A day into the series, the Indian batsmen came cropper against the South African pace bowlers on a track that was a tad helpful for the pace bowlers. Batting against a battery of good pace bowling, India never got going and collapsed to a paltry 136 all out.
The WACA wicket has been a great advertisement for Test match cricket. And the reason for the same is the fact that it has allowed the bowlers to have an equal say in the game as the batsmen. Probably even more.
The same is the case with the spinning track. So, what is the harm in having another pitch which behaves like the one at Kanpur? The last time South Africa were in India before this year was in 20088 when Kanpur had seen a spinners’ track winning the game for India. The Proteas had cried foul and there were threats to ban the venue from international cricket.
For the records, unlike in this Test match where the Indians had to face their nemesis first up, South Africa had a golden opportunity to bat first. And half way into the first day they were 152/1 – hardly a track that seemed like it was a hopelessly one-sided one. Eight of their top nine batsmen got starts and yet, they were bowled out for 265. In reply, the Indians also batted well enough but could score only 325, before the South Africans wiped the lead off for the loss of two wickets only.
And from that position, the South Africans collapsed to 121 all out. By this time the track had begun to assist the spin bowlers much like the first day track at Centurion looked good for the pace bowlers. How are the two scenarios different?
To me, it looks absolutely certain that the pitches like the one at Centurion and the one at Kanpur must be encouraged. Cannot have double standards.