Prepare for another spin fest, India’s Rahane tells England
March 02 2021 10:33 PM
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Indian batsmen Ajinkya Rahane (left) and Cheteshwar Pujara train in Ahmedabad yesterday.

AFP/Ahmedabad, India

India look to spin out England in the fourth Test on a similar pitch to the one that hosted last week’s two-day match, vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane said yesterday. The hosts demolished England in one of the shortest Tests in history to lead the four-match series 2-1 at the world’s biggest cricket venue — in Ahmedabad.
Both the teams return to the same venue for the final Test after days of intense scrutiny and criticism of the spin-friendly track. “Wicket will be similar to the third Test match and also the second Test in Chennai. Spinning track,” Rahane told reporters ahead of the Test starting tomorrow. Spinners ruled the competition as England were skittled out for 112 and 81 in a day-night game that lasted just 842 balls — the shortest Test since 1935. Former England players demanded answers from the International Cricket Council, accusing it of letting the wealthy and powerful Indian board get away with providing poor pitches.
Rahane said the pitch talk has not affected the Indian players, saying they never complain about seaming tracks on overseas tours. “Talk happening outside is not at all affecting Indian team,” said Rahane. “We are concentrating on what we have to do. When we tour we never complain about pitch.”
It was England’s second successive loss as they bowed out of contention for the World Test Championship final race, but Rahane said India would not be complacent. “We respect England... They are a very good team, balanced team,” he said. “We are not taking them lightly. It’s another Test match and we want to go out there and give our best. Equally England would want to give their best and look to win. We played good cricket in the last two test matches, England played really well in the first test. We are not taking them lightly. It’s another match. We just want to go out there and give our best.” 
Rahane, 32, felt it was the pink ball, rather than the pitch, that made it difficult for batsmen to score runs during the third Test. “Pink ball made the difference, it was coming much quicker off the wicket compared to the red ball. That’s the adjustment we had to make,” the middle-order batsman said.
India need a win or a draw to book a clash with New Zealand in the inaugural World Test Championship final and Rahane said they will go for an outright victory.
England opener Zak Crawley said the tour has been a “great learning curve” for up and coming players looking to make a mark. “It’s a great learning curve, not just the on-field stuff but the off-field stuff,” said the Kent batsman, who stood out with his 53 in England’s first innings of the third Test.
“I’m fortunate I don’t have social media but I’ve heard from a few of the lads who do that quite a bit was said about that game,” he added. “That’s one of the biggest differences to county cricket, dealing with exterior pressure people put on you and that you put on yourself because you want to do well.”
The 23-year-old Crawley said a good first innings total can make England bounce back on what he also believes would be a “similar pitch” from the previous match.
“There’s definitely a way back, we’ve already won one and we’re only one game down,” said Crawley, who smashed 267 in his maiden Test century against Pakistan last year. “We had a great Test in the first. It’s going to require a good first-innings lead and that needs us to bat really well.”



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