Each of India’s first three matches of the series against Australia ended in three days with the hosts taking a 2-1 lead in the final match in Ahmedabad next week.
It reflects a larger, and not entirely unpopular, trend globally, as five-day standoffs have given way to three days of frenetic action with a guaranteed result.
While playing a match for five days and potentially finishing in a draw has always been a source of enjoyment in non-cricket nations, the length of a Test has always been part of the attraction for devotees of the longer format.
Shortened Tests are not an India-specific problem, but nowhere has the trend been more evident than in the cricket-mad nation of 1.4 billion.
Of the last 15 tests played in India, only two have reached day five.
Nine have been completed in three days, including the 2021 Ahmedabad Test which India won in two days against England on a ground rated “average” by the International Cricket Council (ICC).
The Indore surface, where 30 wickets fell in two days before Australia triumphed on Friday by nine wickets, was slapped with three demerit runs after being rated ‘poor’ by the game’s governing body.
However, the ICC does not believe there is a problem with tests which rarely last five full days in India.
“If it’s an issue, it would have been raised by the ICC Men’s Cricket Committee,” an ICC spokesman told Reuters.
India defended pitching grade rounds to please their spinners, but ex-Australian batsman Mark Waugh is among those who felt the Indore rink was “not up to test standards”.
Home games have become unmissable since the introduction of the World Test Championship (wtc) in 2019 and many believe he is encouraging home teams to pack extreme wickets that suit their strength.
FAKE OF TWO DAYS
Of the five Tests Australia played at home in the new year before arriving in India for the Border-Gavaskar Trophy series, only two stretched to day five.
The other three included a two-day sham in Brisbane where Australia beat South Africa by six wickets on a green roof at the Gabba.
Pakistan, unable to stage test matches for security reasons for 10 years until returning in 2019, would appear to be the exception with six of their last eight matches going to the final day.
India’s batting coach Vikram Rathour he said winning home games had become imperative under the WTC, which may have begun to affect field preparation.
“Yes, since the World Test Championship started, there is more pressure on teams to win their home games,” Rathour told reporters during the Indore Test.
“So you want to win (all) games when you play at home.”
India need to win the final test in Ahmedabad, which starts on Thursday, to catch up with Australia in the WTC final in June without having to rely on the outcome of Sri Lanka’s two-test series in New Zealand.
India captain Rohit Sharma, for example, doesn’t mind how long test matches last.
“People have to play well for the game to last five days”, Rohit She said.
“Matches don’t last five days even outside India. Three test matches were played in Pakistan and people were saying it was boring. We are making it interesting for you guys.”