Manchester: The scars inflicted by Aussie Mitchell Johnson in the Ashes whitewash meant two words were temporary eradicated from the English cricket dictionary – 'pace and bounce'.
Murali Vijay walks back after being dismissed on 18
But those two words should be inserted back if not in the vocabulary, then definitely in the cricket pitches the moment India arrived on English shores because these two words have allowed England to dominate India in the fourth Test at Old Trafford.
At the end of Day One, Stuart Broad expressed his satisfaction over having to bowl on a pitch with good carry and enjoyed the sight of edges carrying behind the wicket.
Not only has the pace of the wicket made the England bowlers threatening, it has also exposed the weakness in the visitors' batting.
Murali Vijay, India leading scorer on tour, has batted stubbornly and displayed exquisite technique. His ability to leave balls has been splendid.
But here, the pace of the wicket has clearly troubled him. The hands that had been pinned to his body started following the ball. The back foot punch that went along the ground started to fly in the air.
Cheteshwar Pujara, the most accomplished technician, also started playing away from the body. The hop on the back foot was classic, but dabbing at the ball well outside the line of the stumps was uncharacteristic. By the time Pujara came forward, the ball was hitting high on the bat.
Gautam Gambhir has never looked comfortable on a quick pitch and his dismissal in both innings was a result of poor technique.
India should be delighted by the fact they have had to wait three Test matches to play on a pitch that has offered plenty of carry. England on the other hand, must be wondering as to why such pitches were not rolled out earlier in the summer.
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