The 40-year-old made the prediction after the pitch at the Chepauk started offering prodigious turn on Day 1 of the Test itself.
In a post on his Twitter account, Harbhajan Singh wrote that, in the first session of the first day in Chennai, the ball was spinning as if it was the eighth day of the match.
Apart from Harbhajan Singh, even former England captain Michael Vaughan was left bewildered by the nature of the Chennai surface on Day 1 of the Test. In his tweet, the former spinner described the pitch as a 'beach'. Vaughan observed that if England win the Test, it would be an incredible triumph.
India, after winning the toss and batting first, ended Day 1 of the Test at 300 for 6. Shubman Gill (0), Cheteshwar Pujara (21) and Virat Kohli (0) fell cheaply. However, Rohit Sharma’s splendid 161 and his partnership of 162 with Ajinkya Rahane (67) gave India the upper hand.
Five of the six wickets to fall on the say went to spinners, as Moeen Ali and Jack Leach picked two wickets apiece, while part-time spinner and England captain Joe Root snared one. Moeen Ali’s dismissal of Kohli stood out as he foxed the Indian captain with a well-flighted delivery before breaching his defences.
Indian batsmen knew pitch for the second Test would turn from Day 1
India’s batting heroes of the day, Sharma and Rahane, admitted that they were aware the Chepauk surface for the second Test would offer turn from the first day itself.
Sharma revealed that they prepared for the challenge, knowing the conditions in advance. The Day 1-centurion said at the post-match press conference:
"We knew about how the pitch was prepared. We knew it was gonna turn, and so we had a good few training sessions before the game began, and we trained according to what we were going to expect in the middle. So basically using your feet a lot more, making sure you sweep the ball and those kinds of things when you play on turning pitches. You gotta be proactive. You should be on top of the bowler making sure you are ahead of him was very crucial," Sharma said.
Rahane stated that the Chennai surface represented 'proper Indian conditions' and hailed Sharma for his positive attitude on a tricky surface.