Sunday, November 7

Oh ya...the pitch.

There is a curious combination of condemnation and turning a blind eye to the craziest pitch since New Zealand's consistency in 2002-03.
In India, the joy (relief) at the victory (salvage job) has disallowed any post mortem on the pitch. Like Dravid's 'interesting' quote on the pitch, the pitch is widle ignored while as widely, I suspect, acknowledged deep down, to be the cricketing equivalent of dal makhni with coconut-
i.e. ridiculous.

First off, I am still happily breathing sighs of relief that the final scorecard read 2-1. I am also the first to say that it creates a much better image of the Indian teamthan the real picture. 2-1 tends to be soft water colours painting a soothing image of a good contest, lost. In reality, the stark streaks of oil on rough canvas should serve as fresh wounds for a series hopelessly lost.

But. The Mumbai track. Despite Polly Umrigar's claims
("I do not care what others say, my verdict is that the batsmen did not apply themselves")
you could hardly say that the match was won or lost by great or little skill. There were quiet predictions before the match that it was not a typical looking Wankhede track (The red soil, even on cloudy day one, was there for all to see- powdery despite the grass), and would assist the spinners much more than usual. After Nagpur, that was all but assured. It is just that no one figured this is what would happen. Manjrekar went so far as to say that curator did not want to prepare this sort of track.
A bit late, for that one ol chap. I think there was an earnest effort to produce a turner. Now that, on a Wankhede pitch, was out of the ordinary insofar as it has always been a 'sporting' pitch. There has been assistance for fast bowlers and spinners and batsmen alike. In trying to make it a spiner's paradise, they came up with a minefield. I would like to believe (and hope) that their intention was not to make such a shocker of a track. We will never know that for sure, of course, but it would be a far more palatable (if still unacceptable) explanation. Incompetence would be far preferable to deviousness.

Of course, there are many who don't think so. Ponting is clear he did not believe it was of Test standard, and Roebuck's intensity was more before the crazy final day ( 3), than it was in the final analysis. Or maybe he just didnot want to repeat himself- given he thought it was an appalling track on Day 2, Day 3 would have driven him mad.

There might well be (probably should be) an enquiry into this. Such pitches cannot be deemed acceptable, and whether it is true for this one or not, we cannot provide such ease for underhand pitch preparation. There is a pertinent point from the pundits on what India should (but probably need not) expect when they go Down Under next. I don't think, though, that this is a reflection of the philosphy of Indian hosting of cricket tours.

But the match was still a cracker. Australia still should have gotten those 103 runs. It was exciting, despite the pitch and exciting because of the pitch. Dravid's take is a pretty good one:
it was a fantastic game of cricket, on what was definitely not an ideal Test wicket.

Yet, all said and done, I am glad this pitch was not served up when the series was still in the balance. Now that? That would have been one hell of coconut dal makhni dish.