Rohit Sharma speaks out on controversial pitches after Australia stun India

Rohit Sharma played down concerns over the Indore pitch after India’s shock nine-wicket victory to Australia and says the team decided prior to the series to play on such wickets.

Australia suffered heavy defeats in the first two Tests of the Border-Gavaskar series but bounced back in Indore to beat India by nine wickets and book their place in this summer’s World Test Championship final.

The tourists, without captain Pat Cummins and opener David Warner, were on top from the outset after bowling India out for 109 on the first day, Matthew Kuhnemann taking his maiden five-wicket haul in only his second Test.

Usman Khawaja’s battling half-century helped Australia lead by 88 runs and India could only manage 163 in their second innings as Nathan Lyon took 8-64.

Chasing 76 to win, Travis Head made 49 not out and Marnus Labuschagne an unbeaten 28 as Australia secured victory before lunch on day three.

The pitches served up in this series have caused some controversy but India captain Sharma believes ‘too much’ has been made of the spinning tracks and says his team knew what to expect.

‘Before a series starts, you have to decide on what pitches you need to play. It was our call to play on such pitches,’ Sharma said after India’s defeat in the third Test.

‘We knew that we could face challenges as well, but we were ready for these challenges.

‘The consistent runs from the batters will not come on such challenging pitches. We are here to win whether it is two days or five days, it doesn’t matter.

‘We don’t want to prepare a pitch where the results are not coming. We want to play to win. And we do understand it can come back to haunt us, I am aware of that.

‘We want be brave enough, not just with talking. We want to be brave enough on what we do on the field and that’s playing on challenging pitches.’

Sharma, who was out for 12 in both innings, added: ‘This pitch talk is getting too much. Every time we play in India, we always focus on the pitch.

‘Why are we not talking about Nathan Lyon? How well he bowled? How well (Cheteshwar) Pujara batted in the second innings, how well Usman Khawaja played?

‘Those are the things if you ask me I can give the details of, not the pitch. We focus too much on the pitch here in India and I feel that is unnecessary.’

Australia batter Steve Smith also defended the pitches in India and says he ‘really enjoys’ testing himself on spinning wickets.

‘All the wickets have spun, we haven’t gotten past three days yet so that shows that it’s been spinning from day one in all the Test matches, but I personally I really enjoyed playing on these kind of wickets,’ the stand-in Australia skipper said.

‘I prefer this than just a genuine flat wicket that goes five days and can be boring in stages.

‘With this one, whether it might have been a little bit too extreme, potentially from the first ball, I’m not really entirely sure.’

While India took an unassailable 2-0 lead in the four-match series, Australia will secure an unexpected 2-2 if they win the final Test in Ahmedabad, which starts on Thursday.

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