England can expect trial by spin after Rahane predicts another turner

MUMBAI (Reuters) - England should brace themselves for another trial by spin in the fourth and final test against India from Thursday, with the home side’s vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane expecting a similar pitch to those in the previous two matches.

FILE PHOTO: Cricket - New Zealand v India - Second Test - Hagley Oval, Christchurch, New Zealand - March 1, 2020. India's Ajinkya Rahane in action REUTERS/Martin Hunter/File Photo

England made a bright start to the four-match series, defeating India by 227 runs in the opening test, but the hosts rallied strongly with comprehensive wins in the second and third matches for a 2-1 lead.

India defeated England by 317 runs in the second test in Chennai and then completed an extraordinary 10-wicket win inside two days in the day-night test in Ahmedabad, with spinners from both sides running riot on a helpful surface.

The world’s largest cricket stadium in Ahmedabad will also host the final test from Thursday, played this time with the traditional red ball.

“I think the wicket will be similar to the last two test matches. It will be a spinning track,” Rahane told reporters on a video conference on Tuesday.

Rahane, 32, felt it was the pink ball, rather than the pitch, that made it difficult for batsmen to score runs during the third test.

“Pink ball made the difference, it was coming much quicker off the wicket compared to the red ball. That’s the adjustment we had to make,” the middle-order batsman said.

The Ahmedabad pitch has been heavily criticised by a section of former England cricketers and pundits, but Rahane said the Indian team is not bothered by the comments.

A draw in the fourth test will be enough for the hosts to seal their spot against New Zealand in the June final of the inaugural World Test Championship, but Rahane said India are thinking only about a win.

“We respect the England team. They are a very good, balanced team,” he said. “We played good cricket in the last two test matches, England played really well in the first test.

“We are not taking them lightly. It’s another match. We just want to go out there and give our best.”

Editing by David Goodman