Unless there are batting calamities, Rajkot Test headed for draw: Shishir Hattangadi
No-win, no-loss scenario result expected on Sunday, but batters will not be too unhappy, and both teams can take plenty of batting positives into a long series
England’s vice-captain Joe Root thrived on fine batting conditions At Saurashtra CA Stadium in Rajkot on Wednesday. Pic/Getty images
At the end of Day Three of the Test match there seems to be a ‘no win, no loss’ situation. Winning the toss and capitaising on dropped chances, England have been able to build self confidence that they are playing on a pitch that I dare say they wouldn’t have expected in India. Rajkot has always been a batsman’s haven.
If Cheteshwar Pujara and Ravindra Jadeja have caught the eye in their early days, they have a lot to thank the Rajkot pitch’s batting friendliness.
Three England batsmen getting a hundred (Joe Root, Moeen Ali and Ben Stokes) is a huge confidence-booster at the start of a long Test series.
Root has shown he is one English batsman who will draw fans to watch Test match cricket. His hundred at the start of this series has set a trend of sorts that the others will bat around him in case Alastair Cook were to fall early.
Ali is very Asian in his approach — all wrists, flair and free flowing strokes. His ton mirrored the intent of the English batsmen on a good batting surface.
Stokes was a tad lucky but his innings showed authority and positivism of the new age batsman.
Not perturbed by the chances he went onto make India pay and his hundred gave him enough time to study the Indian bowling. This is always helpful at the start of a long series.
Being out in the field for the better part of two days is tough on the openers especially when they have to bat out the last few overs.
Gautam Gambhir and Murali Vijay started well but just when one was hoping for a impact comeback by Gambhir he succumbed to what might seem a technical deficiency that often creeps in with a stance that could encourage the head falling over and inducing one to play across the line unless one is conscious of what could happen more often than not.
Vijay and Pujara complemented each other. Both solid, authoritative in control even when defending. Pujara was struck a few times on the head, a technical hiccup that will be stored safely in the hard disk of opposing teams for regular reference, but this slow Rajkot pitch was quick to allow the bowlers to forget the line of attack after one spell.
Barring that, Pujara has looked assured and certainly been able to keep up his healthy conversion rate.
The pitch seems a good friend for batsmen as of now. Unless, there are batting calamities, this Test match may pan out to be a draw with both teams taking plenty of batting positives into a long series.
India have to be less hospitable in the quality of pitches it offers to the opposition and the quality of fielding to give them what we now term as ‘home advantage’
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