Ravi Shastri's brutal reply in the commentary box to Matthew Hayden over pitch debate
Ravi Shastri was in top form with the mic throughout the first Test of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy. Known for never mincing his words, the experienced Indian commentator lashed at the pitch critics who were going after the Indian team with accusations of pitch-doctoring in the build-up to the Test match.
Heading into the game in Nagpur, images of the groundstaff giving the track final touches went viral, wherein they were seen re-watering the entire surface but rolling only the middle part of the track and the area outside the left-hander's leg stump.
There were claims from Australian media that this exercise is undertaken to ensure more roughs outside the left-hander's off-stump with Australia carrying as many as four lefties within their top 7, which could've been five had they stuck with the in-form Travis Head rather than offering a comeback to right-hander Peter Handscomb.
As it panned out, though, the ball hardly turned from the roughs but went low and slow off the deck that was quite hard underneath and crumbled deep into Day 2 and early Day 3. Indians used their side-cutters and arm-balls in a mix with conventionally spinning deliveries to accentuate the impact of natural wear and tear from the pitch and outperformed their Aussie counterparts, who got more traditional turn but without threatening to make an impact.
The Shastri-Hayden dual from the comm box
The fact that the Aussies got more turn off the surface was a topic of an interesting discussion and tussle between Ravi Shastri and his commentary partner and former Australian opener Matthew Hayden.
The incident took place late on Day 1 of the Test match where a graphic on display confirmed that the Australian spinners had gotten the ball to turn more than the Indians.
While the Aussies extracted 3.4 degrees of turn from the Nagpur track, Indian spinners found 2.9 degrees of late movement.
It got Hayden ticking. "Look at that fellas, degree of turn!" he said, especially as Australian debutant Todd Murphy delivered a good ball past the defence of Indian opener KL Rahul. But Shastri's remarks that followed made for great viewing.
"I can't read that Haydos (Hayden). I see that wickets column, which is still zero," said the ex India allrounder and head coach, pointing to the scoreboard which read 62/0 in response to Australia's paltry 177 all out.
"What happened now, what happened to the talks about pitch? 24 hours ago there were lots of noises."