The first ever Test match in Pune did not go the way fans would have liked it to. Now, the Maharashtra Cricket Association has also got a negative for the pitch it prepared for the first Test against Australia. Match referee Chris Broad submitted a report to ICC rating the Pune pitch as “poor”. The BCCI has 14 days to reply to the report.
India suffered a 333-run loss in the first Test against Australia and were bowled out for 105 and 107 in the first and second innings respectively. Contrary to this, Australia had scored 260 and 286 in their two innings with Australia captain Steve Smith also scoring a century in the second innings.
Here’s what the players said after match in Pune.
“I don’t think the Pune pitch was any different from the turners that we played on in the past. We just didn’t play good cricket. They exploited it better than us. They put us under pressure throughout and deserved to win this game … there are no excuses. The batsman put us in that position. The batting was not up to standard and certainly how we shouldn’t bat from here on. I would say it was sustained pressure from the Australian bowlers (and) the batsmen need to pull their socks up,” Kohli said at the press conference.
Australia captain Steve Smith said that it was supposed to be in favour of India.
“I think it was certainly a wicket would more likely suit the Indian players. I think it evened up the contest a lot more. We saw the way our spinners bowled on that, they were able to generate good spin and good natural variation out of the wicket. It was up to them (the MCA Stadium curators) to prepare a wicket they prepared a wicket that played in to our hands. It will be interesting to see what they come up with come Bangalore,” he said.
Former India player and spinner Harbhajan Singh said that was not a pitch for Test cricket.
“To be honest, that wasn’t a pitch. Test cricket should last five days. You cannot play on such wickets where anyone runs in to bowl and takes wickets. I have played in over 100 Tests, and I know how hard I had to work to earn every single wicket. When you prepare such a wicket, you are making conditions favourable for the opposition as well. That’s what happened in Pune. When I say a good Test wicket, I mean a strip where the ball does not shoot up from the first day itself.
India (for first two Tests): Murali Vijay, KL Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Ravichandaran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Ishant Sharma, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Umesh Yadav, Karun Nair, Jayant Yadav, Kuldeep Yadav, Abhinav Mukund, Hardik Pandya.
Australia: David Warner, Matt Renshaw, Shaun Marsh, Steve Smith, Usman Khawaja, Peter Handscomb, Jackson Bird, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Matthew Wade, Ashton Agar, Josh Hazlewood, Nathan Lyon, Stephen O’Keefe, Mitchell Starc, Mitchell Swepson.
February 23-27: 1st Test, Pune
March 4-8: 2nd Test, Bengaluru
March 16-20: 3rd Test, Ranchi
March 25-29: 4th Test, Dharamsala