The current series between India and Australia is evenly poised. After Virat Kohli’s Indian cricket team registered a magnificent 31-run win in the Adelaide Test, Australia roared back into the contest with a brilliant 146-run win in the second Test at the new Perth stadium. The hosts survived a brilliant century from Kohli and it was Nathan Lyon’s magnificent match haul of eight wickets that gave Australia only their third victory in Tests in 2018. However, the result was marred when reports emerged that the International Cricket Council (ICC) rated the Perth pitch as ‘average’. The rating has reportedly not gone down well with many Australian cricket experts but one particular exchange on Twitter has ignited a war of words.
Mitchell Johnson, the former Australia pacer who retired in 2015, came out vocally and declared nothing was wrong with the pitch and stated that it was a great Test match. He even pointed out that if Kohli got a hundred on the new Perth wicket, it might have not been such a bad wicket. To this, former India opener Chopra said that some of Mohammed Shami’s deliveries leapt up dangerously from the wicket and player safety was an issue. Chopra reckoned that this might have promoted the ICC to give the pitch rating average.
Nothing wrong with it. It was exciting to watch a contest between bat and ball for a change and not these dull flat tracks being served up constantly. I’d actually be interested in knowing what a good pitch is? Hope for another exciting test at the MCG ðŸ https://t.co/Q1vOYm6AaB— Mitchell Johnson (@MitchJohnson398) December 21, 2018
Vihari bowled a bouncer on the ‘first day’ to dismiss a well set Harris. I rest my case ðŸ™ŒðŸ™ https://t.co/gELNtmLUuI— Aakash Chopra (@cricketaakash) December 21, 2018
Inconsistent bounce use to happen a lot, the pitch is supposed to deteriorate. Is it any different to a pitch that spins a metre or more & stays low?— Mitchell Johnson (@MitchJohnson398) December 21, 2018
Pretty shitty case if that what your coming with Aakash. You’re saying it was a dangerous delivery from a spinner? Did you pipe up when the Indian 4 man attack bowled plenty of short balls, which I enjoyed as a fan & was awesome to watch? What is a good wicket is to you?— Mitchell Johnson (@MitchJohnson398) December 21, 2018
You spoke of natural deterioration that leads to variable bounce. That ball was a reflection of variable bounce on the first day. Not dangerous then. But yes...that Shami spell on day four was close to dangerous....felt that player safety was in question. Therefore the rating. https://t.co/AlE4Me9Iko— Aakash Chopra (@cricketaakash) December 21, 2018
No. I’m not telling anyone anything. I’m just in agreement with ICC’s rating of the pitch...which is based on the feedback from the match officials. And none of them were Indians or Australians. Thank You â˜ºï¸ https://t.co/boY1yPPxE9— Aakash Chopra (@cricketaakash) December 21, 2018
Indian’s telling us what a good wicket is. You lot play the most doctored pitches on earth. ðŸ˜‚Geez you all complain, welcome to Perth, yeah the ball bounces, sometimes unevenly, and you bowled better than us all test, still couldn’t win. Cue violin ðŸŽ»— Shan (@bigsetzee) December 21, 2018
The left-arm pacer, who has taken over 300 Test wickets, has been the most vocal voice in the India vs Australia series, right from Kohli’s sledging and condemning his behavior following the loss in Perth. “At the end of the match, you should be able to look each other in the eyes, shake hands and say 'great contest. Virat Kohli could not do that with Tim Paine, shaking the Australian captain's hand but barely making eye contact with him. To me, that is disrespectful. Kohli gets away with more than most cricketers simply because he is Virat Kohli and he gets placed on a pedestal but this Test left the Indian captain looking silly,” Johnson had written in a column for Fox Sports following the end of the match.
The third match will take place in Melbourne on Boxing Day and the pitch will once again be the focus. The last match played in Melbourne between Australia and England in the Ashes produced a drab draw and the pitch was rated poor by the ICC. Following the verdict, the MCG received an official warning from the International Cricket Council (ICC) and it was given demerit points. According to the new ICC rules, “When a venue accumulates five demerit points, it will be suspended from hosting any international cricket for a period of 12 months, while a venue will be suspended from staging any international cricket for 24 months when it reaches the threshold of 10 demerit points.”