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Border-Gavaskar Trophy: Cracking Kotla pitch back in the news

FILE PHOTO: The Feroz Shah Kotla pitch has been under the scanner since an India-Sri Lanka ODI was cancelled in 2009 after the pitch was deemed ‘dangerous and unplayable’.

New Delhi - The pitch at the Feroz Shah Kotla is in the news again. It has shown signs of cracking on day one of the fourth cricket Test between India and Australia and the experts do not see the match lasting the full five days.

Indian spinners got good purchase off the surface on Friday with the Australians unable to adjust to the variable bounce. Like they did right through the series, Ravichandran Ashwin, Pragyan Ojha and Ravindra Jadeja kept the Australian batsmen guessing.

Eyebrows were raised when a good length ball from speedster Ishant Sharma rose sharply off the cracks to find the grill of Phil Hughes’s helmet. The incident played on the Australian’s mind and in the same over he played on.

The TV commentators, all former India and Australian star players, were spot on. They all thought the pitch had a nasty look and the match may not last long.

V.V.S. Laxman said it resembled a “day three” pitch while Ravi Shastri predicted an early end to the game while giving his pitch report before the toss.

Former Pakistan captain Rameez Raja chose not to comment on the behaviour of the pitch.

“At the start of the match, it looked like a three-day wicket to me, but the cracks are opening up already,” said Raja.

“It would be too early to predict the nature of the pitch. There are cracks, which will provide good turn to the spinners. We need to wait and see before commenting on its nature.”

The Kotla pitch has been a subject of debate ever since an ODI in 2009 featuring India and Sri Lanka was abandoned as it was deemed “dangerous and unplayable”. Following this, Kotla was taken off the international circuit by the ICC and banned for international matches.

Curator Venkat Sundaram was unavailable for a comment.

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