IND vs AUS: Green top or rank turner? What can we expect from the pitch for Ahmedabad Test

The day before the Indore Test, India captain Rohit Sharma had brazenly said his team could request a seaming surface in Ahmedabad to prepare for the World Test Championship (WTC) final at Oval in July.

The green-top comment came back to haunt Rohit Sharma and India as they were hammered inside five sessions in Indore.

In the backdrop of the heavy defeat on a turner looms a question of broader relevance and significance. What is the nature of the pitch that suits this Indian team the most? Which surface gives them the optimal advantage over their opposition at home? A decade or so ago, the answer went without saying. Turners and more turners. But less clear is the verdict in the present.

Well a day before the fourth Test, the million-dollar question is what can we expect from the Ahmedabad pitch?

However, it is too early to make a pitch prediction but this is certainly not a ‘sand pit’. All the four pitches that are aligned with the sightscreen have ample grass on it as on Wednesday. Over the years, even the visiting teams have figured out that the true nature of the pitch can only be understood when play starts. The 22-yards in India are known to magically transform from green to brown overnight, colour of the pitch.

However, late in the evening, before a dust storm hit the stadium and there was slight drizzle at night, the garden sprinklers were out. Before the pitches on the central square were covered and went to sleep for the night, they were well-watered. This doesn’t look like a typical dry, crumbling pitch. Finally, for the fourth Test, India might opt for a level-playing field.

In 2021, India had played two Tests at the same venue against England and one of those was over inside just two days on a sharp-turning pitch.

The day Australia handed India a thrashing on a tuner, Rohit Sharma was asked: “Green top in Ahmedabad. Is that still on?” He choked for words, perhaps wishing that he could take his words back from the pre-match press conference, and wore a sheepish smile and produced a platitudinal answer: “Well it’s too early now, we just finished a Test match. We’ll go to Ahmedabad and see what we can do there.”

He stuttered, paused and resumed: “But yeah, we’ll see, we’ll have a chat about this game. What went wrong in this game, and what we can do well in Ahmedabad and not worry about the pitch,” he said. He then classically deflected the question, as he would when offered a leg-stump half-volley. “Honestly this pitch talk is just getting too much. Why are people not asking me about Nathan Lyon, how well he bowled, how Pujara played in the second innings, or how well Usman Khawaja played,” he would rant on.

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