Australia’s stand-in captain Steve Smith on Wednesday said that the pitch for the fourth and last Test match against India in Ahmedabad would be slightly different to the first three pitches and added they might receive opportunities for bigger totals on this wicket. The fourth Test between India and Australia will begin on Thursday in Ahmedabad with hosts aiming to book their place in the ICC World Test Championship final with a win.
While Australia currently trail India 2-1, they showed plenty of spirits when winning their first Test match on Indian soil since 2017 when they registered a comprehensive nine-wicket triumph over their rivals in Indore.
“This wicket may be a little bit different. I just had a look at it then. Perhaps it may not spin as much from the first ball or the first day but I do think it will spin as the game goes on. So yeah, there might be opportunities for bigger totals on this wicket,” Smith said in a pre-match press conference in Ahmedabad on Wednesday.
Smith believes that the fourth Test pitch, in contrast to the first three, when the ball spun right away, might be the day’s flattest track.
“Looks like probably of the four wickets we’ve seen so far, potentially the flattest on day one,” Smith added.
The stand-in captain expects that as the game goes on, the dry heat will cause the pitch to break, giving the player a turn.
“Having said that, it’s I think 38 degrees out there at the moment, it’s pretty hot. Looks like it’ll dry out as the day goes on. One of the groundsmen said they might be watering it again today. So yeah, we’ll wait and see but in terms of the day before, it certainly looks like it’s likely to do less on day one than we’ve seen so far,” Smith added.
“It’s just playing what’s in front of us really, obviously the scores haven’t been big throughout this whole series. India scored 400 In that first Test match and Rohit got 100 and 400 proved to be way too many,” Smith opined.
“We can only play what’s in front of us and it’s been those types of wickets where if you get up over 200 even it’s been a decent total. We’re not fussed or anything, we’ve never complained or anything about the wickets, we go out and play,” he said.
Smith could not recall another instance in which he was unclear of the pitch he would be playing on. The issue that developed on Tuesday in Ahmedabad was caused by Australia leaving the field in the dark regarding which of the two pitches would be utilised for the last Test.
“[There] might have been a couple of [pitches] prepared maybe a bit longer out than two days but I can’t remember two days,” Smith said.
“I didn’t go out and have a look in the afternoon but Alex Carey did. It looked completely different, a lot drier in the afternoon. It’s very hot here, 37 degrees, which gives it a chance to dry out and I think that the cover was on for a bit today. So they’re potentially worried that it’s drying out too much. It certainly changed in a few hours. Having a look today we’ll be able to potentially see what it’s going to do,” the 33-year-old added.
This series is on track to end with the fewest balls bowled in a four-match series with three three-day Tests already completed, and the last one just getting there. Smith, however, argued that the groundskeeper had said this game would continue longer than the others.
Smith used the occasion to take a small dig at some of the punditry who claimed that Australia should have kept three quick bowlers and one spinner on the team to play to their fast-bowling strengths. That was the model which brought the 2004 series victory but on very different surfaces.
“It’s been weird with a bit of the commentary back home, people talking about us playing three quicks and one spinner. It’s kind of mind-boggling to me when we look at these surfaces and we see what we’ve had, 11 innings in six days or something like that, and spinners have taken the bulk of the wickets and you see how difficult it is to play spin,” Smith said.
“It’s kind of odd to hear that kind of commentary, but we’ve had faith in what we’re trying to do and it’s good that we are able to show that we can play with three spinners and win. We weren’t too far away in Delhi either, outside of that hour of madness. Nice to know our plans and everything we are trying to do can work,” said Australia’s stand-in captain.
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