Delhi Test: Feroze Shah Kotla pitch under scanner
The Feroze Shah Kotla pitch for the fourth and final Test between India and Australia has come under criticism from the former players, who have termed the track as a "three-day" wicket.
The Kotla pitch, which has cracks on it, saw some balls keeping low, while others flying off after hitting the deck. There were sideways movement from the cracks when pacer Ishant Sharma was bowling from the Old Club house end.
The wicket has typical Kotla characteristics -- slightly slow and is likely to keep low and will turn as the match progresses. With cracks on it, the pitch would provide ample turn to the Indian spinners as the hosts try to inflict a rare series whitewash on the Australians.
Expected to play truant during the match, the Indian spinners is likely to enjoy themselves on a bald, dry surface. Former India mainstay, VVS Laxman, while commentating, described it as "looking like a third-day pitch" and batting should prove more and more difficult as the match progresses.
Another former India player, Ravi Shastri said that the Test might be a "three-day" affair during his pitch report before the start of the play. Former Pakistan captain and noted commentator, Ramiz Raja said, "Earlier, it looked like a three-day wicket to me but now its opening up as the match is progressing.
"It would be too early to predict the nature of the pitch. There are cracks, which will provide good turn to the spinners. We need to wait and see before commenting on its nature," he told PTI.
There were instances when the Australian batsmen found their shot-making difficult. During the fifth over bowled by medium-pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar, the fourth ball of the over hit the crack and broke away to make opener Ed Cowan play and then beat his edge. The ball hit the puff of dust before moving away.
Another instance came in the 21st over of the innings when Ishant Sharma was bowling to Phillip Hughes. It was a vicious delivery that hit the grill of Hughes' helmet from a length after taking the steep bounce.
The ball was slightly short of length, which took off after hitting the deck and crashed into his helmet, making Hughes jump in the air to counter that with feet parallel to the ground.
The delivery unnerved Hughes big time and the same over saw the end of his innings when Ishant disturbed the timbers of the batsman for 45. With a pitch like this, Australia's chances of avoiding a series whitewash looks slim.