India vs England: Amid Ahmedabad pitch controversy, Jack Leach admits that England were outplayed

England’s left-arm spinner Jack Leach on Monday (March 1) heaped praises on India and spinners Ravichandran Ashwin and Axar Patel for outplaying England in the third Test which the hosts clinched by 10 wickets in Ahmedabad.

Since the end of the pink-ball Test, a lot of former England cricketers have lashed out at the Ahmedabad’s viciously turning pitch as the match got finished inside two days in favour of India. However, Leach refrained from criticising the track at the Narendra Modi stadium, which was hosting its first international game and instead the 29-year-old credited India, Ashwin and Axar for their dominating show.

“I do not have too much to say about the pitch, we got outplayed in those conditions and for me, I am always looking to learn. That’s the great thing about our group, we are all in this mindset and we want to learn from what has been a couple of hard games and put in a good performance so yeah, it was tough, even being a spinner on that wicket comes with tough moments,” Leach said in a virtual press conference on Monday.

Notably, Indian spinners R Ashwin and Axar Patel took 18 wickets between them as England were skittled out for 112 and 81 and while praising the duo, Leach said that he intends to up his game.

“I think their spinners bowled really, really well and I don’t think we should take anything away from them by saying bad things about the wicket,” Leach said.

“Ashwin is a world-class bowler. Axar Patel was very accurate. I want to say that they bowled very well and that’s what I am looking at them and seeing how can I get better and that’s all my focus is on,” he added.

Leach calls for better pitches in England

Leach, who has taken 16 wickets in the series so far, with three four-wicket hauls, asserted that England should start preparing better tracks thus echoing the sentiments of skipper Joe Root, who called for “serious improvements” in the standard of county wickets after the third Test.

“My thoughts are that the wickets in county cricket in general need to be good surfaces to start with,” Leach said. “Then, if they can break up and bring spin into the game later on, I think that’s a good thing for producing spinners.

“They can bowl in the first innings on good wickets. And then, in the second innings when things are starting to happen, they (learn to deal with) the pressure of being the guy who needs to try and bowl the opposition out. That’s the ideal, I think,” the left-arm spinner felt.

“If the spinner is playing in a four-man attack with three seamers and a spinner, then I think the role of the spinner becomes more important. But if there’s four or five seamers (in the side), or a couple of batters that also bowl seam, then I think your overs (as a spinner) can really go down; especially on some of the county wickets I’ve played on in the last couple of years.”

India are currently leading the four-match Test series 2-1 and now they will take on England in the fourth Test. which is scheduled to commence from March 4 in Ahmedabad. It is worth mentioning that the game has more than the series at stake as Virat Kohli-led India need to win or draw the final Test of the series to confirm their berth in the World Test Championship (WTC) final against New Zealand at Lord’s in June.

On the other hand, Joe Root-led England bowed out of the WTC final contention after losing the third Test against India.


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Sagar Biswas

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