Writing in his column for the Daily Mail, Nasser Hussain believes that even though the pitch for the third India-England Test fell short of providing a fair bout between bat and ball, the visitors can’t use this as an excuse for the defeat.
The third Test finished within two days as the spinners of both teams wreaked havoc and picked up 28 wickets of the total 30 wickets. In his column, the former England captain commended the Indian spin duo of Axar Patel and R. Ashwin.
“I don’t believe the Ahmedabad pitch provided a fair contest between bat and ball – but neither do I believe England can use that as an excuse for losing the third Test. India’s two spinners – Axar Patel and Ravichandran Ashwin – exploited the conditions beautifully. Patel with his pace and accuracy, Ashwin with his clever variation. But for batsmen on both sides – and don’t forget India were bowled out for 145 – it was an exhausting business. It was fun to watch, but probably less fun to play. And let’s face it, if Joe Root is taking five for eight, you can hardly say the pitch is a belter,” wrote Nasser Hussain.
According to Naseer, England lost the game due to their terrible batting collapse in the first innings. “Having said all that, England should expect little else when they come to India. And they ought to have done better after winning the toss. Above all, this game told us a lot about where England are as a Test side in these conditions. There’ll be a lot of discussion about the pitch, and the hasty decision-making of the third umpire, and so on. But that’s for others to discuss. The bottom line for England is that they won a good toss, and collapsed from 74 for two to 112 in their first innings. In the end, that’s what cost them the Test,” added Nasser Hussain.
Finding fault with the visitors, Nasser said that England kept making the same mistakes against Axar Patel.
Patel who made his Test debut in the second Test at Chennai picked 11 wickets playing in Ahmedabad.
The left-arm spinner got the ball to turn and skid from the same point while playing at his home ground was an added advantage.
Nasser lauded Patel’s accuracy while underlining the batsmen’s lack of application against him. “England ought to have been more alert to what Patel was trying to do. It’s a bit like when we batted against Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis in their pomp, and they’d get the reverse-swinging yorker going. Our plan – and it wasn’t always successful – was to guard against the one that crushed us on the toe. We realized that was the danger ball, rather than the one that went away outside off stump”, Nasser Hussain wrote.
The former England captain added, “You try to protect yourself from the danger delivery, and it felt as if England kept repeating the same mistake against Patel. Take nothing away from India’s spinners, though.Patel’s accuracy is mind-boggling, and part of England’s problem was that he gave them nothing to hit, which meant natural variation came into play.”
The final and fourth Test of the series would be played at the same venue and would start from March 4 onwards.