Off The Field

Joe Root on 2-day finish to Pink-ball Test: Feel for the fans

Written by Abhishek Patil

England captain Joe Root refused to point fingers a the Narendra Modi Stadium pitch for the 2-day finish to the pink-ball Test against India but said he felt bad for the fans who had turned up in numbers to the world’s biggest cricket venue to watch high-quality cricketing action.

Joe Root said England are not hiding from the fact that they were completely outplayed by India in the 3rd Test but said the Ahmedabad pitch was a very challenging one.

England won the toss and opted to bat but they failed to make good use of the early advantage as they were bundled out for 112. England suffered a late collapse as they went from 72 for 3 to 112-all out. England did well to bowl India out for 145 with Root picking up a 5-wicket haul but they faltered in the 2nd innings, falling to 81-all out and eventually a 10-wicket defeat.

The Pink-ball Test in Ahmedabad was the first since 1912 England lost inside two days as it went on to become the shortest completed Test since 1935.

“Let’s not hide from the fact we have been outplayed. We have to accept that. it’s a real shame, it’s a fantastic stadium. 60,000 people are coming to watch a fantastic Test match and I feel for them. They have come to see Virat Kohli face Jimmy Anderson, Stuart Broad or Jack Leach. Or watch Ashwin against our top guys like Ben Stokes. I almost feel they have been robbed off. They have instead watched me get wickets, which should not be the case. I shouldn’t be bowling. That’s I think was frustrating for a lot of us,” Root told the press after the 3rd Test.

“Credit to India, they outplayed us on that wicket,” he added.

Meanwhile, Joe Root also pointed out that the pink SG ball made it that much more difficult to bat on the Ahmedabad pitch, saying it gathered a lot of pace off the wicket whenever the shiny side of the ball landed on the surface.

Root credited Axar Patel for making use of the conditions to great effect. The left-arm spinner, playing only his 2nd Test, picked up 11 wickets, including two five-wicket hauls to walk away with the Man of the Match award.

“I honestly think the ball had a quite big factor on this wicket. The coating on it, the hardness of the seam, compared to the red SG ball. It gathered pace whenever it hit the shiny side and didn’t hit the seam,” Root said.

“We were actually beaten for pace. If you look at the replay, the batsmen almost covered the line of the ball but because of the nature of the wicket, it had a big part to play.

“Credit to Axar, he exploited that exceptionally well, he found a very good and repeatable method which made it very challenging.”

Having been boxed out of the World Test Championship final race, England will be looking to level the series when they face India in the 4th Test in Ahmedabad, starting March 4.

About the author

Abhishek Patil