England need miracle on Chennai 'beach'

·2-min read

Australia batting luminary Mark Waugh called it "unacceptable" while former England captain Michael Vaughan described it as a "beach".

Yet England's assistant coach Graham Thorpe was keeping a diplomatic silence on Sunday, declining to comment on the suitability of the controversial pitch being used for the second Test against India at Chennai's MA Chidambaram Stadium.

All that Throrpe would concede was that England are now going to need a miracle to save the match on the spin-friendly surface.

Offspinner Ravichandran Ashwin helped bowl out England for 134 on a pitch offering turn from day one and the ball kicked up dust after landing.

"It's incredibly challenging on that surface for us on day two," Thorpe told a video conference.

"They have a skilled spin attack on their own conditions and it was a very good toss to win. There are some balls in the pitch that you might not be able to do too much about.

"It has obviously taken turn early in the game," former England batsman Thorpe said.

"In terms of commenting on the suitability of the pitch for a Test, that's for someone above me to say,"

Plenty of others had their say, though.

Waugh noted on Twitter: "I'm all for a good contest between bat and ball in test match cricket but this pitch in Chennai is unacceptable at test match level.

"You can't have the ball going through the top of the surface on day 1 from the main part of the pitch. i.e not from the footmarks."

Broadcaster Simon Hughes called for India to be docked points in the World Test Championship, while Vaughan branded the surface "a stinker".

England would need "something very, very special" on Monday to maintain their 1-0 lead in the four-test series, Thorpe said.

Yet Ashwin denied there were any demons in the pitch.

"Time and again, there are conditions which will challenge you, be it spin or seam," Ashwin, who took 5-43, told reporters.

"If the ball is moving around at 145-150km and takes off the deck, that has to be more challenging than someone bowling at 85-90km when the ball is spinning.

"Clearly, the challenges are way greater than when you come up against spin."

Ashwin spelled out what he thought should be the batting approach on such tracks.

"You have to give it to the bowler, bide your time and then probably cash in on it later. It's just another form of art."