#INDvAUS: It was a wicket that suited Indian players, says Smith – Australia won an important toss, and the dust bowl then brought their spinners into play as much as the Indian tweakers, and made them equally dangerous as well.
Australians appeal for lbw against KL Rahul (centre) on Saturday (Getty Images)
The Indian team management has constantly sought to take the spotlight away from the pitches in this Indian home season, but if there are surfaces on show like the one in the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium here, there is bound to be some focus.
Two days before the Test match, there were few signs that the surface would turn out to be the way it did. It was firm with a little sprinkling of grass on it. But it was all chopped off, resulting in the pitch drying up quite a lot on the eve of the game due to the peak heat.
It meant the ball would start spinning from really early on in the Test, and that's exactly what happened. Australia won an important toss, and the dust bowl then brought their spinners into play as much as the Indian tweakers, and made them equally dangerous as well.
"I think it was certainly a wicket that would more likely suit the Indian players," Australia captain Steve Smith said after the match when asked about his thoughts on the wicket.
"I think it evened up the contest a lot more. We saw the way our spinners bowled on that, they were able to generate some good spin and good natural variation out of the wicket.
"So, it was upto them to prepare a wicket, and they prepared a wicket that actually played into our hands," the Aussie skipper added.
India captain Virat Kohli, though, downplayed the pitch talk.
"I don't think it was any different from the turners that we played in the past. You can ask me any sort of question or any perception about the loss. External perceptions don't matter to us, they have never mattered to us," he said.
That said, the pitch here has given India much more than the headache of just the defeat. They must now wonder whether a rank turner is still their best bet against the Aussies, or flatter tracks that spin much later like the ones on offer in the England and Bangladesh series.
"It would be interesting to see what they come up with in Bangalore," Smith said.