Ben Stokes stunned by Ranchi pitch, admits once in a lifetime spectacle

Updated - 22 Feb 2024, 11:01 AM

Ben Stokes' "aggressive captaincy" faltered against India: Ian Chappell
Photo Credit: (BCCI)

Calling the pitch for the upcoming fourth Test against India ‘interesting’, England captain Ben Stokes has said he has ‘never seen something like that before’. The penultimate Test of the five-match series is scheduled to be played in Ranchi from Friday (February 23).

The tourists will be desperate to bounce back after the hammering they received in the third Test in Rajkot. India thoroughly outplayed England and inflicted a humiliating 434-run defeat on them to take a 2-1 lead in the series. While visiting teams have usually encountered rank turners in India in recent years, England have played the first three Tests of the series on sporting wickets.

They stunned India by 28 runs in Hyderabad and looked good in the second Test as well although they ended up losing the game by 106 runs before being thrashed in the third Test. And while England would have wanted to come up with a good performance in the upcoming game, their task is set to become tougher because of the pitch in Ranchi.

Ben Stokes on Ranchi pitch:

While the English camp has been very cautious in their views of the pitch to avoid any negative thinking in the team, Ben Stokes could not come up with an upbeat answer when asked about the Ranchi pitch. The England captain could already see cracks on the pitch and his reaction makes it clear that he was stunned by it.

“I don’t know, I’ve never seen something like that before so I have got no idea,” Ben Stokes said about the pitch.  “I don’t know what could happen.

“If you looked down one side of opposite ends it just looked different to what I am used to seeing, especially out in India. It looked green and grassy up in the changing rooms, but then you go out there, it looked different. Very dark and crumbly and quite a few cracks in it,” he added.

Meanwhile, India have rested Jasprit Bumrah for the fourth Test and he is reportedly set to be replaced by uncapped Akash Deep in the playing eleven. If the pitch is indeed a rank turner, India won’t miss the Bumrah’s services much and will be hoping that the likes of Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja do what they do best in such conditions.

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