The Australian media appear to be on a roll right now. After accusing Virat Kohli and Anil Kumble post DRS-gate without a shred of evidence, they have now claimed that the pitch for the third Test in Ranchi, that begins on Thursday, is the "stitch-up for the ages" and questioned India's integrity.
In a report published yesterday, it was announced that match referee for the Bengaluru Test, Chris Broad, had given the pitch “below average” rating. Broad had given the Pune pitch, that hosted the first Test, a “poor” rating as well.
"Australia's worst fears for the third Test have been
"Remarkable scenes in Ranchi on Tuesday indicated that pitch doctoring has now gone to another level and the reputation and integrity of Indian cricket
The match pitch looked as though it had been played on, with what appeared like footmarks already present
The current series is tied at one game a piece and the Ranchi game could go a long way in deciding who will hold the Border-Gavaskar trophy come March 29. The paper further accused India of doctoring pitches because the BCCI did not fear a backlash from the ICC on the matter.
"The match pitch looked as though it had been played on, with what appeared like footmarks already present," the report continued. "India would happily put up with another slap on the wrist from the ICC for the Ranchi pitch if they can ambush Australia with a series-defining hit and run job starting on Thursday.
"The war of words has calmed, but if early impressions of this devilish pitch come to fruition, it could be argued India has done nothing to adhere to the ICC’s demands for both teams to play in the spirit of the game."
The report goes on to allege how this is a "ploy" to stop the Australian pacers from having an impact on the game while providing ample support for the Indian spinners. However, the numbers show that the Australian pacers have taken just one wicket more than their Indian counterparts in the series so far.
"Players are saying that this pitch will barely bounce at all, a move purposely designed to blunt Australia’s pace dynamites Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood and also limit the impact of Nathan Lyon," the paper said.
India have selected a surface off the menu as raw, dry and grassless as any pitch this Australian team has ever seen.
"This makes No.1 bowler in the world Ravi Jadeja a potential assassin on this pitch, while there are clearly defined bare patches on this wicket custom made specifically for fellow spinner Ravi Ashwin to exploit."
Ranchi pitch curator SB Singh was also in the firing line as the tabloid took no hostages. Singh had said that three pitches had been prepared for the Test but the report used the concept of steaks to attack the Indian curator.
"If the decision was between well done, medium and rare – India have selected a
Singh, for his part, did give his views on the pitch, stating that he expected the ball not to bounce as much as it did on the Bengaluru pitch but said that it was a spin friendly wicket.
“I can’t really tell what it’s going to do. I think obviously it’s going to spin, apparently it won’t bounce as much as some of the other wickets,” Singh said.