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India v England: Virat Kohli defends controversial Chennai pitch
- Updated: February 17, 2021
India captain Virat Kohli defended the Chennai pitch after his side’s 317-run win over England in the second Test.
England were bowled out for 134 and 164, losing all 10 second-innings wickets to spin as India levelled the four-match series at 1-1.
A dry pitch was heavily criticised for offering extravagant spin throughout.
“Conditions were challenging for both sides but we showed more application, grit and determination to battle it out,” Kohli said.
“We didn’t panic looking at the amount of turn and bounce on that pitch.
“We trusted our defence, got into the game and scored 600 in two innings combined.”
After England won the first Test by 227 runs on a flat surface, the second was played on a dusty pitch that showed signs of breaking up from day one.
Thirty-two of the 40 wickets fell to spin, with debutant slow left-armer Axar Patel taking 5-60 to complete India’s victory with more than four sessions to spare.
England’s tally of 298 runs in the match was their lowest since 1995, but India made 329 and 286. Rohit Sharma hit a brilliant 161 in the first innings and Ravichandran Ashwin made 106 from number eight in the second.
“Both teams had to apply themselves, which is what you want in Test cricket whether on spinning tracks or seaming tracks which have a lot of grass on it,” Kohli said.
Former England captain Michael Vaughan described the pitch as a “stinker” but said England “have the skill and should have done better”.
Player of the match Ashwin, who also claimed 8-96 with his off-spin, said: “Everyone is entitled to their opinion.
“We will also have our opinions when we tour abroad but we don’t complain. We just get on with it.
“I have never seen any of our greats – be it our coach Ravi Shastri or [former opener] Sunil Gavaskar – talking about pitches having lots of grass.”
India gave England an ‘education’ – Root
England’s highest partnership of the match was the 38 put on for the last wicket in the fourth innings by Stuart Broad and Moeen Ali, who hit five sixes in an 18-ball 43.
Root, who described the wicket as “challenging”, said his side were given “an education” by an India side that have now lost only twice in their past 36 Tests.
“They played very well and outplayed us in all three departments,” he said.
“These are the conditions you sometimes come up against. We have got to find a way of scoring runs and finding ways of building pressure over long periods of time with the ball – bowling six balls at one batter.
“It was a challenging wicket from day two onwards. We have to be smart with how we are going to score our runs out here. We have to learn from the opposition.”
The third Test, a day-night encounter in Ahmedabad, starts on 24 February.