India's Ashwin hits out at Vaughan and Pietersen's criticism of pitch

India spinner Ravichandran Ashwin hits out at Michael Vaughan and Kevin Pietersen’s criticism of the Chennai wicket after series-levelling win over England and says ‘none of our greats talk about pitches having grass’

  • Ravichandran Ashwin delivered a match-winning performance for India
  • The spinner’s eight wickets and century helped India defeat England by 317 runs 
  • But talk was dominated by the deteriorating nature of the pitch in Chennai 
  • Ashwin hit back at criticism of his home pitch from the likes of Michael Vaughan

India spinner Ravichandran Ashwin has hit back at criticism of the pitch after helping his side level the series against England with a 317-run victory in Chennai.

The 34-year-old delivered a man-of-the-match performance with a second innings century – the fifth of his Test career – and overall figures of eight for 96 as Virat Kohli’s men bounced back from their crushing defeat in the first Test.

But the Test match was marred by constant talk of a turning surface on Ashwin’s home ground, where the ball spun from the first session and kicked up dust after the ball had landed.

India spinner Ravichandran Ashwin has hit back at criticism of the pitch in Chennai

The spinner delivered a man-of-the-match performance as India beat England by 317 runs

Ex-England captains Michael Vaughan and Kevin Pietersen were among those to criticise the track, with the former describing it as a ‘stinker’, while the latter predicted India would have lost again had the toss not gone Kohli’s way.

But Ashwin – who is now behind only Anil Kumble for the most Test wickets in India of any home player – responded to such criticism by stating the country’s greats have not complained when they have seen plenty of grass on surfaces. 

‘I’m completely fine with people having opinion, because we’ll also have our opinion when we tour abroad,’ Ashwin said.

‘But we don’t complain or crib, we just get on with it. I’ve never seen any of our greats talk about pitches having a lot of grass, or all these things.

The 34-year-old said people were allowed to have an opinion but that they should be deflected

‘When people come out with such opinion, we should respect them but should be able to magnanimously deflect them away. 

‘It was not like some amazing balls got the wickets, it was more the balls that followed them, or the mind game that was being played.

Home captain Virat Kohli also dismissed such suggestions and pointed to India’s second-innings score of 286 as proof that correct application brought rewards.

‘I don’t think on this pitch it would have mattered so much because if you look at our second innings, on day three, we still applied ourselves and almost got 300 runs again,’ Kohli said.

India captain Virat Kohli (left) also pointed to India’s second innings total of 286 as a defence

‘Both teams had to apply themselves, and that’s what you want in Test cricket, whether you’re playing on spinning tracks or on seaming tracks which have a lot of grass on it.

‘Both teams should be in the game from the first session onwards, and that was exactly the case on this pitch,’ added Kohli.

But it was not long after the first session that former England Test captain Vaughan described the pitch as a ‘stinker’.

Speaking on the BBC’s Test Match Social on Sunday, Vaughan said: ‘Clearly India have panicked after the first Test; they have picked two spinners and the pitch has exploded. It’s not a good Test match wicket.

‘England are trying to be busy and do the right things but it’s very difficult on this kind of surface.

‘The pitch is a stinker for Test cricket. I think spin is great entertainment for the game but I think this pitch has done too much too soon.’  

England’s 2005 Ashes hero Vaughan then got into an argument with Australian spin legend Shane Warne on Twitter over the pitch.

Vaughan had tweeted: ‘It’s entertaining cricket as things are happening all the time but let’s be honest this pitch is a shocker… No making any excuses as India have been better but this isn’t a Test Match 5 day prepared pitch.’

Warne responded: ‘The toss was more important to win in the 1st test than this one, as it did nothing the 1st 2 days. Then exploded.

‘This one has been a turner from ball one. Eng should’ve bowled India out for 220. No different between spinning or seaming & Rohit [Sharma] showed how to play on this surface.’

Vaughan disagreed with Warne and replied: ‘It didn’t do anywhere near as much for 2 sessions… Spun but not like what it’s doing now… India would have drawn the first Test if they had batted anything like in the 1st innings… This isn’t a good Test match pitch.’

Former England batsman Kevin Pietersen also suggested that India had panicked after the first Test defeat.

He tweeted: ‘Such a brave wicket to prepare for a Test match IN India when India are down in the series. If India had lost the toss, they’d have gone down 2-0. Very very brave! Well tossed, @imVkohli.’

Sir Alastair Cook, also speaking on Test Match Social, meanwhile said: ‘I have no problem with a pitch ragging from day one if it is consistent spin. This is not consistent spin. It is not skill of a bowler.’

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