In recent times, whenever we have had Test cricket on Indian soil, the spinners have dominated proceedings. Indian batsmen, as well as the ones touring have come to face a highly unequal state of affairs in terms of pitches on offer. The pacers have often been sidelined, unless reverse swing comes into play.
Sunday, at Eden Gardens, was a welcome departure from this trend. As play got underway, the Indian bowlers showed the same desperation New Zealand had shown on Day Two, in a bid to get the tail out quickly. Jeetan Patel had other ideas though, as he swung his bat around for a while.
R Ashwin bowled only eight overs in New Zealand’s first innings, perhaps the least he will bowl in the first innings of a Test in this long home season. Yet he got the breakthrough from the partnership between Patel and BJ Watling that threatened to bloat. His delivery to Patel, one that drifted away after pitching, showcased enough that the pitch had become a tad slower, given this was the third morning.
There was variable bounce on offer though, and it had enough for the pacers. Perhaps Virat Kohli missed a trick herein, as he used Ravindra Jadeja in between turning his pacers around.