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Pitch or team? English media divided over reasons for Motera debacle

The British media lambasted its cricket team's abject surrender to India in the pink-ball Test

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Indian Cricket | India vs England | Test Cricket

Press Trust of India  |  London 

A view of the Narendra Modi stadium
A general view of the newly named Narendra Modi Stadium on the first day of the 3rd cricket test match between India and England, in Ahmedabad. Photo: PTI

The British media lambasted its cricket team's abject surrender to India in the pink-ball Test, holding the much-debated rotation policy and technical failures of its batsmen responsible for the humiliation even as the Motera pitch also drew some flak.

England on Thursday suffered an embarrassing 10-wicket defeat in the third Test against India on a spin-friendly Motera track to go down 1-2 in the four-match series.

The match ended under two days with the pitch drawing flak from some former players like Michael Vaughan, who called it "not ideal" for

But 'The Guardian' newspaper focussed on England's own shoddy display.

"Inquest into England's two-day thrashing will yield no easy answers," read the headline of its report.

"It is hard to work out what to blame for the disastrous third Test defeat against India when so many things went wrong.

The newspaper went on to pin the blame on the rotation policy, which led to resting of key players during the series, the failure to read the conditions, and "the hangover from the heavy defeat in Chennai last week."

"Then the batsmen's inability to press their advantage when they were 74 for two in the first innings, the systematic lack of exposure to spin bowling caused by the skewed priorities of the ECB, the pink ball, the extreme nature of the pitch and the plain fact that they were up against a better team," the article further read.

'The Sun' called England "inept" and criticised the visitors' selection policy.

"Inept England humiliated in India on an Ahmedabad bunsen-burner with one spinner and four No.11 batsmen," the paper wrote in a column by Dave Kidd.

'Wisden' summed up the defeat saying: "Never in the history of Test matches in this country has English cricket been made to look quite so poor."

But there wer a few newspapers and experts, who squarely blamed the Motera pitch for turning the Test into a two-day contest.

Andy Bunn in his column in 'The Mirror' wrote: "India close to crossing boundaries of sportsmanship with pitch - it was NOT Test cricket"

"Making the most of home advantage is fair enough but this was not a pitch fit for a blue riband, five-day match after England lost to India in the shortest Test match for nearly 90 years."

According to renowned cricket writer Sycld Berry of 'The Telegraph': "This unfit pitch was no advert for - India should be docked World Championship points."

Berry called on the ICC to ban the newly-built Narendra Modi cricket stadium for producing, what according to him, was a sub-standard wicket.

But he fears that world body would not be brave enough to do so as the ground has been re-named after India's Prime Minister.

"By that ICC rule-book, after bureaucracy has run its course, the pitch at the Narendra Modi Stadium should be suspended from international cricket for a period between 12 to 14 months," Berry wrote.

"...why the Narendra Modi stadium will not be banned lies in the name. The ground has just been re-named after India's Prime Minister, who set the project in motion when he was the Chief Minister of Gujarat," he claimed.

"Owing to Covid, the match referee and the umpires are Indians, and it would be naive to expect that they will be dobbing India's most powerful man in it.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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First Published: Fri, February 26 2021. 15:25 IST