Ahead of the first Border-Gavaskar Trophy 2023 Test, the Australian media made plenty of noise about the Nagpur surface, even leveling allegation that it was ‘doctored’ to favour the Indian side. A former Australian all-rounder even urged the ICC to intervene, while Ian Healy claimed that Australia would win if India prepared ‘fair’ pitches.
As things turned out, the Aussies got hammered by an innings and 132 runs in the opening Test of the series. Batting first after winning the toss, Australia put up 177 in their first innings. After India responded with 400, the Aussies were cleaned up for 91 in their second essay, losing the Test inside three days.
Reflecting on Australia’s abject surrender, Gavaskar told India Today, "They have been spooked by their own media. Who's been doing the talking? Not the Indian media. Nobody in India has been talking about it. It is only their own media that has made a hullabaloo about the pitch. That this will not turn, that will not turn.
“I would imagine that they would have talked about the pitch not being done for the left-handers. Two of our left-handers got 150 between themselves. If the Aussies are smart, they will tell their media, 'Hello guys, let us play our cricket. You do what you have to write,'" the former India captain added.
The 73-year-old also questioned Australia’s decision to not play a practice match ahead of the four-Test series. According to Gavaskar, taking part in a practice game would have helped their cause. Terming practice matches in India as irrelevant, the Aussies decided to have a four-day training camp in Alur.
“You didn't expect the Australians to collapse in the manner that they did. Yes, it was always on the cards that in the first Test a touring team does struggle before they get used to the conditions,” Gavaskar said.
“I don't think the Australians helped themselves by not coming and playing some practice games, albeit it might have been against the kind of net bowlers that they would use. But if they had actually played a game, it would have helped them considerably,” the Indian legend concluded.
India and Australia will now meet in the second Test at the Arun Jaitley Stadium in Delhi, which starts on February 17.
--By A Cricket Correspondent