India vs South Africa: ‘Typical Indian pitch’ awaits the visitors at Ranchi for 3rd Test

Hindustan Times

Hindustan Times

Author 2019-10-18 14:16:32

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Despite some stunning individual performances, pitch somehow manages to hog its own share of limelight ahead of every Test match in India. India’s third Test against South Africa at Ranchi, slated to begin from Saturday, is no different. The 22-yards at the JSCA International Sports Complex is where everyone’s interests lies before the third and final Test match of the series, certainly not as much as the Pune Test but enough to write about.

This will only the second time that Ranchi will be hosting a Test match. The first one was an India-Australia fixture in 2017 which ended in a draw despite a double ton from Cheteshwar Pujara.

The pitch for that match was a batting paradise. Australia batted first and notched up 451 riding on Steve Smith’s 178 and then India replied with 603. The Australian batters did not appear to be in any sort of discomfort in the second innings either.

The strip for the India-South Africa third Test, however promises a bit more for the spinners.

A member of the ground staff described the 22 yards as “a typical Indian wicket”, according to a report in Indian Express. A thin grass cover on the wicket is expected to aid the pacers in the first day but the spinners will come into play from Day 3 and dictate the outcome of the Test match.

The black soil used to prepare the pitch for Ranchi will definitely not let it to turn into dust bowl but the baking sunlight is sure have its affect as the game progresses.

“It’s a very high quality clay soil that rules out the possibility of the pitch turning into a dust bowl,” the groundstaff said.

The JSCA ground staff have been working on the pitch for the last 15 days knowing that this won’t be a dead rubber by any means. Although India have already won the series with two comprehensive wins in Vizag and Pune but the ongoing World Test Championship means there are 40 important points up for grabs.

India captain Virat Kohli had made it clear that his side would go all out to secure a 3-0 whitewash over the Proteas keeping the World Test Championship in mind.

Based on the conditions, India might look to field an extra spinner in Kuldeep Yadav. The last time they played in Ranchi, Jadeja picked up 9 wickets but India went in with only 4 bowlers. This time it is expected that they will pick five bowlers with Kuldeep being the extra spinner in the side in place of either Ishant Sharma or Umesh Yadav.

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