IND vs ENG: Motera Pitch, India Step Into The 'Unknown' For The Pink Ball Test
India steps into the 'unknown' in the third Test of the four-Test series when they play against England on a fresh pitch of a new stadium in Motera, near Ahmedabad, in a day-night game from Wednesday.
Although the latest pictures of the pitch show that there is a layer of grass on it, India opening batsman Rohit Sharma said that the pitch won't be any different from the one in the second Test that supported spin bowlers.
Since the reconstruction work on the Sardar Patel (Gujarat) Stadium in Motera was completed in February last year, no multi-day matches have been played at the newly laid pitch - partly due to Covid-enforced nationwide lockdown for almost all of the last year.
The only official matches to be played on the virgin pitch were the seven T20 games of the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy this January. But it is the multi-day matches that really assess pitches before it hosts five-day Test matches. That has not happened in Motera and, therefore, it is anybody's guess how the pitch will behave.
Despite the pitch being said to be spinner-friendly, the pink ball is likely to help seam bowlers. It is expected to do more, especially in the twilight period, when it becomes difficult for the batsmen to sight the ball against pace bowlers.
England all-rounder Ben Stokes, who has bowled very little in the series so far - 12 overs in all and just two in the second Test - says he could bowl more in different settings than the first two Tests played at the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai.