Green Park curator Shiv Kumar has defended the wicket on which New Zealand bowlers took nine Indian wickets on the first day of the first Test.Before the match started Kumar had said,”If you don’t play a risky shot, you won’t lose your wicket. One has to apply himself as there will be equal opportunities for bowlers and batsmen.
The words came true as India’s captain Virat Kohli tried to play a hook shot early and paid the price by losing his wicket. After the first day, Indian coach Anil Kumble summed up the pitch as a “typical Kanpur pitch, low and bouncy”. He also said the wicket would help the spinners.
On Wednesday, Kumar and his men had checked the bounce on the strip before giving it over to match referee David Boon. Prior to that Kumar had allowed local bowlers on the pitch to check the turn and bounce and seemed quite satisfied after they were done.
From the very first session, there were puffs of dust but there were no cracks on the pitch. The ball neither turned dramatically off the wicket nor did it move in the air. But just before the end of days play, a delivery from left-arm spinner Mitchell Santner kept low and almost got the better of Ravindra Jadeja.
“It’s a difficult wicket to bat on as it’s on the slower side,” Murali Vijay was quoted by Hindustan Times.”It’s going to be difficult for them also. We have quality spinners like Ashwin and Jadeja and this surface will help them in getting wickets. It’s a good total to defend.”
The strip has also left Kumble concerned. India have picked six batsmen and two spinners on a pitch that is known to turn. Before the game, Kumble had a good look at it and even held a short discussion with Kumar. Reportedly, Kumble was had spotted cracks and footmarks on the pitch.
Santner who got much purchase from the wicket on the first day acknowledged the fact the wicket had something for him.“I knew there was something for me in this pitch so I kept hitting the right spot,” Santner who finished with three for 77 said.
Shiv Kumar defended the pitch saying,“The bounce and pace was good. The dust is there due to the hot and humid conditions, but it will improve as the weather got better in the second half of the day.”