India now just need to make sure that they don’t lose the 4th Test against England, as that will see Australia going through to the WTC final.
However, not everyone was happy with the overall way in which the Test match finished inside two days.
This match has in fact tied the record for the shortest Test ever played in terms of days. In terms of balls bowled (842), it in fact became the shortest completed Test played since World War II and the seventh shortest overall.
The focal point of the criticism was of course the pitch at the new Motera stadium. It assisted spin so much that 28 of the 30 wickets that fell went to spinners, with Axar Patel, playing just his second Test match walking away with the Man of the match award with 11 wickets.
There were big foot-holes near the landing areas of the bowlers on the first day itself when India batted in their first innings. Ground staff had to be called in to level the pitch.
Puffs of dust were seen blowing up every time the ball pitched from Day 1 itself, indicating that the top layer was crumbling.
Yuvraj Singh in fact tweeted to say that if the likes of Anil Kumble and Harbhajan Singh bowled on this pitch they would have reached 1000 and 800 Test wickets.
finished in 2 days Not sure if that’s good for test cricket !If @anilkumble1074 and @harbhajan_singh bowled on thes… https://t.co/xbsm3bbDxO
— Yuvraj Singh (@YUVSTRONG12) 1614263620000
The other school of thought was that if the likes of Rohit Sharma and Zak Crawley could score fifties on this pitch, the reason for the match wrapping up inside two days was more lack of application by the batsmen than the pitch. Former India captain Sunil Gavaskar said -“It’s more about the intent and application of the batsmen. It is a pitch where Rohit and Crawley hit half centuries. England were thinking of how to survive and not how to score runs. “You have to credit Axar Patel for the way he has used the odd ball that straightens. Ashwin and Axar were superb.”
TOI ran a poll after the match asking fans three questions about the pitch. The poll ran for a few hours and had over 16,000 responses.
The results of the votes polled for the third question asked was in fact what was really significant.
The question was: Should the nature of the pitch for the next match be different from the one used in this match?
10386 people who voted said that they did not want the same kind of surface to be used for the next Test that starts at the same venue from March 4.
Former England cricketer Kevin Pietersen echoed the same sentiment when he tweeted to say that he would not like to see the same kind of pitch again and neither would any of the current players.
Ek match ke liye aesa wicket theek hai jaha ballebaaz ki skill aur takaneek ka test hota hai . LEKIN main iss tara… https://t.co/y74JIhbG0T
— Kevin Pietersen🦏 (@KP24) 1614263393000
The votes polled for the ‘Yes’ option in this question were over 6000 more than the ‘No’ option.
4280 votes were posted by fans who want the nature of the pitch to stay the same for the fourth Test
The first question of the poll was: Do you think the pitch mattered more than cricketing talent in the third India vs England Test?
Here too public sentiment was that the pitch played a very big role in the final outcome of the match. There were 8688 votes for the ‘Yes’ option here while 6013 people voted to say that they did not think that the pitch mattered more than cricketing talent in the Day and Night Test.
The other question in the poll was – Every team is entitled to home advantage, do you think India overdid it in this match?
The votes polled here were very interesting and the votes for the ‘Yes’ and ‘No options here were neck and neck.
7597 votes were polled for ‘Yes’, while 7110 people who voted felt that the pitch was not an example of India going too far in securing home team advantage.
The fourth and final Test starts next Thursday at the same venue. What kind of pitch will be on offer is anyone’s guess. Cricket fans though will be dearly hoping that it’s not another blink and you miss it affair.