India vs South Africa at Nagpur and Australia vs New Zealand at Adelaide show double standards

India vs South Africa at Nagpur and Australia vs New Zealand at Adelaide: 12 wickets on opening day in both matches.

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Two similar matches, but contrasting points of view © Getty Images and AFP
Two similar matches, but contrasting points of view © Getty Images and AFP

The Nagpur pitch which hosted the third Test between India and South Africa came under heavy criticism after 32 wickets fell in two days. India were bowled out for 215 on Day One, while South Africa lost a couple of wickets as well making it 12 wickets on the first day of the Test. The pitch was lambasted by certain ex-players, experts, and others. Incidentally, the first day of the first-ever day-night Test played between Australia and New Zealand at Adelaide also saw 12 wickets fall. So far, somewhat unsurprisingly, there has been no lambasting of the pitch. FULL CRICKET SCORECARD: India vs South Africa 2015, 3rd Test at Nagpur

India and South Africa played on a pitch that was called “diabolical” and a “minefield.” Not so much when India were bowled out for 215, but more when South Africa were bowled out for 79. A number of other ex-cricketers spoke about how the pitch was favouring spin far too much. David ‘Bumble’ Lloyd, Michael Vaughan, Robin Peterson, Tom Moody, Glenn Maxwell, and others were among those intensely critical of the pitch. To their credit, none of the South African cricketers or support staff spoke out against the surface. FULL CRICKET SCORECARD: Australia vs New Zealand, 3rd Test at Adelaide

The truth is, while this was far from ideal Test match conditions, it was not nearly as bad as 79 all-out suggests. The South African batsmen let themselves down in the first innings, hardly showing any backbone in tough conditions. On the other hand, the Indians did not bat particularly well either but Murali Vijay, Cheteshwar Pujara, Shikhar Dhawan, and JP Duminy all showed that patience was the key to survival. In their second innings, South Africa put in a much more secure performance with Dean Elgar, Hashim Amla, Faf du Plessis, and Duminy all managing to hang around. It took Ravichandran Ashwin’s brilliance to help India win. READ: “Diabolical” pitch or not, this is Test cricket!

On a different continent, New Zealand and Australia made history by playing the first ever day-night Test with a pink ball. New Zealand survived 65.2 overs before being bowled out for 202. India had survived 78.2 overs in their first innings. South Africa and Australia lost two wickets each respectively on the first days of the respective Tests. There has been little to no word against the pitch at the Adelaide Oval. READ: The Nagpur pitch deserves all the criticism that comes its way and here’s why

New Zealand do not have express pace bowlers who can fully utilise the bounce in the Adelaide pitch. India happened to have three good spinners who exploited the conditions. To add to that, South Africa batted poorly against them. It is unlikely that Australia will be bowled out for 79 or less on Day Two of their Test. Either way, the conditions at Adelaide will probably not be questioned, and deservingly so. Neither should the conditions at Nagpur. READ: Australia vs New Zealand 2015, 3rd Test at Adelaide: Will the bowlers get their due in first-ever day-night Test?

(Shiamak Unwalla, a reporter with CricketCountry, is a self-confessed Sci-Fi geek who loves cricket more than cricketers. His Twitter handle is @ShiamakUnwalla)

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