A Test match decided in 141 overs? One thing’s for sure, it made for thrilling radio.
In what was the shortest Test match since 1935, India beat England as 30 wickets fell inside two days.
India’s spinners toyed with England
Every ball had a batsman’s name on it and there was an exhilarating sense that anything could happen at any moment.
But as part-time spinner Joe Root wheeled away to celebrate his first ever five-wicket haul against a masterful India side, there was a sense that maybe this wasn’t quite right.
Played in day and night with a pink ball on a dodgy pitch at best, it was all too easy for the bowlers and some of the most skilled batsmen in world cricket had no chance to show what they can really do. You could argue the essence of Test cricket was lost.
Ravi Ashwin took 11 wickets in the match
“It was an interesting surface, we’ve obviously been outplayed and outskilled by India,” Root said reflecting on the game.
“I just think it’s a shame for the people coming to this crowd, this wonderful venue – they’ve not come to see me get five wickets, they’ve come to see the best be the best.
“That’s something for the ICC to look at, it’s nothing to do with us. All I can say is that we’ve been outclassed and need to do better.”
Indeed, England great Mark Butcher has also been left wondering what on earth we’re all going to do over here at talkSPORT Towers for the next three days.
England were totally bamboozled by India’s spin
“I’m loving what I’m watching, but I’m also wondering what I’m going to be doing for the next three days when there should’ve been a Test match on!” he said.
“Poor folks in lockdown looking forward to the match over the weekend will have nothing to listen to on talkSPORT 2!”
Don’t worry Butch, I’m sure we’ll find something.
Former England bowler Steve Harmison echoed those thoughts on entertainment, but suggested traditionalists will have been worried by what they saw in Ahmedabad.
“It’s been great to watch and commentate on. When teams get 400 or 500, we’re all asleep for days, this is brilliant viewing,” Harmy said.
“Is it going to bring people to love the game? Possibly not. Purists will not love what’s gone on here.”
The turn and bounce was almost impossible to predict
Amid questions over what it all means for the future of Test cricket, Darren Gough worries England are already prioritising the white-ball game with their selection policy.
The tourists have rotated heavily in India to give players a break from the bio-bubble, while the hosts have been at full strength throughout.
Gough said on talkSPORT2: “Are we letting white-ball dominate our selection?
“Is Eoin Morgan getting all the power to decide what team he has for certain series rather than Joe Root getting the team he wants to win a Test series in India?
“When you talk about going to India and Australia, they are the biggest two tours for a Test player to test your character and skill levels.
“And England have not had the opportunity to play their best team in India. If I was Joe Root, the captain, I would be absolutely livid.”
KP loved what he saw
But England icon Kevin Pietersen insists increased entertainment can only be good for the game of cricket – and batsmen must rise to the different challenge.
KP told talkSPORT 2: “I think purists will love the fact that Joe Root has gone about an innings in a masterful way. He might get 20 but it’s worth 80.
“That’s why this is such a big series, India defines you as a player. You want to finish knowing you played against the best.”
He added: “If England had won this Test match there is no way we would be sitting here hammering the wicket.
“There was nothing dangerous about this wicket. That is what the ICC look at. If the wicket is dangerous that is when they decide to deduct points.
“Yes there was definitely an overriding ball wins over bat in this Test match but it was a one-off. You are in the sub-continent. When you go to Perth, what happens there?”