring Tests in the past.

Similarly, another press conference video, this time of Joe Root, did the rounds on social media three days after the Ahemedabad Test. It showed Root criticising conditions in England’s low-scoring home victory over Ireland at Lord’s in 2019. England were bowled out for 85 on the first morning before eventually sealing a 143-run win after skittling Ireland out for just 38 in the fourth innings of the match.

After the game, Root also said: “I don’t like saying this, but I do think the wicket was sub-standard for a Test wicket. I think we worked really hard yesterday to get ourselves to a score.

“It wasn’t a fair contest, was it? That’s the way I’d like to put it. But, still, the same for both sides, you’ve got to find a way to win. Hopefully we won’t have too many more of these [surfaces] throughout the summer, but if we do, we’ve got this in the bank now to learn from.”

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