England consider formal complaint over state of Ahmedabad pitch

England consider formal complaint over state of Ahmedabad pitch after farcical third Test defeat that saw Joe Root’s men lose by TEN wickets in the shortest ever match since World War II

  • Joe Root’s England side were thrashed in the third Test by India on Thursday 
  • The match lasted just two days as the under-prepared pitch did not cope  
  • The tourists are now considering whether or not launch an official complaint 

England are considering a formal complaint about the Ahmedabad pitch that saw the third Test descend into a farce lasting barely more than five sessions.

Coach Chris Silverwood revealed on Friday he is in discussion with captain Joe Root over England’s response to the second under-prepared surface in successive Tests that saw excessive turn from the start, in breach of ICC regulations.

And, if they decide to press ahead, England will make their second representation to match referee Javagal Srinath following their plea for ‘consistency’ from TV umpire Chettithody Shamshuddin after he twice rapidly ruled in India’s favour on the first day.

England are considering whether or not to launch an official complaint after the third Test

‘We will be talking about certain things behind the scenes,’ said Silverwood when asked about the pitch at the re-built Narendra Modi Stadium on what should have been the third day. ‘We are disappointed to be sat here when there should be three days left.

‘We have spoken to the match referee once but not about the pitch and now Joe and I have to have a conversation and see where we go with it. I’m not in a position to say what we should or shouldn’t do but I’m not saying we just have to accept the pitch.’

England will think long and hard before making their thoughts public about pitches in Chennai and Ahmedabad that led to strong condemnation from Sportsmail columnist David Lloyd, who called the Tests a ‘lottery’ and demanded action from the ICC.

It is a sensitive subject made more delicate by the presence in India during this Test of ECB chief executive Tom Harrison and new chairman Ian Watmore who are unlikely to want to rock the boat with the all-powerful Board of Control for Cricket in India.

But clearly behind England’s diplomacy when asked before now about conditions in India lies disquiet about pitches that have seen them badly exposed by world-class spinners and bowled out for fewer than 200 in five successive innings.

What is clear is England have to massively improve ahead of next week’s final Test if they are to avoid another emphatic defeat and a 3-1 series loss after such a highly promising start with a comprehensive win in Chennai.

England were thrashed by 10 wickets in what was the shortest Test match since World War II

‘The pitch pushed us to extremes of what most of our players, if any, have experienced,’ said Silverwood after 28 of the 30 wickets lost in the shortest Test since the end of the second world war fell to spin.

‘But, whatever the pitch did or did not do, India ultimately played better than us on that surface. Now we have to see where we can make amends and come out fighting in the next one.’

Silverwood defended the selection policy that saw England pick four seamers, including all-rounder Ben Stokes, and only one specialist spinner in Jack Leach and badly misread how the pink SG ball would behave under lights in the day-night Test.

‘We did expect the wicket to hold up longer than it did,’ said Silverwood. ‘Jimmy Anderson and company all got movement with the ball during practice and we genuinely felt we had the right side. We had two bowlers in the world’s top 10 out there (Anderson and Stuart Broad) and we felt it would be a big opportunity for them to make an impact.’

But the coach admitted that off-spinner Dom Bess, left out after the first Test where he struggled for control and bowled a number of full tosses, was back in contention for the fourth Test where victory would give England a creditable share of the series.

‘Dom has played an important part in us winning games in the past and I’m sure he will again in the future,’ said Silverwood. ‘He was only left out of this one because we felt there was potential for us to get seam movement from the pink ball.’

And Silverwood defended England’s decision to send Jonny Bairstow home for 10 days rest following the tour of Sri Lanka after he returned to the side in the third Test with a pair. ‘We’re in strange times and we have to look after our players,’ he added. ‘It was tough for Jonny but it wasn’t just him who struggled on that surface.’

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